Monday 9 January 2012


I read an article at the end of last year – doesn’t that sound so odd already? – touting that it was the year of the woman in respect to comedy. I think the headline was something to the effect of ‘funny women rule.’ It was essentially stating how comedic women ruled at the box office to everyone’s utter shock, especially when a lot of the films they were appearing in were risky in nature. I must stress that the risk was due to the fact that women were headlining the film, not the actual subject matter of the film itself.

Yes in this day and age, it apparently is still an absolute shock to those that run Hollywood – men, that is; another problem to be eradicated – that women can be funny and that the audience (not male driven. Seriously, do the math on that one) can actually appreciate a woman being funny. Sorry, I’m going to have a very ineloquent moment here, but doesn’t that just make you want to puke?

Suddenly the female comedy is en vogue because hark, women can crack jokes, be outrageously clever and pull in an audience just like a man. And, the real kicker, they don’t have to be in search of a man, or play the limited one-dimensional airhead or slutty best friend in order to be entertaining. Up until now, that is pretty much what women were limited to; Seriously, how many romantic comedies can one watch where the woman’s life is just soooo lacking because she hasn’t met the ‘perfect’ (there’s that word again) man, despite her incredible career - as a hooker...or a journalist that writes about men, love and all things romance cause she's clearly got a one track mind - and then voila, she stumbles over him (literally) in a bookstore, mayhem ensues, and she ends up chasing him to the airport declaring that she loves him while thirty people look on clapping. I feel more nausea coming on.

Coming from the perspective of a writer, I cannot tell you how maddening it is to be told that if I could just change the female characters in my script to men, the script would be  so much more appealing and sellable (not that anything is sellable these days). I was even told once that women are just not as interesting as men. Yes, they actually said this to me, a woman. It took everything in my power not to pick up their trendy bottle of Kombucha mushroom, tree bark water (or whatever is in there) with a twist of de-aging growth hormone in it, off their desk and hurl it at them.

The other amazing fact of this article was like many other articles of its ilk, it happily pointed out that women in the entertainment field being funny is not a novelty; in fact, there are many female entertainers that paved the path for those now enjoying the spoils. Although Hollywood has severe amnesia and likes to pretend they came up with the ingenious idea of giving women a chance to strut their stuff. In fact, some of our greatest iconic comedians back in the day were women: Carol Burnett, Lucille Ball, Lily Tomlin, Roseanne Barr (love her or hate her, the woman broke the barrier with her TV show), Gilda Radner, Jane Curtin…the list is long. It was just that back then they were given the chance to prove they could keep up with the men. Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure for them it was just as much of a battle to get there as is it is now.

Fundamentally does this irk my feminist sensibilities? For sure. I think it should for every woman. Do I think it’s gross that we are still shocked when a woman directs an action film or Oscar winning project? Yes. Do I think it’s pathetic that people are so in awe that a woman like Tina Fey is funny and can act, direct and produce a project, just like a man? But of course. Am I surprised male executives are only now figuring all this out (and will probably forget all of the above by next week) not at all.

For now, I will simply state the obvious for those of you slow to arrive at the party: women- funny. You’re damn right we are.
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