“My name is Paul Feig. I directed Bridesmaids, The Heat, the upcoming Spy. And it’s an honor to welcome you all. I have such a love of funny women. And funny women in comedy. And anything that lets them showcase what they do, and I think this festival is so important for that. To all the women who are trying to do funny movies – and to the men who want to do movies with funny women – keep doing it! Create these roles. Create these important roles. Don’t just allow yourselves to be shown as the bitchy wife, or the mean girlfriend, or the wife who’s at home going to the superhero, ‘Don’t save the world because you need to stay home and have dinner with me! Or with the kids!’ How could she not be a villain in any movie that men watch and go, ‘Oh, see! Look at the wife. Look at the women. They hold us down.’ We want strong, strong roles for smart, funny, intelligent women. We should all want to see real women in all their various foibles and insecurities and strengths and weaknesses. So thank you, Women in Comedy Festival. Keep doing what you’re doing. It’s such a great thing. Everyone enjoy the movies. Enjoy these funny funny women, and let’s keep making these movies and creating these roles because it’s important. And it’s 2015. And let the bullshit end. Here we are. It’s today. It’s now. You guys rule.”

Putting his money where his mouth is, Feig — who filmed The Heat in Boston — also will spend plenty of time back there this summer with his all-female Ghostbusters reboot!

The 7th annual Women in Comedy Festival kicks off tonight in Cambridge, Mass., with shows, panels, film screenings and podcast recordings in both Cambridge and Boston through Sunday.

This year’s headliners include Lily Tomlin, Jane Lynch and Cristela Alonzo at the Wilbur Theatre; Sue Costello, Mary Mack and Aparna Nancherla headlining shows at Laugh Boston; a late-morning interview with Kate Flannery, plus several more shows with more than 150 comedians performing at venues such as The Comedy Studio, ImprovBoston, Club Passim, Club Cafe and The Brattle Theatre.