Wednesday, April 17, 2013

We Killed: The Rise of Women in American Comedy

Hardcover: 336 pages
Publisher: Sarah Crichton Books (October 16, 2012)

 Women are funny so please stop trying to argue that they are not.  If you look at the past several years on both the small and big screen and still argue that they aren't funny, well I don't know what to say.

The tone of Yael Kohen's book is similar to that of Live from New York in that it is a oral history that focuses on the rise of women in American comedy.

The early days started with Phyllis Diller and Joan Rivers performing in clubs while Elaine May was making her way to stardom with Mike Nichols.

Mary Tyler Moore and Carol Burnett had sitcoms that still live on today.  Moore's sitcom is the predecessor, in various ways, to Tina Fey's 30 Rock.

Then there was Elayne Boosler in the 1970s.  She refused to be treated as a feminist.  She paved the way for female comics with her observational act.

In the 1980s, there was a standup comedy boom.  This led to Roseanne and Ellen getting their eventual sitcoms.  Unfortunately, several clubs still limited their bills to the maximum of one woman a night.  A shame.

It was the 1990s that changed things, and maybe for the better when Janeane Garofalo helped start the alternative comedy movement.  Soon, Margaret Cho would be involved.

The late 90s and 2000s were a boom for women in comedy, especially for SNL.  I don't even have to list the names as we all know them.  Molly Shannon, Cheri Oteri, Ana Gastayer, Tina Fey, Rachel Dratch, Amy Poehler, Maya Rudolph, Kristen Wiig, etc.

The Upright Citizens Brigade not only gave us Amy Poehler but their theater in New York has given us rising stars as Aubrey Plaza, Ellie Kemper, and Casey Wilson.

Chelsea Handler is probably the biggest late night female star right now with her show on E! and she has done a tremendous job in hiring female writers.

Female comics can be attractive, as Sarah Silverman is.  Silverman is one of the hottest names out there in comedy and she's also one of the raunchiest, too.

If you appreciate comedy as I do, you will enjoy this book.  I know that I did!

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