BuzzFeed’s Kelsey Darragh on life as a female comedian
‘My gynecologist doesn’t take me very seriously’
While there are many successful women in comedy, it is still a male dominated field. Something that may attribute to this is the misconceptions that women aren’t meant to be funny, and that funny girls are undesirable. While comedians like Amy Poehler, Tina Fey, and Amy Schumer are making great strides in comedy there is still a need for gender equality in this field.
With female comedians on the rise, what is it like working in the comedy industry in 2016?
We spoke with Kelsey Darragh, Comedian-Producer-Development Partner for BuzzFeed to find out she had to say about women in comedy. Kelsey, 25 lives in LA, California.
Kelsey has starred in several BuzzFeed videos ranging from comedic content to mental health. Whether Kelsey is keeping it real in her BuzzFeed show, Ladies’ Room or embracing the single life in, Married vs. Single she’s able to maintain a funny and relatable persona.
How has being a woman impacted you in the comedy world?
When I started, the comedy world was dominated by men. Men had the power to say who was funny simply because they were the majority. There’s a wonderful shift happening in comedy specifically where women are starting to overpower the majority. There have been many times where my career was at the hands of some jerk-dude in a dingy comedy theater running some show. I finally got to a place where I realized I don’t need anyone, especially a man, to dictate my career. I started learning editing and camerawork and I started my own YouTube channel. I essentially became my own boss, manager and agent.
Do you think there are negative stereotypes about funny girls?
10 years ago I would’ve said people probably think we’re too loud, too independent, and too opinionated. Now I hope people think those things about me, ’cause I’m awesome.
As a comedian have you ever found it difficult to be taken seriously in other aspects of life?
My gynecologist doesn’t take me very seriously.
Was there a particular moment when you realized you were funny?
I’m the youngest child so I always needed tons of attention as a kid. I’m also a Leo, so I crave leadership roles. I would be the kid in my neighborhood making all the other neighborhood friends participate in plays and storytelling games around the block. I wouldn’t say I always knew I was funny but I definitely knew I was a creator and performer at a very young age.
Do you have any advice for women trying to pursue comedy and/or acting?
Support other women. Women are your allies in this business. We can only become successful if we support one another. One of my favorite quotes is from Amy Poehler where she says, “Good for her, not for me.” Meaning, another woman’s success doesn’t mean you’ve failed.
What moment are you the most proud of in your career?
There was a video I produced where I talked about my issues with anxiety and depression publicly for the first time. I was doing it for myself as a sort of therapy never expecting so many people to respond the way they did. It was an overwhelming response of support, encouragement and solidarity. I was proud of myself as well as the human race at that moment. It was beautiful.
Where would you like to see yourself in five years?
Producing television shows and movies with a giant glass of wine in my hand and my cats by my side.
Whether Kelsey is producing comedic or serious content there is one common thread, dedication. To many the idea of pursuing a male dominated field can be daunting, but in order to be successful it is important to take risks and help pave the way for those that follow in your footsteps.