Women can have the last laugh

“You’re very funny for a girl.” If I had a euro for every time I’ve heard that phrase I’d have enough money to afford a sex change in order to be accepted as humorous.

The female presence in comedy was barely felt until recent years, with the emergence of comediennes such as Ellen DeGeneres , Tina Fey and Kristin Wiig. I think the absence of women from comedy is because of the risk involved in pursuing this as a career and the stigma that it isn’t a woman’s job. Cue “back to the kitchen” jokes.

Successful comediennes seem to have gained popularity by taking a satirical look at the everyday life of women. We endure such turmoil that we are supplied with endless comic material. Surely pushing a human being out of your fanoodle gives you permission to laugh at the unpleasant things in life?

While Betty White and Joan Rivers made their mark on the comedy industry many moons ago, it is only in the last decade that the girls are making a significant impact and changing the dynamics of comedy, both in stand-up and on film.

Like every other field of employment, women are gradually climbing to the top of the popularity charts, with their self-penned scripts in one hand and wads of cash in the other.

Tina Fey is the poster girl for the achievability of female success in comedy. She didn’t regurgitate gags written for her by men, she hasn’t used her sexuality to gain attention, she wasn’t handed a magical cake which, when eaten, makes you a world-wide comedy smash. She’s just funny and the world appreciates her for it.

From her skits on ‘Saturday Night Live’ to the generation immortalising ‘Mean Girls’, to her hugely popular series, ’30 Rock’, Fey has more than proved her worthiness as a comedienne. She has inspired comediennes all over the world to up their game. It’s no longer good enough to just be funny on a television show. Women are now writing their own story lines, directing entire casts, producing and acting in hit programs.

For years, stand-up comediennes had a particular attitude towards comedy: they were crass, self-depreciating, overly feminist and just tended to be whinge-bags. Today, women are freer in their approach to comedy. We see people like Lena Dunham and Rebel Wilson cracking the fame game, as a result of just being naturally funny and not attempting to overcompensate te fact that they are women.

Lena has been internationally recognised for writing and starring in ‘Girls’, while Rebel has been warming our hearts with her quirky take on life and her tangible love of comedy since her US debut in ‘Bridesmaids’.

The future is proving to be bright for funny lassies all over the world, we are so much more than just a fanoodle.

Eve Kerton

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