July 26, 2011

MAN UP, LADIES:

Tina Fey, Comic Genius: The 30 Rock creator solved comedy's alleged "women problem" by fighting chauvinism with funny. (Elizabeth Weingarten, July 26, 2011, Slate)

With every acerbic episode of 30 Rock, every impromptu one-liner, and every self-deprecating remark, Fey is reshaping the way both genders see female comedians. "There was this myth going around for a while that women couldn't be smart and funny, and she has completely exploded that myth," says Time magazine editor-at-large Belinda Luscombe, explaining how Tina landed a spot in the magazine's 100 most influential people list. Tina has "opened the door for dozens and dozens of other funny women to step forward."

Fey became the third woman to receive the prestigious Mark Twain Prize for American Humor in 2010 (the prize has existed for 12 years), and was the first female head writer on Saturday Night Live.

That job wasn't so impressive, Fey insisted at an April Bossypants signing in Washington, D.C. "Before me, there were only three [other] head writers," she explained. "It's not like being the first woman president."

But that's precisely the attitude that has propelled Fey into the spotlight. In a world where feminists are often caricatured as strident fanatics, she's refreshingly flippant. She transcends the politics of gender in comedy by ridiculing them: What's the difference between female and male comedy writers? "The men urinate in cups. And sometimes jars," she writes in Bossypants.

She impugns the male tendency to pigeonhole female performers, again with comedy. This time, it's a story about Amy Poehler's early days at Saturday Night Live. Poehler did something lewd at a meeting, which prompted Jimmy Fallon to exclaim: "Stop that! It's not cute! I don't like it."

As Fey tells it, Poehler then spun around, vehemently responding: "I don't f[***]ing care if you like it."

From this exchange, Fey draws a salient lesson for all women: "Do your thing and don't care if they like it."


Actually, she means "Do their thing." 30 Rock is so funny precisely because it is male. And it gets away with its unPC comedy because it is perceived as female.


Posted by at July 26, 2011 7:40 AM
  

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