It's no joke: 'Funny Women of a Certain Age' coming to Tulsa – Tulsa World

It's no joke: 'Funny Women of a Certain Age' coming to Tulsa – Tulsa World

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Carole Montgomery has been making people laugh with stories about her life for more than 40 years, but she doesn’t think it’s all that funny that she’s often the only female comedian on the bill at a comedy club.
“I started doing stand-up in 1979, and I was always the only woman to perform on a given night,” Montgomery said. “It’s 2022, and still, I’m usually the lone woman in a show. And there are so many women in stand-up today who are doing great work, and who often don’t get the chances they deserve.”
That was one reason why Montgomery came up with the idea for “Funny Women of a Certain Age,” a showcase for female stand-up comics that comes to the Tulsa PAC Sept. 16.
The first show, which was broadcast in 2019 on Showtime, made history for being the first TV comedy special to feature only women over the age of 50 and was the network’s highest rated comedy special of that year. Two subsequent specials, in 2020 and 2021, also earned high ratings.
Montgomery, who also serves as the host for the evening, will be joined for the Tulsa show by three fellow comedians, two of whom — Caroline Rhea and Thea Vidale — are known as much for their work in films and television as for their stand-up comedy.
Rhea starred in the sitcoms “Sabrina the Teenage Witch” and “Sydney to the Max,” as well as doing voice work for the animated series “Phineas and Ferb,” while Vidale starred in her own eponymous series that ran for two seasons. Both also were part of the 2020 TV special.
Rounding out the lineup is Missy Hall, winner of the 2013 Laugh Out Loud competition, whose 2012 album “Miss Representation” was nominated for a Grammy Award.
“Thea is one of my oldest friends, and I’ve known Caroline forever,” Montgomery said. “Missy is someone who I haven’t known for as long, but every time I’ve seen her, she’s always been consistently funny. She’s just one of those naturally funny people, and I’m glad she’s part of this show, because she’s someone who deserves a bigger audience.”
Montgomery’s own career in stand-up comedy began at an early age.
“My father was a school teacher, and in the summers he would go to work as a bartender at the resorts in the Catskills, and the whole family would go with him,” Montgomery said. “I remember watching him set up the bar for the evening, and in would come Rodney Dangerfield, Totie Fields, all the Borscht Belt comedians. So I grew up listening to them, and I guess it was just implanted in my psyche that this was what I had to do.”
Montgomery started her career in New York, working the various comedy venues for about a decade before moving to Los Angeles. However, the rigors of being on the road and trying to raise a family led her to accept a gig as the comic for a burlesque show in Las Vegas.
“It meant I could work, and I could stay in one place and provide my son with a stable, suburban childhood,” she said. “But after a while, Vegas for me had kind of run its course, and I knew I needed to do something else, some place else. So we moved back to New York.
“However, the business was going through all kinds of changes, with the internet, with there being fewer clubs,” Montgomery said. “So I started teaching, directing, helping others develop their own solo shows.”
It was also during this time that Montgomery took part in a comedy podcast that featured a number of her comedy colleagues, and the experience was such a positive one, she wanted to find a way to keep it going.
“I remember calling my husband and saying that all I really wanted to do was work with my girlfriends,” she said. “I knew of so many comics who were dealing with the same issues I was, who all were of ‘a certain age,’ and I thought we could create a showcase for all these women.
“I’ve bounced a lot of ideas off my husband over the years, and this was the first time he said to me, ‘I think you’ve got something there,’” Montgomery said, laughing.
Tulsa World Scene podcast: ‘Switzer: The Players’ Coach’
 
james.watts@tulsaworld.com
“Funny Women of a Certain Age,” featuring Caroline Rhea, Thea Vidale, Carole Montgomery and Missy Hall
8 p.m. Friday, Sept. 16, at the Tulsa PAC, 110 E. Second St
Tickets: $45-$65. 918-596-7111, tulsapac.com.
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I write primarily about the visual, performing and literary arts. Phone: 918-581-8478
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