Twitter: @stephbrown 
E-mail: sbrown11 (at) illinois (dot) edu

I’m a comedy, podcast, and television enthusiast working on her doctorate in Media and Communications at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign in the Institute of Communications Research. In addition to teaching courses in Media and Cinema Studies and in Gender and Women’s Studies, I work on SCMS and Cinema Journal‘s Aca-Media podcast, co-produce a local women’s open mic, write over at Medium and for various other outlets, and  am also in the process of co-launching an after school program called Girls Amplified, which was piloted in the fall of 2015.

My dissertation project explores the discursive boundaries and cultural gatekeeping surrounding American stand-up comedy specifically with regards to gender. I locate my project at the intersection of comedy studies, feminist media studies, fan studies, and cultural studies. My work looks at comedy less as a genre than as a field with its own set of rules, behaviors, practices, and ideologies. I am currently conducting interviews with women in Champaign, Chicago, Los Angeles, and New York who are amateur and professional comics about the realities of breaking into a field that is historically male-centric and about how they negotiate their identities and behavior as women, comedy fans and comedy performers.

I received my B.A. in English from Indiana University and my M.A. in Television, Radio, and Film from Syracuse University.  Before returning to school, I worked for the New York Television Festival and for VOX, a voice-over talent agency in Los Angeles.

Panel 4

Broad Comedy


“Founded by Alexandria Hawkey and Stephanie Brown, Broad Comedy is a group created to bring more women into the Champaign-Urbana comedy scene. We are dedicated to fostering a space for women, women-identified, genderqueer, and non-binary comics and performers.” [ Check us out on Facebook ]


Panel 5

Girls Amplified


Girls Amplified is an after-school program that I’m in the process of developing with my sister, a high school drama teacher with an MA in Theater Education.  The curriculum seeks to promote media literacy, writing skills, empathetic listening, and public speaking skills through the lens of social justice and community building. Rather than individual empowerment, our aim is to give girls in junior high and high school the tools to collaborate with one another to harness the power of storytelling to create social change.