Improv is still, for the most part, full of dudes.
Want evidence? Based on the photos of ensembles for the Chicago Improv Festival, there are 6 all-female groups and 22 all-male groups. Of the coed troupes with photos, 22 had more guys, 11 had even numbers, and 3 had more chicks—pictured, anyway.
Saturday at the Fishtank, the first two troupes—Not A Great Gorilla and Babel Fish—were all dudes. Spite is all chicks.
I'm not on a soapbox about this anymore—I've even gotten to the point where I find the "are women as funny as men?" debate tiresome. (The answer is "yes." Next.) You see more girls in the improv world these days. Hell, Exit 16 had more girls than guys last year, and usually runs even. Girls today don't seem to have the funny socialized out of them like we tended to (unless some asshole is sneaking advice like "laugh at his jokes—even if they're not funny" to them, too).
What I find interesting now is the way we sell it. Spite and Olive Juice (featuring funny improvisers who happen to have boobs from Roving Imp) are getting ready to do a show together, and we're marketing it as a "girlie show." Spite calls ourselves "an all-chick improv à trois."
What I'm wondering: Is that a gimmick? Is it passè? The comedy equivalent of luring people in to see a bearded lady? Are we limiting ourselves to being compared only to other female groups, taking ourselves out of the running of just being a good, funny troupe?
About the kick-ass improvisers in Children of a Lesser God, the Chicago Reader said, "Despite competition from Sirens, Children of a Lesser God is the best all-female improv group in Chicago."
Somehow, I doubt Sirens are this troupe's only competition—or that the women of Sirens compare themselves only to Children of a Lesser God.
Guys don't (usually) refer to themselves as "all male troupes." And I know that when we watched Babel Fish on stage Saturday, none of us thought, "They're not like us."
We saw other improvisers, kicking ass, and it made us want to kick ass, too.