Women in Comedy (or: Really, Adam Carolla? Really?)
Several months ago, I slept on 49th street for two nights to see Maya Rudolph host Saturday Night Live. It was at a point in my life where I was starting to really get into comedy and SNL and beginning to learn about the history of the show as well as the many talented comedians that had passed through. My friend and I saw the price of sleeping on the street a small price to pay to see one of the greats host the show.
At the time, I was starting to work on a paper for my writing class that tackled Christopher Hitchens’ idea that women were not funny by looking at Saturday Night Live. It was unbelievable to me that I would not only get to walk through the studio but sit in the same room as some of my heroes: Maya Rudolph, Lorne Michaels, Kristen Wiig, Fred Armisen, Bill Hader, and the entire cast.
Then, sometime between when we were standing in the elevator up to Studio 8H when we walked down the hall with framed photos of the casts over time and Maya’s episode of SNL, I realized that people like Christopher Hitchens were wrong. He was just flat out wrong.
I sat there in studio 8H and realized that institutions like SNL were only one of the many showcases for comedians to display their skills. Every week, they gathered together to write sketches that would air days later. These funny women and men were not defined by their gender. They were either funny or they were not. Sure, some of the jokes were based around their gender, but in the end it came down to whether or not they could make people laugh.
That is the point of comedy - making people laugh.
So can we just stop saying that women in comedy are not funny? I thought we as a society were past that. That whole idea is such a 1920s thought. Really? Really?
The past ten years alone should prove, if anything, that even the notion of women that are not funny should not be pursued in any way, in addition to all the funny women that have come before them (Gilda Radner?). Not only have women proved that they can be funny, but that they are funny.
So excuse my language while I tell Adam Carolla the one thing that first came to mind after I read a piece on his claim today that women are not funny: you ignorant ass. How dare you. As a women who both loves comedy and wants to get involved in it, I am offended and saddened by your words. I thought that movies like Bridesmaids and comedians such as the ones that perform at Second City or Upright Citizen’s Brigade would have proved you wrong.
Sure, Adam admits to saying that people like Tina Fey and Sarah Silverman are “funny chicks,” but the truth is that they’re way more than that. Have you ever seen Tina Fey’s work? She’s one of the smartest, most talented comedians in the business. She makes smart seem sexy and slightly nerdy - and not at all condescending like smart would usually come off as. Then there are people like Amy Poehler, Rachel Dratch, Maya Rudolph, Ana Gasteyer, and even more recently rising comedians such as Chelsea Peretti, Kristen Wiig, Vanessa Bayer, Allison Silverman - the list goes on and on and on.
It’s unbelievable that, after we’ve seen people like Allison Silverman and Tina Fey and Maya Rudolph (among many, many other funny women) succeed and thrive in comedy, people still have the nerve to go out and say women are not funny. It’s insulting and it’s wrong.
# adam carolla # tina fey # maya rudolph # snl # Saturday Night Live # Amy Poehler # allison silverman # kristen wiig # lorne michaels # Chelsea Peretti # vanessa bayer # Rachel Dratch # UCB # second city # nbc # comedy # women in comedy # improv # review # critique # criticism # Critic