The Secret to Being a Successful Woman in Comedy

kay cannonThis piece from the Huffington Post discusses a recent interview for Bitch magazine with Kay Cannon, writer of “New Girl” and “Pitch Perfect” .

A snip from the interview:

In the male-dominated field of comedy, women like Amy Poehler, Tina Fey, Mindy Kahling and you are taking over the comedy TV landscape. Why do you think this shift happened?

I don’t know if the numbers yet signify a real shift, but I do think that Poehler and Fey (as well as a slew of other ridiculously funny and talented ladies who write and perform) found ways in which to showcase their skills where you either forgot or didn’t care what their gender was.  They’re just funny.  End of story.  And I would imagine that they don’t sit around thinking about how exciting it is that, as women, they’re “hanging with the boys.”  It is by their example that a whole generation of women have been given greater opportunities that for whatever reason didn’t exist.

What are your thoughts to this reaction?  Is it possible to be a woman in comedy and disregard gender?  Do you think there has to be a certain level of intentional ignorance in order for women to preserve and be successful in comedy?  How do we encourage women to enter into a field where they are lacking representation, without having to disregard their gender?

I also think it’s interesting that the immediate next question the interviewer asks was “What are some of your favorite comedy films? And who are new comedians you like?”  To which Cannon listed some favorite movies, and then responded:

New comedians?  Not sure how “new” they are, but I’m a big fan of Danny McBride, Tig Notaro, Lauren Lapkus, John Mulaney, Ellie Kemper, Dan Bakkedahl, Key & Peele. There are a lot that I’m forgetting right now ‘cause I just had a baby!

To what extent does this interviewer expect Cannon to balance new comedians and being a mother?  In a way, how much do we as a society expect Cannon to display her Women Comedian role, in spite of being a mother?

What are your thoughts?

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One thought on “The Secret to Being a Successful Woman in Comedy

  1. By all means comedians like Tina Fey and Amy Poehler are recognized as women (as they should be), but in addition to that we are able to recognize their immense talent. Being born a female has not stopped them (and comedians alike) from making their marks in the world of comedy. And that is not to say that they have not faced discrimination in the process. But unfortunately these women are the exception is their male dominated field. The majority of female comedians in the business or trying to make it into the business will never get to that point where there womanhood is secondary to their jokes.

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