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"There is a lot of sexism from male comedians, on stage and off," says Miller.She's speaking broadly, but adds that sexism in Vermont comedy, if not necessarily rampant, certainly exists.
"When you're on a comedy lineup in Vermont, you're with a diverse group of people."Just in case any of you were wondering if I'm a life-size Elf on the Shelf or a straight woman playing Peter Pan.'" Absolutely gamine, Boone, 32, makes clear that her cropped hair is not a pixie cut, but rather a "bad-ass hipster haircut." As a comedian, she draws on her experience as a shy, closeted kid growing up in the Northeast Kingdom, as well as the dark humor she cultivated in those formative years — when Take Back Vermont was in full swing."I talk a lot about being a lesbian," Boone asserts. Vermont Public Radio's "Eye on the Sky" weather report, for one.When she founded the Vermont Comedy Divas in 2006, outlets for comedy were few and rarely featured women.A decade later, that all-female collective of standups remains one of the state's biggest comedy draws, and the scene has her fingerprints all over it.And that's so important and not the case everywhere." Russell's sentiment is widely shared here.
However, just because women are well represented doesn't mean they're free from the issues that have historically plagued females in the entertainment industry: sexism, harassment and unbalanced booking practices, to name a few.
And VCC's comedy classes are more popular than ever, churning out record numbers of fresh-faced standup and improv performers.
Perhaps most telling, Vermont expat comics find success in larger cities after honing their chops here.
Major headliners including Dave Chappelle, Marc Maron and Janeane Garofalo sell out the Flynn Main Stage.
At the scene's hub — the Vermont Comedy Club in Burlington — cutting-edge up-and-comers appear weekly, often alongside locals.
Miller says that because so many women have played important roles in the development of local comedy, the door is open for even more to get involved.