After much (unnecessary) debate over the years, the verdict is in: women are funny. Hilarious, actually.
So please stop asking that question! A new book by Yael Kohen called We Killed: The Rise Of Women In American Comedy inspired me as it explores the oral history of women in comedy throughout the last 6 decades. There are certain challenges which are specific to the conversation on funny women — how obsene to be, how cute to be, how sexy to be, how self-deprecating to be, etc. Regular women encounter these challenges as well when operating in the public sphere. Let’s take a look at a few women in comedy today that have broken the traditional gender rules on how women are portrayed. And they aren’t just funny for women… They’re funny because they’re really really funny.
To know Leslie Knope is to love her, respect her, and look up to her. She is a feminist to the core and has a true passion for her small town of Pawnee, IN and making her way in politics. She cares too much, loves too deep, and she is a source of continual entertainment. Although Amy Poehler is a veteran at this point and had a great run on Saturday Night Live as well, she has really found her niche as Leslie Knope with a fantastic cast in the laugh out loud NBC sitcom, Parks and Recreation.
Clip of choice:
Parks & Recreation
Mindy Kaling is a comedic rising star. She has had tremendous success as Kelly Kapoor on the hit show The Office, released a NY Times bestselling book in 2011 titled Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns), and now has a brand new pilot for her own sitcom on Fox called The Mindy Project. She is one to watch, and I argue the best way to follower her is to actually follow her… on twitter of course! Mindy is an avid tweeter of her 140 character one-liners, and her twitter was ranked among the 140 best twitter feeds of 2012 by Time Magazine.
Follow her here: https://twitter.com/mindykaling
Last year Kristin Wigg made big waves with the breakout comedy “Bridesmaids”, which she co-wrote and starred in. “Bridesmaids” hilariously tapped into the woes of female friendships, and the film was nominated for numerous awards and reviewed as the only worthly counterpart to instant classic “guy” comedies such as Wedding Crashers and The Hangover. I also recommend checking out some of her earlier work on Saturday Night Live if you haven’t already. Characters such as Surprise Sue, Sexy Shauna, and Penelope (and many more) will have you rolling. I may or may not have shed a tear on her final episode last season. Silver lining – the women who are making their debut on SNL this year are hysterical, shoutout to Vanessa Bayer, Kate McKinnon, and Cecily Strong.
Clip of choice:
There are obviously many many more incredible female comedians out there that deserve a tip of our hat. They are very easy to find now, as the majority of prime time comedy television is graced with their presence – check out We Killed: The Rise Of Women In American Comedy to get a fuller history on funny women.