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The Business of Funny

  • The New School, Arnhold Hall 55 West 13th Street (2nd Floor) between 5th and 6th Aves New York, NY, 10011 United States (map)

Comedy has long been seen as overwhelmingly male, but the industry is experiencing a renaissance fueled by female comedians. Hear from three popular female comedians on writing and performing stand-up; what the new face of comedy looks like; and how they determine success. RSVP



Mary Houlihan is a comedian, writer, actor, animator, and artist living in Brooklyn. She creates and appears in comedy videos for many outlets including TruTV, IFC, Above Average, Funny Or Die, and others. She created videos as a staff writer/performer on Seriously.TV, most notably her viral interview humiliating Martin Shkreli.

She created, wrote, animated, and starred in the Comedy Central hybrid live action-animation series “Learn To Paint! With Mary Houlihan,” which is available on her YouTube. She has appeared on Difficult People, The Chris Gethard Show, Jimmy Kimmel Live, Billy On The Street, and is a frequent guest on The Best Show With Tom Scharpling.

As an artist, she created handpainted title cards for the Adult Swim shows, Joe Pera Talks You To Sleep, Joe Pera Helps You Find The Perfect Christmas Tree, and the upcoming series Joe Pera Talks To You. She has written humor pieces for The New Yorker, Reductress, and Paste Magazine, and her work has been written up in Splitsider, Vulture, AV Club, Esquire, Paper Mag, Entertainment Weekly, Time Out, and others.

She creates many indie projects including free and cheap live comedy shows in NYC, comedy albums on cassette tapes, and a daytime TV show out of her living room. She also partners with Hungry Monk, a homeless outreach program based in Ridgewood, Queens to make comedy fundraising videos.



Aparna started out doing comedy in her hometown of Washington D.C. and now resides in New York City. 2016’s Elle’s Women in Comedy Issue, featured her as one of the most exciting new voices to hit the comedy scene. She is a series regular in the debut season of Comedy Central’s Corporate and has reprised her role in season 2 of HBO’s CRASHING. She will also be featured on the upcoming second season of Netflix’s The Standups. Other television credits include Netflix’s Master of None and LOVE, HBO’s High Maintenance Comedy Central’s Inside Amy Schumer, appearing as a US correspondent for Dave’s (UK) Unspun with Matt Forde, and Hulu’s I Love You, America with Sarah Silverman.

This year she will make her feature debut in the upcoming Paul Feig movie A Simple Favor.  Her TV stand up appearances include Seeso’s stand up series Night Train with Wyatt Cenac, season 2 of Comedy Central’s Meltdown as well as Adam Devine’s House Party. In 2013, she made her late night stand up debut on TBS’s Conan and was one of the breakout New Faces at the prestigious Just For Laughs Festival in Montreal.

Her TV writing credits include Late Night with Seth Meyers as well as being a regular correspondent/writer on FX’s Totally Biased with W. Kamau Bell.  She is also an alumna of the NBC Stand Up for Diversity program and currently headlines throughout the world and has been seen at a number of festivals including Comedy Central’s Clusterfest, Portland’s Bridgetown Comedy Festival, Moontower, SF Sketchfest, DC’s Bentzen Ball, Outside Lands, Bonnaroo and Dublin’s Vodaphone Comedy Festival. She has also been featured on and in NPR, Reader’s Digest, The Huffington Post, The Washington Post Magazine, XM Radio, and Slate V.

She can regularly be seen performing at the Upright Citizen’s Brigade’s in LA and NYC. Her debut album Just Putting It Out There was released in July 2016 by Tig Notaro’s label Bentzen Ball Records and hit the #4 on Billboard Comedy Charts.



Darcie Wilder (b. 1990) is the Twitter account @333333333433333. She graduated from SUNY Purchase Film Conservatory with a BFA in 2012. She worked under Richard Turley while writing for the television program MTV No Chill, which remixed episodes of Ridiculousness and Catfish, as well as its own interstitials.

Darcie wrote and directed Emotional Pain (watch the first and second episodes here), and wrote across platforms at MTV News, including the MTV News Twitter account. Literally Show Me A Healthy Person is her second book. She was born in New York, where she still lives and will die.



Sam is a Canadian-born writer, performer and producer based in Brooklyn. You might have seen her acting in an off-off Broadway play, doing comedy across the city, rapping about abstract art on the internet, or just pulling her pants over her head onstage at the Punderdome, where she competes as 12-time champion Homestar Punner.

Sam's writing has appeared in The New Yorker, Mental Floss, Reductress, Brokelyn, Gothamist and beyond. Her pun videos have also been featured by InStyle, HuffPost and BUST. Sam also writes plays, which have been presented at The PIT, The Flea, and recently in the latest edition of Serpent Club Press. Put simply, Sam keeps herself busy. She currently works at BuzzFeed. You can find her on Twitter, @ahoysamantha.

Earlier Event: March 8
Advance Screening and Q&A: RISE