Web series

This YouTube comedy channel by women is truly a riot

Refinery29’s web platform features several winning comedy sketches about the things that matter to women – and men.

Looking at the immense talent and popularity of Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Mindy Kaling, or Maya Rudolph, one can almost believe that it is a good time to be a woman in comedy. But while these women work towards making comedy an equal opportunity playing field for both genders, the male skew still persists. It is manifest in unequal pay, ridiculous interviews about cat fights, and needless competition among peers.

In such a state of affairs, Refinery29’s female-first YouTube channel RIOT rebelliously champions funny women. Creative director Julie Miller worked for Saturday Night Live and Comedy Central for years, learning from the talents of Tina Fey (30 Rock, SNL) and Jessi Klein (writer for Inside Amy Schumer). Miller’s pitch to Refinery29 highlighted the need for a truly niche platform for woman-centric content, one that can find a home most easily on the web. The website entered the digital media space this year with original web series such as The Skinny by Jill Soloway and Jessie Kahnweiler and the Carey Mulligan and Zoe Kazan starrer The Walker.

Miller is constantly involved in the creative process, producing content that tackles subjects that may be too true for comfort. For instance, a truth fairy (musical comedian Tessa Hersh) sings about hating being a part of your friend’s baby shower, using Instagram filters to make your life seem a little greener from the other side, or being completely paralysed when all you need to say is the word “No.”

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Tessa Hersh.

The series Womanhood features comedians Jo Firestone and Archana Nancherla in deadpan expressions and shoulder-padded blazers discussing puberty, tampons, menopause, the fears that come with the thirties, and mid-life crises. The series is shot as a parody of the 1990s television talk show format and has a scratchy VHS tape quality.

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‘Womanhood’.

Woke Bae is a series in which host Phoebe Robinson and a guest talk about crush-worthy male celebrities who are great at what they do. The list includes comedian Aziz Ansari, actor Mark Ruffalo and absolutely everyone’s perfect man – Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau.

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‘Woke Bae’ with Justin Trudeau.

Jacqueline Novak, author of How to Weep in Public: Feeble Offerings on Depression from One Who Knows, discusses depression and anxiety with guest stars such as Lena Dunham. The series Report Card touches on crucial subjects such as the benefits of psychedelic drugs and herpes. RIOT’s latest series Expecting, by filmmaker Shaina Feinberg, consists of a series of sketches about pregnancy.

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‘Expecting’.

Additionally, RIOT Live features interview clips with writer Jessi Klein from an event where creative director Miller described the web platform as place to celebrate women who are radical and relatable.

The channel is new and not too many videos old, but some of them have already received thousands of views. It’s easy to see why. RIOT is a female-centric, woman-first web destination to watch out for. Subscribe away.

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Children's Day is not for children alone

It’s also a time for adults to revisit their childhood.

Most adults look at childhood wistfully, as a time when the biggest worry was a scraped knee, every adult was a source of chocolate and every fight lasted only till the next playtime. Since time immemorial, children seem to have nailed the art of being joyful, and adults can learn a thing or two about stress-free living from them. Now it’s that time of the year again when children are celebrated for...simply being children, and let it serve as a timely reminder for adults to board that imaginary time machine and revisit their childhood. If you’re unable to unbuckle yourself from your adult seat, here is some inspiration.

Start small, by doodling at the back page of your to-do diary as a throwback to that ancient school tradition. If you’re more confident, you could even start your own comic strip featuring people in your lives. You can caricaturise them or attribute them animal personalities for the sake of humour. Stuck in a boring meeting? Draw your boss with mouse ears or your coffee with radioactive powers. Just make sure you give your colleagues aliases.

Pull a prank, those not resulting in revenue losses of course. Prank calls, creeping up behind someone…pull them out from your memory and watch as everyone has a good laugh. Dress up a little quirky for work. It’s time you tried those colourful ties, or tastefully mismatched socks. Dress as your favourite cartoon characters someday – it’s as easy as choosing a ponytail-style, drawing a scar on your forehead or converting a bath towel into a cape. Even dinner can be full of childish fun. No, you don’t have to eat spinach if you don’t like it. Use the available cutlery and bust out your favourite tunes. Spoons and forks are good enough for any beat and for the rest, count on your voice to belt out any pitch. Better yet, stream the classic cartoons of your childhood instead of binge watching drama or news; they seem even funnier as an adult. If you prefer reading before bedtime, do a reread of your favourite childhood book(s). You’ll be surprised by their timeless wisdom.

A regular day has scope for childhood indulgences in every nook and cranny. While walking down a lane, challenge your friend to a non-stop game of hopscotch till the end of the tiled footpath. If you’re of a petite frame, insist on a ride in the trolley as you about picking items in the supermarket. Challenge your fellow gym goers and trainers to a hula hoop routine, and beat ‘em to it!

Children have an incredible ability to be completely immersed in the moment during play, and acting like one benefits adults too. Just count the moments of precious laughter you will have added to your day in the process. So, take time to indulge yourself and celebrate life with child-like abandon, as the video below shows.

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This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of SBI Life and not by the Scroll editorial team.