Friday, April 12, 2013

Classic RITS- Mary's Musings: Ladies in Comedy/Take That, Horatio Sanz

Hey dudes! I've decided to "recycle" (or wait, let's call it "upcycle"; nothing obnoxious about that word) some classic Rip it To Shreds posts. I enjoy rereading them from time to time, and perhaps you will too! Now, a post about Comedy from 2008.

I started to read this Vanity Fair profile of Tina "The New American Sweetheart" Fey, and like three-quarters of the way through it, I realized it was entirely, entirely about the way she looks. She used to be 150 pounds! Ohmygod, so fat! And by "fat', we mean normal but of course that's unacceptable and she'll never be on the cover of VF half-nude! That scar! We have to know! But now she wears low-cut tops and Seven jeans and looks "like a really pretty graduate student!" Not old, guys! Kind of hot! She and Sarah Palin are both "hot librarian" types! Guys, she's smart and funny and PRETTY, did you hear? Inititally she was told she wasn't hot enough to be on SNL, haha! Keep in mind that's a show that featured Horatio Sanz! Then she went to Weight Watchers! Steve Martin used to ignore her but hit on her after she lost weight! That's fun and flattering, right? Not gross that an accomplished, talented writer and comedian can only get attention for being hot, right?

(By the way, Rachael Dratch was supposed to play Jane Krakowski's role on 30 Rock, but was nixed for not being hot enough. Also, whatever happened to Cheri Oteri? Also, is Jimmy Fallon really getting a late night talk show? Really? Is he going to start cracking up at his own weak delivery? Maybe bust out the acoustic guitar and forget some lines? Oooh, I hope Horatio Sanz will be involved. Have we heard from him since that movie with Cuba Gooding Jr. where he pretended to be gay on a cruise ship? Snow Dogs?)

At first, I was like, "Obviously a dude wrote this," but of course it was actually Maureen Dowd, who is one of those weird writers like Camille Paglia who are labeled as feminists but have dubious cred and kind of seem to hate women- Dowd, of course, once accused Al Gore of being so feminine (because he cared about the environment!) that he was "practically lactating." And, of course, Vanity Fair is a totally obnoxious, sexist magazine that I have always hated, long before I actually read the editor's letter about women not being funny. Which I did read, and not that many people seemed to concerned about at the time.

It barely needs to be said that funny women are rarely represented in comedy. Mostly they are the sexy girlfriends who roll their eyes at their hilarious manchild of a boyfriend (hey second coming of Seth Rogan's career), or, if they are in a romantic comedy, or tween comedy, they are the sexy but prat-fall prone hapless moppet, someone charmingly clumsy but with perfect hair. And then, the real female comedians are few and far between, and can rarely match the success of their male counterparts. And, of course, if they do, they are constantly subjected to an in-depth examination of their looks and/or massive amounts of airbrushing.

Anyway, I could go on about how I hate Sarah Silverman's ditzy "I am five years old" delivery (hey, even if you're making a "funny" pose, you're still just posing in Maxim in your underwear) or how we are sadly lacking the salty, older-woman comedy stylings of such luminaries as Phyllis Diller (up there in the yellow) and Joan Rivers, but what I'm really, really trying to say is that Amy Sedaris should be more famous, not only because she is hilarious and unique, but because she is one of the few comedians who actually challenges what it means to be a woman in comedy, and does not rely on being cute or airbrushed to make her point. And, unlike other female comedians who still try to hard to entice their male (and female) fans, she actually makes an effort to fearlessly gross people out, which seems to be one of the number one of- limits topics for female comedians, because it shows that you are more than your boobs and/or your potential hotness. At the same time, Amy does not deny that she is a woman and women are funny; she just celebrates ballsy, overlooked female archetypes in a way that distances her own looks from her characters, at the same time illustrating that women can be just as loud, campy, revolting, sexual, and funny as any other comedian.

PS: If you're not familiar with Amy Sedaris, I'd like to recommend both her TV show, Strangers With Candy, and her book, I Like You, which is a take-off on retro household hints types books. Speaking of which, I am obsessed with retro household hints-type books and will be doing a post on them soon!

12 comments:

Jacki Schklar said...

Nice blog. I shall have a link to this from my site.

Gatesca Pantomima said...

i beg for the end of the cute and "funny" girl in comedies! actually i haven't ever encountered such a person in real life.


i'll have to check out amy sedaris...

M said...

Thanks Jacki! I would appreciate that.

I added a "PS" at the bottom for Amry Sedaris stuff to get into.

madam0wl, a.k.a Sandra said...

You might have seen this, looks like it was on BuzzFeed a month ago - a clip of Amy on some crappy looking talk show?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_uZDVjO10Pk

What do you think of Ellen DeGeneres? My mom was just harping on how she went all girly girl lately, doing CoverGirl ads and such.

Simone said...

I agree completely. I remember when I watched Mean Girls with commentary by Tina Fey and others and one of the first things she said was "oh, I was so thin then!" I was floored, because I loved Tina Fey so much at that point. Damn internalized patriarchy, making her think that she's fat!

Also, nice vagina panties on that cover or whatever. Jeez.

M said...

Ellen DeGeneres is in CoverGirl comemrcials now? God, they really love stealing the dykes- first Queen Latifah and not this!

As for Tina Fey, she OBVIOUSLY took her shirt off in that one unecessary scene in Mean Girls to prove how "hot" she was, which was warped. If you look at photos of her when she was "fat," she was not at all fat and looked totally average, too.

M said...

Still, I support Tina Fey! I'm glad she's so successful right now, even though the message of Mean Girls was pretty anti-feminist.

M said...

to reply again (hopefully with less spelling errors) to madame0wl...i actually saw that clip when it aired. i kind of like watching that show, (chelsea lately), because she can be brutal to the guests she's interviewing (though the roundtable discussions are powerfully lame and the jokes are NEVER funny and i'm like, "i should be on this show instead of these fools") which is a nice change from the typical ass-kissing late night interview. and it was cool when amy went on, because they seemed to have mutual respect for each other as female comedians.

but, yeah, chelsea lately. i also feel that she's been really feminized and looks awkward with her bleach blonde hair and pink tank tops and stuff.

Simone said...

I also support Tina Fey. I finally started watching 30 rock a few weeks ago, and it is actually totally funny. I just wish that she was a little more overtly feminist. Like Amy Pohler. Write about her!

Em said...

So I just read this today: http://www.thedailybeast.com/blogs-and-stories/2008-12-27/the-thinking-mans-sex-symbols

As I was searching for another post from this blog to link to, I stumbled on this one which related directly to the above gallery link.

M said...

i can't say i really "got" that article. was that the bulk of the text or was there more somewhere else? it seemed like there needed to be more explanation. though, whatever, that guy was clearly a huge tool. way to pat yourself on the back for "not" being an asshole, oblivious to the fact that it just makes you more of one!

Em said...

Yeah, that is all there is. The little intro and the photo gallery, which has text for each TMSS (Thinking Man's Sex Symbol). But how little "thinking" it took for him to put together that crap list shows how so many "smart" men (and women) are ill-equipped to give women props for what they do without bringing backhanded objectification into the mix. Or doing the opposite, which is slamming them for being dowdy, mannish, or a battle axe a la Susan Boyle, Janet Reno or Hillary Clinton.