5 Underappreciated Funny Ladies

Weve come a long way since Vitameatavegamin. Thank God.

We've come a long way since Vitameatavegamin. Thank God.

Aging asshole and increasingly irrelevant journalist Christopher Hitchens famously posited in the January ’07 issue of Vanity Fair that women just aren’t funny because, instead, they are pretty and so they don’t need to be funny and so that’s why no women are funny.

His game here is that he even has Nora Ephron and Fran Lebowitz–two menswear enthusiastic, witty ladies who know their way around a deadpan remark–to back his bullshit up.  Well Mr. Hitchens, all I can think to say is that if I  am ever unfortunate enough to suffer a profoundly unpleasant bout of digestive turbulence, rest assured that your doorstep will be my very first stop. Suck a dick, dude.

There are lots of woman actors and comedians who do get respect these days; Tina Fey, for one, has made it okay to be the nerdy funny girl, Chelsea Handler’s wise-ass remarks and wry delivery make her unique among female talk show hosts and even Sarah Silverman (who, in my opinion, has worn out her welcome and kinda needs to find a new shtick) have changed the way that women are viewed as conduits of hilarity. Sometimes though, a lady is awesome and hilarious but doesn’t really get the love that she deserves.  Without further ado here are 5 severely under appreciated women in comedy .

Goldie Hawn

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Yes, she was a giggling flower child on Laugh-In, but Goldie actually has some pretty serious comic timing, as displayed in movies like Private Benjamin and one of my all-time favorites, Overboard, where she stars opposite live-in lovahhh Kurt Russell.  If you haven’t already seen it, do yourself a favor and rent the greatest movie in the history of the world.

Jane Lynch

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Yes, she’s getting some attention now for Glee, but you know what? I haven’t seen that show and I don’t intend to.  I had intended to for a while and then I read Sadie Stein’s piece on Jezebel about it and deduced that I would probably feel the exact same way. [Ed Note: since then, I have also read Emily Nussbaum's defense of the show and as a lover of Popular and Ugly Betty, I think I might see her point of view, too!  Okay, now I actually have to watch the show.] From the very first time I saw her in Best In Show, Jane Lynch’s hypersexual weird old lady captured my corazon. Recently I watched the entire STARZ series Party Down which is hilarious, and uses Lynch in the absolute best way; she steals the show. If you haven’t checked it out, do it now, if you want to be cool.

Julia Louis-Dreyfus

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Where do I begin?  Elaine Benes was the very first television female who was actually a fully formed individual. Larry David, god that he is, allowed Elaine to be much more than just the straight female counterpart to some wacky guy she married (see Everybody Loves Raymond, King of Queens, Mad About You, virtually every domestic TV show ever created).  Elaine was as every bit as obnoxious, demanding, smart, whiny, horny, manipulative and brilliant as her male costars.  Her gender wasn’t ignored, but neither was it pandered to; she hated The English Patient, didn’t want to have a baby, and a chance sighting of JFK Jr. caused her to forfeit her contestantcy in a masturbation contest. My kinda layy-dayyy.  She was popular sure, but never quite got the heaps of adulation she so richly deserved for making that role so brilliantly unforgettable.  I don’t watch her new show but my mom says it’s good.  But she also thinks CSI: Miami is A Really Good Show, so who knows.

Judy Greer

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Can someone please write this woman a decent role? I mean someone other than the writers of Arrested Development, because they already did.  The other day I was flipping through cable and came upon celluloid waste 27 Dresses and was saddened to see Judy Greer playing Katherine Heigl’s less-attractive sidekick in a movie whose script doesn’t deserve to line the floor of her parrot’s birdcage, if indeed she has a parrot. Judy Greer as Kitty was absolutely fucking marvelous and it breaks my heart to see her cast, once again, as the quirky friend to the beige expanse that is Jennifer Aniston in this latest and most half-assedly named rom-com nightmare, Love Happens. Sigh. This is the woman who changed the way we looked at flashing our bosses.  Here’s hoping 2010 does you right, Judy.

