Column: Introducing Sarah Steinberg


Introducing Sarah Steinberg

Back to the future when women were comedy

By Sarah Steinberg

Hello and welcome to my introduction

Dr. Phil once told his audience that people will believe what you tell them about yourself. I believed him and so, with that in mind, allow me to tell you a little bit about myself. My name is Sarah and I am an expert on stuff. I believe it is my expertise that led the unpaid interns of Broken Pencil to ask me to write this article about women and comedy. Holy smokes! Women and comedy! That’s a big subject. Sure, I know what you’re thinking. She’s not an expert on all stuff; how could that be? Well, if my B.A. in Stuff Studies from Concordia University with a specialization in Everything doesn’t convince you, why don’t I prove it with this totally awesome spate of facts that I just came up with off the top of my head: Seagulls are the largest non-flying birds in Canada; open heart surgery is now an Olympic sport; my gramps is the king of Russia. There. Now that you believe me, you probably want to know where this whole women’s comedy thing is going. I have two words for you: Sandals European Beach Resort in Jamaica. Where it’s going it don’t need roads. That, by the way, is a reference to the film Back to the Future and Ronald Reagan both. Expert!

In the future

But the real question to ask is: Will there be a future? And if so, will there be women? Another important question to ask is: In the future, if there is one, will everything be comedy? Will comedy replace men? Will comedy dress the same or will it be wearing shiny space-age leotards? My answer to all of the above is: you bet. Now that I’ve sewn that up like a good woman who knows her role, let’s look at a serious issue facing women today. Not that issues have faces. I’m not saying that. That would be insane. Imagine!

The funniest sexual harassment

In my early twenties I was offered a job in San Diego as an editorial assistant. I flew to California with nothing but a few bags and my Social Security number written on the back of my left hand. I was broke, sweaty, and I was hungry for work and food. My boss was the author of a popular textbook about advertising. He was 67 years old and he liked to come up behind me and massage the small space of skin located directly under my bra strap. Another thing he liked to do, another favourite activity of his, was this: he liked to stand at the corner of my desk and delicately place his balls on the Formica tabletop. He would ask me a question like, “Have you seen to those proofs yet?” and his balls would be splayed out like a snack-size serving of bar meatballs. He was, after all, an authority on advertising. One day my boss lost the use of his limbs. My job changed radically. I became a nursemaid, and wheeled him around in his chair and helped feed him. Every day at four I left the office to get him a Frappacino.

A list of words and things I find funny

Some things I think are funny include, but are not limited, to: farts and sexy kangaroos, especially combined. Tickles always make laugh. The words “handjob,” “squid,” and its plural, “squids” as well as “hump,” and its plural, “humps.” Talking babies or talking dogs. And what about if the babies are female? Or the dogs are female or the babies are female dogs? That’s a bonus. When people write “thnaks” by accident instead of “thanks.” It makes my day, especially if they are thnaking me for something particularly hilarious, like writing to remind me that I owe them money. I’m sure they’re eating sandwiches when they make that spelling error. I’m positive they’re eating a sammie with one hand and using their baby fingers to type out their notes, and that they have crumbs falling in the keyboad. I also like receiving birthday cards from people who feel slighted. Here is a replication of one such card: “Dear “Sarah”, It has been over a decade since you have “talked” to me, and I’m very hurt by “that”. But today is all about you so “happy birthday!!!””


Even as an expert, writing about comedy is something that no one should ever do, under any circumcision. Your best bet is to marry a dentist and donate money to the McCain — Palin Down’s Syndrome Fund. That is to say, comedy, even for women, is like shooting fish in a barrel. It’s not rocket surgery, but it’s not easy either.