Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Women are Funny!

I hate to give this story any merit, but my own thoughts are inspired by the day to day events within the world of popular culture.  Today a story came out from the New York Post that Adam Carolla stated the following regarding 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 have to hire you, they can't really fire you, and you don't have to produce that much. It'll be awesome."

He then compared working with a female comedy team, or hiring female comedy writers to picking a basketball team

"When you're picking a basketball team, you'll take the brother over the guy with the yarmulke. Why? Because you're playing the odds. When it comes to comedy, of course there's Sarah Silverman,Tina FeyKathy Griffin—super-funny chicks. But if you're playing the odds? No."

Man of you may or most likely may not remember this personality as one of the hosts of the Comedy Central television series The Man Show (1999-2004).  The series ran for five years and propelled host Jimmy Kimmel to a successful career as a late night host at ABC.  Carolla has landed on the D list along with the above mentioned Kathy Griffin, and has only starred in crappy reality television like Celebrity Apprentice.  The ironic thing is that I never found Carolla's show The Man Show funny; he is this crass person who uses fart and tits humor to get laughs, and while that may be funny to some people that brand of humor lacks the intellect many of female counterparts within the comedy world.

Carolla works within the realm of stereotypes, which can be funny when used wisely; he also equates them to truth working in the real world.  In his rationale Carolla uses an "affirmative action" type argument to state why female comedy writers exist.  I also have to disagree with his assertion that the "reason we know more funny dudes than chicks" is because comedy is still a boys club and fewer women are given the opportunity to prove their worth.  If you look at the history of funny women in television time after time they have proven their worth in front of the camera.

From Lucille Ball to Tina Fey women have proven to be some of the funniest and most memorable characters in the television landscape.  In the 1950s up until today people always cite Lucille Ball as one of the funniest comediennes of all time, and to be honest this distinction crosses the gender line.  Ball's distinct brand of humor was great; her physical humor stole the show.  As time went by especially in the 60s the boys club ruled, but the 70s and 80s stirred up a revolution.  Shows like The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Maude, Rhoda, Alice, One Day at a Time, 227, The Golden Girls, Designing Women, and Murphy Brown (all centering on women) proved that the women could compete with the men on the comedy front. While a half of these shows were created by men a few had female creators, and women writers like The Golden Girls, Designing Women, and Murphy Brown, which were all products of the mid to late 80s.  While these shows may not be up Carolla's alley (mainly because they don't involve girls on trampolines) there is no denying that these shows are regarded as some of the best and funniest shows of all time.

Carolla does not use the past to defend his comments rather current funny women and a slight to fact that Jewish men can't play sports.  Carolla has cited three working female comediennes whom he would not pick for his team, one being his former partner's (Kimmel) girlfriend Sarah Silverman, another being Kathy Griffin, and then Tina Fey.  While  Silverman and Griffin are incredibly polarizing I would argue both are funny than Carolla, and are more recognizable personalities than he is today.  I am going to run with his citation of Tina Fey, and the impressive comedy work she has created within the last 12 years or so.

Tina Fey was offered a writing position for Saturday Night Live in 1997 by head writer and former Second City pal Adam McKay.  Although Fey struggled in the beginning, partly because she had to navigate the boys club; she soon carved her own niche and put together some of the best female driven sketches the show had seen, and made the show a more diverse playing ground.  In 1999 Fey was offered the job as head writer for the show; she was in fact the first female head writer for Saturday Night Live.  If you compare her to Seth Meyers you can see where her talent outshines his by leaps and bounds (something she would never point out).  Fey was the head writer of the show for seven years and left at the end of 2006.

In the middle of her tenure as head writer she wrote one of the funniest films about young teenage girls in high entitled Mean Girls (2004).  Mean Girls starred Lindsay Lohan when she had talent, and created one of the funniest/meanest characters of all time, Regina George.  While the film was not a massive success at the box office there was a lot of traction with word of mouth when it was released on DVD and it gained a bit of a cult following, and can heard quoted by many women and gay men today.

Soon after Fey ended her run as head writer on SNL she jumped into another project, a television comedy entitled 30 Rock.  30 Rock is a show that takes place in an SNL like environment where Fey plays Liz Lemon the head writer of TGS.  Fey is great in the show, but of course Alec Baldwin steals the spotlight on screen.  Many people cite his performance as their favorite on the show, but in reality his character exists because of Fey.  Fey is a creator on the show, and writes many of the episodes; she has won Emmy awards for acting, writing and producing the show.  The show has won 3 Best Comedy Series Emmy Awards.  I think Fey is someone I would pick on my comedy legend team without a doubt.

Carolla's comments probably fall of deaf ears for many, but still perpetuate the stereotypes within the entertainment industry.  Throughout the last couple of years magazines, journalists, an bloggers keep declaring the years women.  I remember many declaring 2011 "the year of women" because of films like The Help, and Bridesmaids, more strong dramatic roles women and great comedic television roles for women like Amy Poehler in Parks and Recreation.  I remember a famous female winning an award (I forget which one) and being offended by this statement saying something to affect of women star in movies all the time this isn't an anomaly.  Whoever said this is correct, and it's not as though women have never been funny, nor have they never created anything funny, but at this point in history people are finally taking notice more (rightfully so) and people like Adam Carolla with no real career are just jealous.  Stop being a baby, and be the professed man you are, women have always been funny.

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