The Tiny Funny Fest encourages and empowers women and nonbinary improvisors.
After the death of female comic icon Madeline Kahn in 1999, Chicago improviser Kathleen Puls went online to post her feelings about loss of one of her comedy heroes. She received around 75 responses, many of them with a recurring theme: “Wouldn’t it be great if we could gather women in one place, and empower the voice of women in comedy?”
It was this that inspired Puls and New York improviser Susan Santaniello to organize the first Funny Women Fest (FWF) in 2000. More than 100 women from 20 states attended the festival in Chicago. The festival included workshops, panel discussions and all-female shows, all geared toward empowerment and support.
Minneapolis improviser Jill Bernard attended the Funny Women Fest and decided to bring the empowerment and support of FWF to the Twin Cities. With their permission, Bernard created the Tiny Funny Women Fest (TFWF) in 2001. It was dubbed “Tiny” because it was smaller in comparison to its Chicago counterpart and because Bernard taught under the name “Tiny Improv” at the time. The festival occurred off and on in the Twin Cities since 2001.
The Tiny Funny Women Fest was always been a friendly festival – but, despite our efforts, not a truly intersectional festival. We want to make a festival that fuels agency for people who are more negatively affected by the patriarchy, especially as it intertwines with white supremacy, queerphobia and ableism. Thus, we changed the name to TINY FUNNY FEST in 2019 to reflect this desire.
The logo at left was designed by Andy Kuhlmann. Our new logo represents a broader mission and to strip away the discriminatory implications that arise inherently in the suffragette movement that we were not aware of when we adopted this logo so many years ago.