We live in a world of serious problems: terrorism, poverty, disaster. You don’t have to look far to find sadness. Thankfully, there are a lot of people who provide much-needed distraction and can help us to laugh at what we are going through. That’s why I decided to give notice to one of my favorite topics: women in comedy.
For me, the most hilarious ladies are an easy and popular choice: Tina Fey and Amy Poehler. Move over funny “girl.” These funny women rule. The pair just go for it. They aren’t afraid to get ugly to get a laugh, and their style has transitioned easily to the big screen since leaving Saturday Night Live as two breakout stars.
Thankfully, SNL has never been one to flinch from current or controversial issues and has given female comics their fair share of airtime. Women have been a major part of the cast since the beginning, with several of the original 1975 cast members being female comedians — namely Jane Curtin, Laraine Newman and Gilda Radner.
Lately, it seems the women have stepped further into center stage, with SNL playing up its female cast in recent seasons, especially as Fey and Poehler hosted the Dec. 19 show — where there was a noticeable lack of Y chromosomes in several of the skits and even guest appearances from Amy Schumer and Maya Rudolph.
After that episode, I needed more distraction and laughs from Fey and Poehler, so I went to see the pair’s latest movie, Sisters, hoping their crass and sass was just over-the-top enough to get me through the holidays.
It didn’t disappoint.
Switching their traditional roles, Fey is the wild child and Poehler is the more responsible sister. Their quest to host a party as a throwback to high school — a last hurrah in their childhood home — was the kind of funny that had me choking on my popcorn and wishing I had either of them as my sister. They could definitely teach me a few things, good and bad … and some new combinations of swear words.
That’s what I think I like about Amy Poehler, Tina Fey and similar female comedians. Women like me can see ourselves in them, and they not only give us something to laugh at, but they show us how to laugh at ourselves.
If I look down one day and notice I’m sporting mom jeans, hopefully I will laugh my ass all the way to the mall to rectify the situation. Because I really want to get to where Poehler and Fey are — I want to laugh at myself and some of the world’s troubles that just don’t make sense.
Yet beyond these laughs, these women and others in the industry are involved in some serious business, doing good deeds and exploiting their fame for real philanthropy.
Poehler is helping young girls build confidence through her Smart Girls program. Fey gives away laughs and even her personal crap to make a difference for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Schumer is using her comedy to advocate for gun control. Mindy Kaling donates designer threads for the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network. And Ellen DeGeneres — what doesn’t she give away?
Beyond excelling at stand-up comedy, these women prove they also stand up for what they believe in and care about.
So if you have been looking at me as a feminist, I may just laugh at you. I am learning to get a good joke out of those things that I cannot control. Before you lecture me, I know many of today’s issues are not funny. But simply put, people are.
If we can get to the point where we could laugh at our mistakes, mock them a little and even learn from them, then maybe we can all laugh a little more — and more loudly — together.
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