July 18, 2014

Women Are Funny. End of Story.

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In 2014, there are still sadly glass ceilings that women have to break down. The Emmy Awards were announced earlier this week and still there was a large gap in the number of women nominated as compared to men. Despite there being so many awesome women to nominate. A particular upset was Orphan Black who has a kick ass lead female character who plays clones (i.e. many different versions of herself). I had high hopes for comedy as there are probably more visible female led comedies in 2014 then there has been in quite some time. However, they only saw nominations in terms of writing. In the comedy writing category it was still 65 men, 12 women. And the only reason there were 12 women was because two shows Portlandia and Inside Amy Schumer had a well rounded number of women on their writing staff. The Mindy Project was also snubbed. Mindy Kaling writes, directs and stars in this hit show. She definitely deserves some recognition.

I just finished reading "We Killed It: The Rise of Women in American Comedy" by Yael Kohen, which outlined the history of female comedians. How they came about in the 70s during the women's right movement, the struggles they had to face by such a male dominated culture, but also seeing great successes. Growing up watching the Roseanne show I didn't realize how ground breaking it was to see a female led primetime show which featured a family that didn't have a fat guy married to a hot woman - how refreshing. The book features a chapter about a certain subject and the interviews people who were involved around that time to share their stories. They talked about the sexism they faced with great comedians like Johnny Carson saying women weren't funny or had no place in comedy. Even the godfather of Atheism (which is supposed to be inclusive), Christopher Hitchens said "Male humor prefers the laugh to be at someone else's expense and understands that life is possibly a joke to begin with... whereas women, bless their tender hearts, would prefer that life be fair and even sweet" Go fuck yourself buddy!

Watching The Hollywood Reporter Emmy Roundtable, the actresses talked about the type of questions they face in interviews that their male counterparts don't. And it's like, really? It's 2014 people. My favorite podcast, Citizen Radio, said we need to stop asking "are we ready for a female led comedy?" Bridesmaids pretty much laid that to rest. Women can lead a box office hit or television show. Women will go to the theaters or tune in to watch. Yet we consistently fail to nominate and award the efforts of these great talents. I try not to be too disheartened because after "We Killed It" I see what tremendous strides these female comics have made and we have a lot of kick ass ladies in entertainment right now who I know will change the status quo. Now it's just time for the academy to wake up.

P.S. If you're not watching Inside Amy Schumer, I think it's one of the best shows on. Season 2 was amazing. Here is one of the greatest clips:

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