LAS VEGAS, Nevada -- (PRESS RELEASE) -- When John Caparella, president and COO of The Venetian and The Palazzo Las Vegas, announced Lipshtick, a new female-driven stand-up comedy series at the Vegas resort's showroom, he took the opportunity to declare something even bigger. According to Caparella: 2014 is the 'Year of the Female Comedienne.'
The Venetian has a long-standing history of featuring outstanding female comediennes, including success with comedic legends like headliners Rita Rudner and Joan Rivers. But the resort is further tapping into a new trend -- that 'girls rule' when it comes to comedy.
"Women are half of the population, and we just haven't been servicing that population," said comedienne, actress and TV producer Whitney Cummings, a feature participant in the Lipshtick series and host of The Venetian's recent press announcement. "It's not every day you get a call that a venue is so excited about female comedians that they are going to do a series. This is something I'm really proud to be a part of. Besides, I'm excited to be part of a [show] in Vegas where women still have their clothes on."
Certainly, female-driven comedy is now as popular as ever. Just look at the trends and the breakout success of recent Hollywood projects headed by female comediennes, like the movie Bridesmaids and TV shows like Cummings' 2 Broke Girls, Lena Dunham's Girls, and Mindy Kaling's The Mindy Project, as examples.
In fact, several recent news items support the trend:
This week, NBC unveiled The Maya Rudolph Show, highlighting the SNL alum in a prime-time variety show format.
This week's NBC encore performance of The Women of SNL built on its lead-in by 100 percent in key demographics, adults 18-49 and +45 in total viewers, according to Neilsen-attributed news reports.
Last week, The Observer newspaper reported that the venerable British network BBC has pledged to include more female comedians in their popular comedy panel shows.
Earlier this month, Bloomberg reported that Les Moonves, chairman and CEO of CBS, hinted that a female comedienne "would be great" to replace Craig Ferguson in what is the most highly coveted open hosting gig in late night.
Earlier this year, Tina Fey and Amy Poehler popularly hosted The Golden Globes for the second time. They were followed by Ellen DeGeneres -- and her selfie stunt seen around the world -- as one of the highest-rated hosts of The Academy Awards of all time.
Pop culture site POPSUGAR recently declared the female comics of SNL are "crushing it" this season. "Cecily Strong, Kate McKinnon, and Aidy Bryant have been stealing the show," said entertainment editor Maggie Pehanick.
Even the popular Ted Talks series recently tackled the topic, via a talk hosted by Ellie Kemper, best known for her roles in The Office and Bridesmaids. "[F]or a while there was a real dearth of funny and interesting female characters in those big studio comedies and what we were seeing instead in those movies were women who were primarily nags or scolds who were getting in the way of the guys good time," she spoke. "[With these recent successes,] we can finally put this issue to rest. Instead, we should focus our attention on things that carry more weight... like what will tomorrow bring for Kim Kardashian? What will she put on Instagram? And will she and Kanye stay together?"
"I have spent 10 years doing stand up and I have seen these amazing hilarious female comedians who are just not working much," said Cummings, the 'godmother' of the Venetian's Lipshtick series. "When I first started, people used to say 'how come there aren't more female comedians?' There are! They're just not working as much as they should be. When I started 10 years ago, it was more of a risk to book female comedians. I've gotten to watch this cool shift happen and I think a lot of it has to do with [the success of] Tina Fey, Bridesmaids and Chelsea Lately, who always has at least two funny girls on every night."
LIPSHTICK - THE PERFECT SHADE OF STAND UP is a newly branded resident comedy series that marks the first time in the storied entertainment history of Las Vegas that the comedy stage will be taken exclusively by female performers. The new series will debut July 11 with appearances by daytime television personality Wendy Williams and will bring regular stand-up comedy performances to The Sands Showroom from an opening slate of 14 critically acclaimed comediennes.
The series 2014 lineup features today's premier, and up-and-coming female stand-ups, including:
Joy Behar, former host of The View and the Joy Behar Show
Jennifer Coolidge, best known for her roles as "Stifler's mom" on American Pie and Sophie on the series 2 Broke Girls
Whitney Cummings, television personality and co-creator of the hit CBS sitcom 2 Broke Girls
Susie Essman, best known for her role as Susie Greene on Curb Your Enthusiasm
Jen Kirkman, known for her regular appearances as a round-table panelist on Chelsea Lately
Lisa Lampanelli, whose snarky brand of stand up has lovingly earned her the nickname Comedy's Queen of Mean
Natasha Leggero, known for her regular appearances as a round-table panelist on Chelsea Lately and judge of NBC's Last Comic Standing
Wendy Liebman, a regular on the late night circuit, including The Tonight Show, Jimmy Kimmel Live!, the Late Show with David Letterman,and The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson
Loni Love, co-host of the new Fox daytime show The Real and author of Love Him or Leave Him But Don't get Stuck with the Tab
Heather McDonald, known for her regular appearances as a round-table panelist on Chelsea Lately and author of My Inappropriate Life (Some Stories Not Suitable for Nuns, Children, or Mature Adults)
Caroline Rhea, best known for her role on Sabrina, the Teenage Witch, and as the host of the talk show, The Caroline Rhea Show
Rita Rudner, a Venetian headliner since 2001, and one of the most successful comedians in Las Vegas history, selling more than one million tickets collectively
Iliza Schlesinger, winner of the sixth season of NBC's Last Comic Standing and former host of the syndicated dating show Excused
Wendy Williams, media personality, actress and host of the daytime talk show The Wendy Williams Show
The new series was designed to appeal to a target audience of couples, groups and bachelorette celebrants out for a uniquely "Vegas" good time. It also creates an entertainment-driven "destination" that focuses on female branding and style while setting The Venetian apart from competitors.
Artists are engaged to perform two to three shows over a weekend, on Friday and Saturday evenings. Once part of the LIPSHTICK family, most of the comediennes will be scheduled into a rotation to perform at The Venetian three to four times per year. In addition, more comediennes will be added at later dates.
"We've already created a buzz in the comedy community," said Caparella. "Everybody wants to be part of this series."
Tickets are currently available for the first dates announced in the series. Shows will be held on Fridays at 10:00 p.m. and Saturdays at 7:30pm. Some performance dates will include a second Saturday night show at 10:00 p.m.
Upcoming shows include:
July 11: Wendy Williams
July 18 & 19: Heather McDonald and Iliza Schlesinger
July 25 & 26: Rita Rudner
August 1 & 2: Caroline Rhea and Wendy Liebman
August 8 & 9: Lisa Lampanelli
August 15 & 16: Whitney Cummings
August 22 & 23: Joy Behar
September 5 & 6: Susie Essman
September 12 & 13: Natasha Leggero and Jen Kirkman
September 19 & 20: Jennifer Coolidge
October 3 & 4: Lisa Lampanelli
October 10 & 11: Loni Love
November 28 & 29: Whitney Cummings
December 26 & 27: Lisa Lampanelli
Ticket prices range from $37.50 to $97.50, not including tax and fees. A limited number of suite packages that include a meal at select Venetian and Palazzo restaurants, as well as VIP packages that include preferred front-row seating and a meet-and-greet with the comedienne, will be available.
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