It’s no secret that sometimes comedy is taken a bit too seriously. Comedy obsessives love not just the jokes, but the mechanics and emotions of the comedy world. There are a raft of comedy documentaries exploring comedy and comedians, but do they really have anything significant to add to the discussion? This series looks at comedy documentaries and whether they’re interesting, insightful, and possibly even…funny?
In some circles, the idea persists that women are inherently less funny than men. It’s the sort of infuriating but engrossing discussion that comedy fans can argue for hours, debating whether women aren’t conditioned to be funny at a young age, men are threatened [...]
Larry Getlen over at the Postinterviewed Adam Carolla today, and, well, he didn't really hold back when it came to his feelings towards women in comedy: The lesson you learned from a sexual harassment seminar was “Don’t hire chicks.” Do you hate working with women?
No. But they make you hire a certain number of chicks, and they’re always the least funny on the writing staff. The reason why you know more funny dudes than funny chicks is that dudes are funnier than chicks. If my daughter has a mediocre sense of humor, I’m just gonna tell her, “Be a staff writer for a sitcom. Because they’ll [...]
The latest crop of new network sitcoms from the past year or so feature a whole lot that are female-fronted, from Whitney and Two Broke Girls to Don't Trust the B- in Apartment 23 and BFFs. It's great, right? They're all very different shows that have little in common other than the gender of their lead actors, offering up different things to different audiences while making the TV comedy landscape more representative of the actual population. You'd have to be kind of a misogynist dirtbag to make sweeping, negative generalizations about that, right? Enter Two and a Half Men co-creator Lee Aronsohn:
Last night, standup comic Gaby Dunn was sexually harassed while performing at a small show in the East Village. She wrote about her experience here, and it's pretty horrifying:
When he first started talking, I had tried to do that thing women are taught to do where you’re distantly polite to a man who is attacking you in the hopes that things don’t escalate. “Just smile and make a joke so he doesn’t hurt you.”
Part of me is so sick of that line of thinking. Even though I’m still scared, I mock him a bit saying he hangs outside the CVS all day and telling him I [...]
Man Up! Last Man Standing. Two and a Half Men. In my day, it was Three Men and they didn’t even need a woman to raise a baby. These days, television is chock full of emasculated male heroes, trying to muddle through somehow in a woman’s world. What’s that Beyonce? Who run the world? Girls? I’m pretty sure that’s what the Equal Rights Amendment was all about, castrating the other sex. Or being like them enough so we can become them and overtake them? I don’t know. I didn’t take women’s studies; I had boyfriends. High five, Dr. Pepper Ten and Light Beer Commercials! Boobs.
There are, obviously, a lot of women in comedy, and some of themare doing quitewell for themselves. But as baffling as it seems, some people would still dispute the fundamental funniness of ladies. Even within comedy circles, discussions persist about women in comedy, such as whether the relative rarity of lady comics is a help or hindrance for women. These discussions have been going on for generations, as seen in We Killed: The Rise of Women in American Comedy, a new oral history documenting the last 50-odd years of funny women. Recently, I caught up with the book's author, Yael Kohen, to talk [...]
On the one hand, this TV season has had more sitcoms staring women than any in recent memory, which is good! On the other hand, all those funny ladies on TV have been subject to a pretty unfair level of scrutiny and blowback, as the characters they portray are generally flawed people and don't do a great job of representing their entire demographic. Because, you know, they're not supposed to. It's a pretty shitty thing, and while Lena Dunham and Girls have borne the brunt of the flawed funny ladies blowback lately, Zooey Deschanel's character on New Girl got her fair share of criticism as well, especially in the [...]
Let's put aside the fact that the TV Guide Network's new female standup show hosted by The Office's Kate Flannery is called StandUp in Stilletos and just focus on the awesome fact that there's a TV Guide Network new female standup show hosted by The Office's Kate Flannery. Because everything about it (minus that name) sounds great! The show's been picked up for 10 episodes premiering June 16, and each will feature three female standups performing for a live audience at a comedy club. TV Guide will also be airing a talk show hosted by Australian comedian Rove McManus, called Rove LA, and starting with episodes that have [...]
Jimmy Fallon and NBC Universal are being sued for discrimination by Paul Tarascio, a former Late Night stage manager. Tarascio claims that he was fired in 2010 and replaced with a "less qualified" and "totally incompetent woman" due to Fallon's "gender bias." Huh. Well, uh…late night TV hosts aren't often accused of being anti-men in their hiring practices, so this is something of a first. Bright side?
Work It, ABC's upcoming comedy about men dressing as women to get jobs, does not look like it's breaking any records for being funny. But it might break some for misrepresenting gender in the workplace, argues Jezebel. That article notes that the show's premise – that men have to be women to get jobs in this economy – is backwards in a recession that's actually hit women harder than men.
If ABC really wanted to examine women in the workplace, there are a disgusting number of hilarious women they could have hired. This isn't that show, which is fine – there's nothing innately wrong with a comedy [...]
Oh, Jesus. If you'd prefer to avoid getting angry at your computer screen, do not read Ashley Fetters' new piece for The Atlantic, Why Do So Many Pretty Female Comedians Pretend They're Ugly?. It makes the argument that, in general, women cannot be funny while also being pretty — that pretty female comedians must ugly themselves up in order to get people, specifically males, to laugh at them. Pegged to the death of Phyllis Diller, here's the main argument: Diller's reign as the frumpish, clumsy queen of the underbrag was groundbreaking on many levels. She did, after all, prove that women with bad hair, bad cooking, and loud [...]
"I got bored of penises. I said, ‘enough of that.’ No, I just like immaturity, I like to show people struggle and try to figure out who they are. I’m a guy and so it leaned guy for a while. But one of the projects I’m most proud of is Freaks and Geeks, which is about a woman in high school struggling to figure out which group she wants to belong to, so for me, it goes back and forth." — Judd Apatow on his recent pivot from dude-centric projects to lady-centric projects, such as Bridesmaids and Girls.
What could be greater than a discussion with Community's Gillian Jacobs, Alison Brie, Yvette Nicole Brown, and writer Megan Ganz? Maybe if they surprise-announced that Community was actually coming back tonight instead of March 15. Barring the realization of that fantasy, this round table is a fun look at how the show creates three-dimensional female and minority characters, the challenges of dealing with Chevy Chase, and the scary prevalence of the wildly unrealistic Teen Girl Sexual Dynamo archetype. Hurry up and finish reading it so we can all go suck on lollipops while peering coyly through our eyelashes at our algebra teachers!
Eddie Brill was the subject of Jason Zinoman's comedy column last week in the New York Times, and he didn't come off looking too good. The most damning part of the piece is the following quote: Among some comics “Late Show” has a reputation for favoring a certain profile. “The types they seem to like are middle-aged white men from the Midwest,” the comic Amy Schumer said. Only one woman (Karen Rontowski) was booked in 2011. “There are a lot less female comics who are authentic,” Mr. Brill said. “I see a lot of female comics who to please an audience will act like men.”
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