So….as it turns out, I couldn’t decide on a 5th.  I was thinking about Alia Shawkat and Portia di Rossi also from Arrested Development, whom Anna wrote about, but I didn’t want to get too heavy into that series.  I also considered Jane Krakowski from 30 Rock, but…eh…it just didn’t feel right. So who should it be? Megan Fox? Just kidding!

I can’t solve this mystery, can you?

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About the author

Ashley Friedman - Cornerstore Correspondent

Like most kids, Ashley grew up in New Jersey. Unlike most kids the Friedman's televison set acted as a third parent, imbuing young Ashley with the stern moral values of Claire Huxtable, the dramatic tendencies of Brenda Walsh and the earnest hopefulness of the blond kid on Silver Spoons. After graduating from Sarah Lawrence Ashley made her way to the Park Slope area of Brooklyn where she can currently be found reading foreign fashion magazines, scouring ebay for vintage heels, eating out in restaurants and otherwise stretching her meager income as far as it will go in NYC.
  • Anna G

    Fuck Jane Krakowski. Amy Sedaris por vida!

  • Ryan Miller- Depleted Resource Analyst

    I don’t wanna sound like an ultrafag, but Estelle Geddy was one of the raunchiest bitches to date.

  • http://www.whateverishly.com Ashley Friedman – Cornerstore Correspondent

    oooh totally. I was gonna say Amy Sedaris, but I feel like she does get a lot o’ love from the media.

    Estelle Getty, on the other hand, is the patron saint of Funny Women.

  • jesse james

    There’s something interesting about not being able to come up with five funny women in hollywood in an article that’s meant to illustrate how women comediennes are totally under appreciated. I mean, if you can’t come up with five…..? Also, when did it become cool to hate on Lucille Ball?

  • http://www.whateverishly.com Ashley Friedman – Cornerstore Correspondent

    Oh, jesse….well, if you read the post I don’t say that I couldn’t come up with a 5th, but that I couldn’t decide on one and wanted to see what others thought. There’s a pretty significant difference.

    Not that I’ve ever been that concnered with whats “cool” but I certainly wasn’t”hating on” Lucille Ball at all. I was attempting to point out that it’s nice that today, more comedic opportunities exist for women other than the hapless-silly-woman/physical slapstick comedy that was her style. If I didn’t express that correctly, I apologize. I do Love Lucy!

  • Julia

    AMY POEHLER and Kristin Wiig, although they are not as unappreciated as Jane Lynch by any means.

  • jesse james

    oh, I READ the article. I just didn’t UNDERSTAND it. I’m flirting with autism, lady, and I don’t need no sass! ;0)

  • http://www.whateverishly.com Ashley Friedman – Cornerstore Correspondent

    Maybe youre right though, that not firmly deciding on a 5th makes me seem unconvincing. Ok well you know what? I’ve decided that #5 is: Judith Light! Her Minelli-like comeback as Claire Mead in Ugly Betty is nothing short of majestic.

  • Mary

    There are a lot of funny women in stand-up comedy, that I’m guessing most people have never heard of:
    Kristen Schaal, Maria Bamford, Natasha Leggero, Jen Kirkman, Tig Notaro, Ali Wong, the list goes on…

  • AnnaG

    Oh shit, Kristen Schaal!!

    Also Ashley, Party Down is my new fave show.

  • http://www.whateverishly.com Ashley Friedman – Cornerstore Correspondent

    dude, i know. speaking of which, how hot did Janis from Mean Girls get? Am I right or am I right?

  • http://brokeassstuart.com Broke-Ass Stuart – Editor In Cheap

    What’s funny is that I actually know Lizzy (Janis from Mean Girls). She and I had major crushed on each other at Jewish camp when we were like 14. I’m still in touch with her but haven’t seen her in years.

  • http://www.whateverishly.com Ashley Friedman – Cornerstore Correspondent

    Really? thats awesome. She’s someone I’d like to see get more roles; shes great in Party Down and everything else I’ve seen her in.

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