It’s a tale as old as…well, the modern action movie. Boy meets girl, boy and girl kick some ass together, boy delivers snarky line that elicits an audience laugh, girl stares at boy like he just announced that maybe the bad guys were right all along.
The new Melissa McCarthy movie has already been panned far and wide: There's a no-star review from the Washington Post ("a misbegotten movie that starts badly and ends worse"), a scathing assessment in Time ("In film schools of the future, professors will teach Tammy as an object lesson in Making Everything Go Wrong"), and a highbrow takedown from the New Yorker ("though I’m honor-bound to report that Tammy is not a very funny comedy, it’s worth adding that, in substance, it’s hardly a comedy at all"), among others.
On this show, we talk with two whip-smart political comedians. Hari Kondabolu says he's a "killjoy who happens to do comedy." We talk with Hari about his immensely popular standup routine, which focuses on jokes about race and inequality, then catch up with Erin Gibson, the host of gays-and-ladies-focused podcast Throwing Shade.
Broad City started out as a web series created by and starring real-life pals and very funny ladies Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer as two twentysomething friends dealing with life, love, and all the daily bullshit of New York City. Last month, the show made the jump to Comedy Central, debuting as a half-hour scripted series. While there are several popular shows out right now about oh-so-spunky, creative young women making their way in the pee-strewn street of NYC, Broad City feels both unique and funnier than all the rest.
Nerds are the kings of our culture these days—but what is a nerd, exactly, and who gets to call themselves one? This show digs into gender, race, and nerdery with an organizer of GeekGirlCon, comedy nerd Phoebe Robinson, music nerd turned Yale lecturer Allyson McCabe, and (of course!) a rigorous discussion of feminism in Star Trek with two hardcore Trekkies. Listen in!
Well, gang, there's some good news and some bad news. The good news is that feminist comedians and feminist critiques of comedy have been all over the news lately! Woo! Yay!
The bad news is that this is, in large part, because there are a bunch of people who think that they have a constitutionally enshrined right to tell rape jokes and then never have to hear any criticism about them. Boo! Blerg!
There have been a lot of great recent critiques of this sadly evergreeen controversy (you can find some here, here, here and here) and also some awesome round-ups of rape jokes that don't undermine or disempower assault survivors (some examples can be found here, here, and here).
But while challenging rape jokes specifically is an important way to show that comedy belongs to everyone, we can also draw attention to comedians who tell jokes that embrace women's lives and experiences--rather than reducing them to blank canvasses for punchlines--showcasing the fact that comedy embraces women far more often than it acts shitty and hostile to us.
For the first time, many of the biggest, mainstream names in comedy are women. From titans like Tina Fey and Amy Poehler to rising stars like Mindy Kaling and Kristen Schaal, funny women are headlining the biggest summer comedies, starring in top network sitcoms, and—judging by the gigantic line of people I saw waiting outside a recent Kristen Wiig-hosted episode of "Saturday Night Live'—inspiring a Beatlemania-level of devotion in their fans.
Despite all of this, comedy often still has as a reputation as a "boy's club" where women are just not taken seriously.
How do female comedians make space for themselves in the comedy world? For an increasing number of comedians, the answer has been to form women-only comedy classes, troupes, and shows.