Women in comedy are not to be slept on. Despite what many think about women comedians, they're a force to be reckoned with and deserve to have their voices amplified to the masses to spread good laughs and relatable jokes.
The launch of All Def Women, the largest Black-owned digital publisher on YouTube and Facebook, marked a new day for women worldwide to rewrite the history of the "boys club." The new channel represents a significant milestone in the fight to increase women's representation and overlooked voices in the world of comedy by way of a digital outlet. With people like Tiffany Haddish breaking barriers for Black women to earn Grammys in comedy, All Def Women follows that same path to change the narrative where women can feel confident and seen as funny figures.
21Ninety caught up with co-leads Megan Thomas (known as MegScoop) – Head of Production of All Def, and Cynthia LuCiette – Creative Director of All Def Women. We talked about the new channel launch, common misconceptions about women comedians, and their experiences as Black women helming such a powerful creative initiative.
Njera Perkins: Do you feel any added pressure as Black women in this position leading an entire channel?
Megan Thomas: Well, anything you want to be done right is going to take work. We want this to be the best platform for women with entertaining and comedic content. We don't really have that right now, outside of what we've done with All Def Women when it comes to a platform where women of color can enjoy, laugh at the content, understand it and see people who look just like them in it. So it was really important for us to do it and do it well.
NP: How did you get chosen to lead this project?
MT: Cynthia and I have been in this field for a while, so we've worked in this space, and we see what's out there, and so it was [always] kind of our mission. A few years ago, I tried to do this on All Def with "The Touch-Up," and they were like, 'Great show, great concept, but not necessarily our audience.'
It was like, the content is good, but we need something else that caters to what y'all are talking about. Fast forward to this year, Cynthia joins, and it was kind of our personal mission to get this going. All Def is at a certain place now. You know, you take some powerhouses because women get it done, and we made it happen.
CL: For me, I worked with the company before, and then Meg started working with the company after I started. When I came back, we connected, and because we worked on the same show at separate times, it was just dope to come together. Everything that I've done on All Def, a lot of it has been from women's perspective, and Meg's as well. Now it's coming to its own little vertical.
NP: What kind of doors is this launch opening up for women in comedy?
MT: I would say, easier access to see content they like [to see] daily because I feel like sometimes we've got to search [for it]. Before All Def Women, [this kind of content] lived everywhere, and they were all women of color. But it wasn't really one place where I could go and see it. With All Def Women, now it's like, 'Okay, we have some skits on here from women who look like us and are telling stories we understand.' We just wanted to bring [everything] to one place where people could watch these different types of shows, but it all appealed to them.
CL: Budgets, that's what I think is a big door opener for women who are creators. And we're trying to keep growing this so that way women who have ideas, make content, produce, are influencers, and celebrities all have budgets to get their ideas done.
NP: What are some common misconceptions women in comedy deal with daily being in the industry?
CL: That pretty girls aren't funny; that's a big one. Or even if you are, because pretty is so relative to whoever, if you try to look sexy or appealing or take care of yourself in any way, [the notion] is that you just don't work hard.
MT: Yeah, pretty girls aren't funny, and women aren't funny in general. When they think of comedy, a lot of people tend to think about male comedians first. But the truth is, women are just as funny. We give you a good kiki, honey. You just got to listen. And now we have the platform for it.
NP: How is All Def Women shifting the narrative for women comedians in what's considered a male-dominated industry?
CL: I say men lie, women lie, numbers don't. I'm trying to put the points on the board and hit those million subscribers. I'm trying to hit 100K views on every video and grow our Instagram. I want the sponsorships to show up. We need numbers, that's how we are going to change the narrative.
MT: I agree with what she's saying because, at the end of the day, that's really what it is. So if the content is there, we have women who want this; all you have to do is watch, subscribe, hit that button. I think that's how we're going to change it. We just consistently post the things we, as women, want to watch.
NP: Are there any comedians on the new channel you're excited for people to discover?
MT: You'll see plenty of the women you've seen on All Def's main channel, but you'll see them in a different light. For example, we've got a show called "Comedy Bars." We don't really rap that much on the regular channel, but we used to do a cypher on All Def. If you look at the cypher, it's all men and maybe one or two women. Now, it's a bit different because we're shifting it to where this is a funny show where you got to bring the bars, and it's women doing it. That's two things you don't necessarily think of women when you think of comedy. Now, we put the two together, and it is hilarious. It's a creation by Cynthia. She made that show, and it's so funny.
NP: Any other exciting programming lined up?
CL: We have Momfessions. It's like a rant-style show, and although I'm not a mom, Meg is; she's definitely leading the charge on bringing in all the other moms to the channel. It features a different mom each week, and I love seeing the comments. We all have moms, but when you are one, and you get to hear somebody else talk about it, I just love to see them relate. So I'm excited about that.
MT: Also, "Check The Chat." That's our show where we're going to be talking about pop culture, events, stuff that's happening we're just interested in talking about, but putting the spin on it like it's your homegirl that's talking to you.