We’ll Show You Who’s Funny

[This post is courtesy of our gal pal, Marie Claire.]

With Amy Poehler‘s new sitcom, Parks and Recreation,MC premiering this month, and Tina Fey ruling Hollywood from atop a pile of Emmys, funny women are having a moment.  rounds up the pioneers, the visionaries, and the chemically imbalanced to talk about how we got here.

Can a pretty girl be funny?
MARGARET CHO (Lifetime’s upcoming Drop Dead Diva): I remember seeing beautiful girls do stand-up, and it was a disaster every time. Not only were people not gonna listen to you because you’re a woman, if you’re good-looking, people really don’t want to listen to you.

SUSIE ESSMAN (Curb Your Enthusiasm): I’ve had to give some young female comics advice about what they’re wearing. Like, you can’t wear something too provocative — it’s too confusing to the men in the audience. They don’t know if they wanna f**k you or laugh at you.

JOAN RIVERS (comedian): Phyllis Diller used to dress like a fool. Totie Fields was a big fat woman. In the beginning, women comedians were all grotesque in one way or another.

PHYLLIS DILLER (comedian): When I started, I had a broken nose, my teeth were crooked, and I was very skinny. And you know what? It all helped.

ESSMAN: I always wondered if Roseanne would have been accepted by the country, being as strong as she was, if she weren’t fat. Lucy was beautiful. But she played dumb, dumb, dumb.

SUZANNE SOMERS (Three’s Company): [When I was fired from Three’s Company], a producer said to the ABC people, “She’s a blonde. I trained her, I’ll train another one,” like I was some sort of seal … [But] a comedy is musical. It took me two years to understand the rhythm, the beat, the timing, but once I heard the music, oh, my God, I so got it.

Read the rest at Marie Claire.

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