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!