Classic comedy fans, rejoice! The inimitable Joan Rivers has a documentary coming out about her life and work (and her life's work) and it promises to be a revealing look at the method behind her badass madness.
Now, I have a very particular way I like to enjoy my Joan--cocktail in hand, What Becomes A Legend Most? on the record player, dim lighting--but it looks like the film, A Piece of Work is going to be an excellent way to get to know Ms Rivers:
Last Saturday, Precious star Gabourey Sidibe hosted Saturday Night Live, while Brooklyn indie rockers MGMT provided the tunes. It had the potential to be brilliant and edgy and fresh. And it was ... pretty kind of good mostly.
Most of Gabby's characters were problematic, and why in the world Will Forte's "Hamilton" character was ever allowed to venture on stage in the first place is beyond me. In case you missed it, here's the best and worst of Gabby's SNL appearance.
Allow me to take a break, in this edition of Chicks Aren't Funny, from deep anthropological forays into the world of female comics. Allow me to step back from thoughtful commentary about what it means to be funny and in possession of a vagina. Allow me simply to watch this video of Ke$ha on SNL last week and wonder, "Seriously?"
Welcome to Chicks Aren't Funny II: What's Up With That? Boogaloo, wherein instead of posturing about my own work with female comics (and work being a female comic), I talk about how other people talk about female comics. Because in the past week or so, the internet seems to have blown up with people talking about funny girls. (And by "blown up," I mean there are likethreearticles about funny women, which is basically a milliongazillion in the vastly under-covered world of comedy, and lady comedy specifically.) But these people, they're not always saying very nice things about the lady comics. Is there something wrong with that?
It's a rainy night in Dallas. McCarty's Bar, just north of the city proper, is half-buzzing with townies escaping the bad weather and a few tables of mildly interested patrons watching comic after comic tell jokes beneath neon beer signs on the low-rise stage. McCarty's was known for being a hit-or-miss open mic, where comics fight the internet juke box and sports broadcasts for the attention of whoever happens to show up at 10 p.m. This is the place where, if you try out new material and it actually gets laughs, you know you've written something good.
I'm new, just started doing comedy a couple months before, but I feel okay about the laughs I've been getting at the club open mikes. Bar shows like this, of course, are a different story. Audiences--if they can be called that--come to drink and carouse, not to listen and laugh. But standing onstage at McCarty's, in a tank top and hooded jacket and jeans, I can hear them actually laughing. Some of them, anyway. Enough of them that I don't feel like crying or doing a shot of whiskey as soon as I get offstage.
And so, I head to the back of the room to grab my Diet Coke at a tall table where burly, bad-mouthed comic we'll call Tim is keeping an eye on "the list," a line-up of comics who've signed up for the mike.
"Hey, you did good!" he says, giving me a high five. I thank him.
"But your, uh, your tits. They get in the way." Tim gestures to my chest.
The moment Tim told me my tits got in the way of my comedy, I knew I had to speak up--but it didn't seem enough to just counter sexist bullshit at comedy shows. I wanted my speaking up to be legit. And so last week, I finished a 60-page ethnographic thesis on female stand-up comedians that I may be soon awarded a master's degree in cultural anthropology from the University of Texas at Austin.
Okay, so Erykah Badu filmed a music video wherein she stripped down to her absolutely nothings in the middle of downtown Dallas where John Kennedy was shot and pretended to get shot in the head, and now the Dallas Police Department is all pissed about it, because music videos are definitely the most important thing they should be worried about what with the city's crime rate being fucking ridiculous and all.
Anyway, Palin really gives it to the people who take exception to violent and threatening language against Democrats who voted for health care reform. And by "really gives it" I mean "ASGHSLKDHGGHGHGHSH UGHGHGLSJLWIEJF!?" Her hilarious piece of biting, witty, even Voltairian satire is entitled, "Warning: Subject to New Politically Correct Language Police
Breast cancer awareness is always great, right? Who doesn't believe that encouraging people to think about and donate to this great cause is admirable in all forms? Well, feminists, for one. Specifically, feminists have a problem with the sexualization of breast cancer--the "save the titties" version of cancer awareness that reduces women to sexual organs who must be saved for their aesthetic value rather than viewing them as whole humans.
