Considering the amount of bro energy that can course through the average comedy club, it's no wonder female comedians — especially newer ones — would be on the lookout for a more welcoming space. For plenty of women pursuing their stand-up dreams, Tao Comedy Studio has become a place to explore and assert themselves creatively in an honest, fearless way. The cozy, colorful space above a nail salon on Beverly Boulevard was founded by comedian, author and teacher Bobbie Oliver as a “safe space” away from the misogyny, bullying and lowbrow, bigoted material she felt was common at mainstream clubs. Tao hosts comedy classes, open mics — some of which are female-only — and booked showcases, with plenty of male comedians mixed into the lineups. Oliver's act is actually ribald, ferocious and far from politically correct, and Tao's audiences dig the smart, personal, uncensored material coming from comedians of either gender. Just in case anyone was expecting a soft, gentle, comedy version of Lilith Fair.

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