Welcome to Women in Comedy Week at Splitsider

At this point, the question “are women funny?” isn’t just offensive, it shows a complete lack of knowledge about comedy and belies a terrible sense of humor. It’s a stupid question, one that doesn’t deserve to be worked over in a public setting. A cursory glance at the current comedy landscape shows that women are actually behind a very serious amount of what I consider to be the best, funniest stuff being produced today.

Hell, just look at the best shows of NBC’s Thursday night lineup: 30 Rock was created by and stars Tina Fey. Parks and Recreation was built around and as a starring vehicle for Amy Poehler. Community’s best and most critically acclaimed episode of this season so far, “Cooperative Calligraphy,” was written by Megan Ganz. Mindy Kaling has written many of what most fans would consider the best episodes of The Office, from season 2’s “The Dundies” to this season’s “Classy Christmas.”

And look at SNL: Kristen Wiig is one of the biggest breakout stars from the last 10 years of the show, and of the current crop of new featured players, Vanessa Bayer has by far made the biggest and strongest impression.

As for movies, after a seriously disappointing year for major comedies in 2010, the most buzzed-about comedy film of 2011 is Bridesmaids, written by Annie Mumolo and the aforementioned Kristen Wiig. And one of the best-reviewed indie comedies of 2010, Tiny Furniture, got writer/director/star Lena Dunham her own Apatow-produced series on HBO, Girls, coming later this year.

And women still represent a minority in the comedy world, with men outnumbering them by huge percentages on the writing staff and cast of almost every show. So the fact that women are behind so much of the absolute best comedy out there today is even more impressive.

So yeah, if someone is seriously questioning whether or not women are funny, the more prescient question would be which they dislike: women or comedy. This week, we’ll focus on the women currently kicking ass in comedy and the women who’ve kicked ass in comedy in the past.

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