In Chrisopher Hitchens’ now infamous Vanity Fair article ‘Why Women Aren’t Funny’ he proclaimed that most comediennes are either “hefty or dykey or Jewish, or some combo of the three”.
This article was published back in 2007 so why are we still talking about it? Why? Because his comments are still making waves.
In the year after the article, Tina Fey gained more coverage than any other comedian, male or female, for her impersonation of Sarah Palin on Saturday Night Live.
Since then, perhaps out of resentment of Hitchens or propelled by Fey’s success, witty women have been making headlines. This year has been particularly big for famously funny ladies.
Tina Fey, aside from causing thee uproar over her Palin impersonation, was the first female comedy writer on Saturday Night Live; she wrote the script of Mean Girls and created the popular TV show 30 Rock and has now released her first book, the comedic memoir Bossypants.
She’s not the only funny lady to publish a book recently. The sharp-tongued duo behind GoFugYourself.com, Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan, has released The Fug Awards. Like the website this book is a scathing analysis of Hollywood fashion disasters.
The list goes on. Only last week the “pink carpet” Australian premiere of the new comedy Bridesmaids was held in Sydney. Kristen Wiig, another Saturday Night Live alumni, co-wrote the movie.
Bridesmaids is unique in that is was written by women and stars a predominantly female cast without falling into the clichéd genres of romantic-comedy or chick flick. The film has already earned more than $100 million in the U.S box office and has received high praise from men and women alike. In an interview after the premiere director Paul Feig said he hopes that the movie has broken through “the comedy glass ceiling”.
The cast of ‘Bridesmaids’
Feig firmly anchors the film’s success to the female input:”If we just had these women acting like a bunch of guys then it wouldn’t have worked. This was written by women and we empowered all the women in the cast and behind the lens to call us on things. There would be scenes where they’d say it wasn’t true to women, so we’d say `OK, how would you guys do it? What would be the most realistic way that women would do this?’.”
Kat Dennings and Beth Behrs in ‘Two Broke Girls’
It doesn’t stop there. The females-are-funny revolution has spread to TV. American network CBS recently aired the pilot for a new sitcom, Two Broke Girls, starring Kat Dennings and Beth Behrs, and actress/indie songstress Zoeey Deschanel’s new comedy show New Girl was recently green-lighted by Fox. So it looks like the laugh might be on Christopher Hitchens.