Like it or not--and for a good many reasons, I do not--Betty White is officially hosting the sinking ship that is SNL on May 8. There has been some requisite hand-wringing about her age (88) and whether she'll be able to keep up with the grueling rehearsal schedule. Because, you know, people get to be 88 and incredibly spry because they are both delicate and lazy.
But since we've got the wonderfulness that is Betty, even in this problematic form, I invite Dolls to speculate: who do you want to see Betty impersonate on SNL?
SPRING BREAK! Time to whip out your tits, patronize an underprivileged country by purchasing large amounts of tequila and watch an Amy Poehler spoof about spring break culture. Load up your suit with sand and get ready to be titillated! And by "titillated," I mean "a little confused about what Poehler is doing with this thing." Via Bitch mag, here's the trailer for Wild Girls Gone, a film that will be released on ... iTunes. Hmm. Anyway, here you go:
I am lost. I am confused. I feel incomplete. Unfulfilled. For the Olympics are over, and I'll now have to return to sleeping in my bed instead of the couch, and not spending every evening crying for several hours in response to overblown human interest stories.
But then I was like, oh wait, Kathy Griffin's on Law and Order: SVU this Wednesday, and I'm pretty sure she makes out with Stabler on the show, since I've seen the teaser about six gazillion times between snowboard runs and speed skating laps. Let's check out some clips from the comic's appearance after the jump!
Last week, the buzz was that, after much internet clamoring, Betty White was finally being considered to host Saturday Night Live. The former Golden Girl has had a pretty impressive run lately, starring in a Super Bowl ad and that one movie with Sandra Bullock and some guy, in addition to being lifetimely awesome.
Now, it looks like SNL is taking White Fever even farther into the bowels of lady comedy. Somebody at NBC told somebody at Entertainment Weekly that White would be appearing on a women of comedy special event with Tina Fey, Molly Shannon and Amy Poehler.
As a fan of those women, I'm excited about it. As a comedian and feminist, I couldn't be more irritated. This is exactly the kind of thing that keeps women othered in comedy.
Let's say you're a gaggle of self-congratulating, mainly white kings and queens of buzzwords, synergy, entrepreneurship and Ideas! with a capital "I" and exclamation mark, for good measure. Let's say you're the kind of people who yammer on about edginess, and paradigm shifts and ____ being the new _____, but mainly you just want people to tell you how awesome you are by handing over big-time contracts and dollars.
Apparently at TED2010 (basically, Conference for Wankers Who Wipe Their Asses With Cash--And Those Who Aspire To Be Said Wankers), being a forward-thinking, Ideas! person is not consistent with knowing one's ass from a hole in the ground, which explains the confusion over Silverman's blue content. (She got a standing ovation, for the record.)
Brace yourselves: David Letterman has hired a woman to write for his show. It's all downhill from here, folks--there's gonna be nothing but period jokes, shoes and yogurt on Letterman from now on. Opening monologue? More like vagina monologue, am I right you guys?
Jill Goodwin was a writer's assistant, but now she'll be presumably having a writer's assistant of her own--as the sole lady writer in late night television today. I'm pumped for Goodwin, and glad to see even this tiny drop in the late night bucket. But I'll reiterate what I said a few weeks ago: women will remain a minority in writers' rooms unless more women start doing comedy. So do comedy, you guys.
Which is also why I'm hoping to inspire funny women with a series of leading-by-example posts featuring women who write and perform comedy. Last week it was Morgan Murphy, a writer for Jimmy Fallon, and this week, I'd like to give big-ups to Megan Ganz, a former Onion writer, stand-up comic and present writer for Important Things With Demetri Martin. I met Ganz last summer while researching my thesis (it's on lady comics, y'all) and she's brilliant. Behold: