Making Men Everywhere Angry, Brooklyn Comedy Festival Offers Reduced Price Submission Because of Gender Wage Gap

Photo via Cinder Block Comedy
Photo via Cinder Block Comedy


Cinder Block Comedy Festival isn’t slotted to run until September 15, but it has already garnered attention because of its aim and somewhat controversial “wage gap pricing” application submission fee. Female comics, LGBTQIA comics, comics with disabilities of all types, and comedians of color who submit their act before March 31 will pay only 77 cents to the dollar of general admission fee, a riff on the gender wage disparity.

“It came out of complaining, to be honest,” festival director and Bayside Myself comedian Coree Spencer says. “I think some of the best ideas come from not liking how things are. And it got to a point where, I think a lot of women when we complain about something we hear a lot of, ‘if you don’t like it, make your own and run it the way you want.’ And that’s where Cinder Block came in.”

“It’s funny isn’t it?” Spencer continues. “It starts the conversation, and I think that’s the most exciting thing about it. We don’t care if anybody believes if the wage gap exists, that’s not what we’re here to do. We’re here to do comedy and the discount was going to happen regardless. It was just kind of a fun way to let the people [know] that we’re going to do things a little bit different. We’re going to highlight people who are underrepresented and [show them] they’re welcomed with us.”

According to the American Association of University Women, as of 2014, the median annual earnings of full-time workers ages 16 and older for white women was 78 percent compared to white men’s earnings; 63 percent for African American women; and 54 percent for Latina women. Those numbers don’t account for the minority men included in the study nor workers with disabilities nor the gay-straight wage gap, and yet, with systemic wage discrimination leaning in their favor every other instance, white straight men, those for whom the early bird submission fee doesn’t apply but who are still encouraged to enter during the general admissions period, have condemned the festival since it’s an obvious personal attack on their everyday privilege.

But instead of buckling under the criticism, Spencer and Cinder Block team stood behind their “wage gap pricing” in a statement they posted on their website.

“Over the past few days, we have received an overwhelming amount of feedback concerning our decision to employ “wage gap pricing” in the application process for the Cinder Block Comedy Festival, charging women, people of color, and members of the LGBTQIA community 77 cents on the dollar, an acknowledgement of the pay disparity in the United States. We would like to publicly state that we stand by our decision and our commitment to creating a diverse comedy festival, showcasing talent from all backgrounds.”

While the festival does aim to feature the “diverse talents currently in the industry,” Cinder Block shouldn’t be dubbed a “diversity festival” but rather a comedy festival that attempts to show a more accurate picture of the industry because, while they might be the most common face of comedy, men—especially white men—aren’t the only ones that can be funny.


  1. And yet you’ll find some desperate IDIOT guy paying for his leech/girlfriend’s ticket! Men need to stop subsidizing women; they must be made to pay their own way for EVERYTHING!

    • What the hell is this comment? Women are leeches that are subsidized by men??? You don’t need to “make” women do ANYTHING. And I daresay if women were paid 1:1 to mens’ pay, they might be able to pay their own way for the same amount of things men do, as you seem so encouraging about… wouldn’t you think?

  2. White guys should just avoid this festval, both as performers and in the audience. The sexist/ravist promoters say it is for everyone but clearly they are making an unapologetic ststement that ehite men are second-class citizens in their book. Fine – then we shouln’t go.

  3. You can’t promote equality by taking the shitty thing (wage inequity) and flipping it so that it punishes the other group. When you do that, the statement you’re making is not that you want equality, rather you want inequality and you want to be on the side that benefits. Also comics, even the white male straight ones, for the most part, are a liberal progressive group, the community pushes out the assholes. So why is this festival so angry at white male comics? Are they REALLY oppressing you? The truth is qualifying yourself as a cultural crusader is a much easier way to get recognized than getting funnier, and this is what this is. This is some squeaky wheel shit.


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