Wendy Michener Memorial Lecture – Queer Feminism and Comedy: A Serious Talk
The Wendy Michener Memorial Lecture, named in commemoration of the Canadian arts critic and journalist, was established at York University in 1986 to provide a forum for discussion of vital issues and developments in culture and the arts. Some of the past presenters of the lecture include journalist Anna Maria Tremonti, artists Matthew Ritchie and Wafaa Bilal, and creative industries executive Hael Kobayashi.
The event is co-presented by the School of the Arts, Media, Performance & Design, York University’s Department of Theatre and Performance, Department of Dance, Centre for Feminist Research, and Sensorium: Centre for Digital Arts & Technology
ABOUT THE LECTURE
In this talk, Carolyn Taylor will discuss the (often) lonely intersection of queer feminism and comedy, elaborating on her own body of work and experiences in the field. She will explore what it means to centre, rather than other, the feminist perspective in comedy, and how nuanced and empathetic characters can be created through a feminist lens. Taylor will take up a number of timely topics, ranging from examining gender identity and drag in sketch comedy, to using comedy to infiltrate dominant discourses, to blending the esoteric and the relatable – we’re all laughing, but why? Along the way, she will showcase scenes from her subversive and ground-breaking comedy series, Baroness von Sketch Show (CBC), which speak directly (or obliquely) to some niche queer feminist experiences (the feminist academic conference, queer theory reading group, and more).
ABOUT THE SPEAKER
Carolyn Taylor is an award-winning comedian, actor, writer, director, and showrunner. She is one of the creators, executive producers, and stars of CBC/IFC’s hit comedy Baroness von Sketch Show. To date, the series has received national and international critical acclaim in The New York Times, IndieWire, and Vogue, won 20 Canadian Screen Awards, including Best Sketch Show/Series, Best Writing in a Sketch Show/Series (2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021), an ACTRA Award for Best Ensemble (2018), two international Rockies for Best Comedy (2019, 2020), The Rogers Prize for Excellence in Canadian Content (2019, 2020), and an international Rose D’or. Carolyn honed her skills in improvisation and social satire at The Second City in Toronto. She’s written and performed political commentary for This House Has 22 Minutes, The Hour with George Stroumboulopoulos and CBC Radio’s This Is That. Carolyn can be seen on the hit CBS comedy Ghosts (2022) as a lesbian organic farmer opposite SNL’s Punky Johnson and as a quixotic would-be choreographer on Crave’s upcoming figure skating comedy I Have Nothing (Fall 2023). Carolyn brings a queer perspective to her work and a commitment to the personal as political.