Sister Laughter

Tina Fey aside, women comics get a pretty raw deal. They're held to a higher standard than male comedians, get fewer movie deals and have to be skinny to get jobs -- where is Will Ferrell's cushy female counterpart? Grand old man of comedy Jerry Lewis once even said, "I think of [a woman] as a producing machine that brings babies into the world."

In the end, it's Jerry who'll take the pie in the face. Comedian Marybeth Wright has pulled together a bunch of funny women to form the all-female comedy troupe Jane X. "All the improv troupes I saw were either mixed or all guys, so I thought there should be something out there with all women," says Wright. "I think we have a lot more to bring to the plate. It's a nice twist. It's good to see a lot of women working together. Also, there's nothing else out there like it."

Some of the Jane X crew met taking improvisational comedy classes at Mercury Studios. Wright, Ronda Flannery, Amy Morris and Leah Bordelon had so much fun together that they decided to form a troupe. Recruiting other women proved easy -- after all, Houston's community of comedy improvisers is a relatively small one, with ComedySportz, Main Street Improv and the sporadically performing Flare-Ups and Vagabondage being the only improv groups in town. In short order, Wright had lined up Jane X members Erin Gibson, Sara Gaston, Juliana Ashley, Belinda Babinec and Sonia Quiñonez.

Jane X's first show promises a mix of improvisational games and scenes, sketch, song parody, dance, monologues, topical comedy and some celebrity impersonations. In "Asian Eye for the Straight Guy," a take on that fabu new TV show, two Asian women who work at a Chinese buffet in San Francisco "out" straight men in the gay capitol of the country. Do we smell a spin-off? Let's hope the powers that be don't hand it off to Chris Kattan.

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Eric A.T. Dieckman