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Magnet Theater Blog: News and Ideas about Comedy, Improv Shows & Classes in NYC

Monday January 20, 2014, 5:05pm - by Magnet Theater

reductress_logo

Magnet Theater recently chatted with Beth Newell, one of the creators of Reductress.com, an online satirical news site that’s been called The Onion for women. Beth is also Managing Director of Magnet Theater’s Sketch Teams and currently performs in the improv duo Sad Kids. The conversation was mostly about shoes and purses, but Magnet managed to shift the conversation to comedy, the transcript of what followed is below.

Photo of Beth Newell at the Reductress Office

Beth Newell seen here at the Reductress headquarters, a giant uterus shaped cave.

MT: Reductress.com is a very smart and funny. I loved the ad for ‘Vagina Whitening Tampons.’ And your coverage of New York Fashion Week.

BN: Thanks. We did some videos that got passed around, which was fun.

ad for vagina whitening tampons

The new dick joke?

MT: And you’ve tapped into a lot of talent in the Magnet community to help, which is great.

BN: Thanks. There are a lot of funny women with good ideas and a lot of sharp comedy skills at Magnet.

MT: Is Reductress.com run by mostly women?

BN: Yes, it is. It’s run by women. There are some men involved, too.  We’re not actively avoiding using men, but since our playground is women’s media, women have a unique perspective that more directly serves our point of view.

MT: So basically, ‘no dudes’ is what you’re saying?

BN: No. But because we make fun of the way the media speaks to women and its presumptions about the way women think, it’s natural for women to be more equipped at exposing the comedy targets.

MT: So no dudes. I get it. Moving on-

BN: -That’s not at all what I’m saying. We are open to good writing and it doesn’t matter if that person has breasts. Incidentally, a lot of male comedy writers have breasts.

MT: Good one.

BN: Thanks.

MT: I was being sarcastic. It’s not funny. Because all of this smells like anti-male bullshit to me. Are you saying that men aren’t funny enough?

BN: No.

MT: Do you think women are funnier than men?

BN: I think comedy is about recognizing and disrupting patterns, and that men and women complement each other by often recognizing patterns in different ways.  I think that culturally men and women value things differently so their comedy will be informed by that.

MT: Blah blah. Answer the question.

BN: Why are you being an asshole?

MT: I’ll make it easier for you: who is funnier, you or Peter? [Peter McNerney is Beth’s husband, associate artistic director of Story Pirates, a member of the acclaimed improv duo ’Trike’ and has been a popular instructor at Magnet Training Center since 2008. He’s very funny.)

Peter Pointing

Beth Newell’s husband.

BN: We are funny in different ways. He’s more of a performer than a writer and I’m more of a writer, I guess.

MT: But I asked who is funnier, not what your weaknesses are.

BN: You’re a dick.

MT: Peter would have said something funnier, I bet.

BN: I wasn’t making a joke.

MT: Peter would have.

BN: This conversation is over.

MT: No it’s not. And it’s an interview, not a conversation.

BN: No. I don’t mean the interview.  I mean the conversation about whether or not women are funny.  If you haven’t noticed, women have pretty much captured the comedy flag in the last decade.  Bridesmaids was a moment of triumph. And now, because of Tina Fey and Kristen Wiig and Melissa McCarthy and Ellie Kemper and all the others standing beside them, it’s not only unsurprising that women are being funny, it’s the new normal.

wedding photo

FOR [expletive deleted]’S SAKE, I’M FUNNIER THAN PETER MCNERNEY! – Beth Newell of Reductress

MT: So you’re funnier than Peter.

BN: YES. FOR [expletive deleted]’S SAKE, I’M FUNNIER THAN PETER MCNERNEY!

MT: I completely agree.

BN: Jesus. What is wrong with you?

MT: I’m mad at Peter.

BN: Why?

MT: Because of a note he gave me once about always playing high status and antagonizing people.

BN: Well I would have given you that note, too. You’re hostile and condescending.

MT: Yeah. Sorry.

BN: And you should know better. I mean Magnet is a particularly great place for funny women. There are a lot of opportunities to perform, there are women-only meetings and a great all-women show called ‘We Just Might Kiss’, and two women run the sketch writing teams. There is a very welcoming and supportive and non-chauvanistic community at Magnet.

MT: I know. We are very conscious of making sure the everyone can create opportunities here, and that skill and hard work are rewarded no matter if you have a ding-dong or a hoo-ha.

BN: As you should be.

MT: Do you have any advice for women trying to make it in comedy?

BN: Yes. Write a lot. Finish what you start. Write for women and for men. And don’t forget to use your body to manipulate men into giving up their power to you.

MT: That’s great. Thanks for your time. And I love your boots.

BN: Thank you.  I like your purse.

Reductress.com is a satirical women’s news website that is funny, smart, and Magnet Theater recommends you check it out.

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