Saturday, March 14, 2009
Laugh Like A Girl
One of the reasons I put up posts of female comedians is because of the annoying article Vanity Fair publised two years ago titled Why Women Aren't Funny by Christopher Hitchens. Usually I enjoy Vanity Fair, and they did follow up the uproar the article caused with an issue all about how women are funny, but some part of me will never trust them again. I recently heard a male coworker talking about how "girls just aren't as funny as guys" and got the boiling feeling the Hitchens article spurred all over again. I actually find debating and arguing over what is funny to be the most annoying and unfunny thing out there so I was pretty relieved when another guy turned to this kid and just said "Yea, but you only know like 2 girls".
Marie Claire has a really great article that actually goes to the source itself and is a dialogue of quotes from well known female comedians, actresses, directors, and writers.
Its great and yet depressing to read about some of the things I've wondered about for years. For instance in this other post I wondered about why there weren't movies or shows that featured more than one female comedian :
KATHY GRIFFIN (My Life on the D-List): After Suddenly Susan, I went to every network and said, "What if you put four funny chicks together? Not newcomers, but four women who are proven in television: me, Jennifer Coolidge, Megan Mullally, Cheri Oteri, or Molly Shannon..." And the network people said, "What about Carmen Electra?"
In fact Kathy Griffin points out that there actually was a comraderie among female comedians that we never get to see. Maybe because the world likes to think of women as constantly being in competition instead of all hanging out having fun.
GRIFFIN: When I first started, I called Janeane and said, "I can’t get a break. Everybody is getting on SNL but me." Janeane said, "I think that we should do something called alternative comedy. Fuck the Comedy Store. Fuck the Improv — rent your own theater. Go do stand-up yourself." So I printed flyers: "Comedy night with Kathy Griffin and Janeane Garofalo." We would charge $1, and the show was only an hour. And then we would get celebrity guests — Lisa Kudrow, Quentin Tarantino. And it became the talk of the town.
MARGARET CHO: The boys were always supersupportive of each other. And the girls didn’t really have that until Janeane Garofalo came to L.A. She was like this punk-rock girl. She had really black hair and only wore red lipstick. She sort of lifted the veil of what comedy was about. I used to think, Oh, you’ve got to think up all these jokes. She’s like, "No, they just want to see you. They want to know what you’re thinking."
There were also some interesting comments that made it obvious why male comedians tend to do better career wise...
LISA KUDROW: Depending on who the director was, when we would rehearse stuff [for Friends], I know that there was a feeling sometimes like, Wow, they’re spending a lot of time on the guy scenes, figuring out how to make it as funny as possible. And sometimes with the girl scenes, we’d run it, and it was like, Alright, well, that’s good. It felt like there was a little more enthusiasm to figure it out with the guys.
SUZANNE SOMERS: I was fired from [Three’s Company] because I said, "I’d like you to pay me what you’re paying the men." I knew that I was number one in that coveted demographic, 18 to 49; why were men getting paid 10 times more? But they wanted to make it an example so that no other female could ever get that uppity on television. Penny Marshall told me years later that when she and Cindy Williams went to renegotiate their contracts, they said, "Remember what happened to Suzanne."
For instance its weird that Jimmy Fallon got Conan's Late Night show when comedians like Kathy Griffin have been kicking ass lately.
GRIFFIN: The last time I was on Leno, he turned to me during the commercial break and said, "Why aren’t you up for my job? You should get a late-night show on Fox." And I said, "Jay, I’m very flattered, but tell that to [Fox president of alternative entertainment] Mike Darnell." Have you met Mike Darnell? He’s like 4'11" and puts on shows like Joe Millionaire. That’s who I’m dealing with.
JOY BEHAR: There’s no way that they will ever hire a woman for a Leno job or a Letterman job, because they claim that it’s a male audience that watches — as if women are not working and staying up late watching Late Night.
A few others I enjoyed...
CAROLINE HIRSCH (owner, Carolines on Broadway): I went to see Sarah Silverman at Club Soda in Montreal. There were 300 people in the room, and when the audience was waning, she did something very sexually explicit with her hand down her pants. Sarah’s about the shock value. She once said something about Jimmy Kimmel’s balls smelling like her grandmother’s clothes. I mean, the things that would come out of her mouth. But she’s of a generation that is no-holds-barred.
ROSEANNE BARR: It was their own bigotry. They’d put on, like, four white guys who did impersonations of black guys, and then they wouldn’t put on any black guys. Most of the other women quit — but I wasn’t going to do that ’cause I knew I was funnier than all the men there.
And I leave you with this one... Thanks Lindsay and Kristen!