My Top Female Moments In Comedy (AKA Men Are Not Funny)
Men are not funny. This is obviously a blanket statement and doesn't apply to all men (this is not an endorsement of #NotAllMen). Steve Carrell and Rainn Wilson's performances on The Office are incredibly well crafted, as equally subtle as they are outlandish, and either Colin Jost, Michael Che, or Seth Meyers could Update my Weak-End anytime they wanted. But still, men as an overall group just don't do it for me (in terms of comedy, see Weak-End bit for more information on what men can do for me). I guess I should say that objectively-ish, I do not find men funny.
This is not me trying to make an argument about why women are funny. That conversation is outdated and at this point it's just as insulting to even participate in it. However, I do believe that being part of a marginalized group helps make you funny and form a comedic voice. You're forced to view the world as an outsider so your observational skills are automatically strengthened and humor becomes a way to survive.
As a gay man but also a white man I tend to toe the line. I have pretty good observational skills and a sense of humor strengthened by years of emotional defense, but I can also be incredibly tone-deaf to the plights of others due to institutionalized systems that benefit me based on my Wonder-Bread appearance. However, I owe whatever minimal comedic voice or skills I have to the women in comedy that I have grown up watching. The ones who cause me to have side-splitting, unable-to-breath, seizure-like symptoms, which are the true signs of good comedy.
Now I'm not gonna pretend like my tastes are anything less than mainstream, because they are, but I stand by these choices. Also theres nothing wrong with things that are mainstream, can we all just calm down!!! Britney Spears has never been anything but mainstream and she saved all of music!!!
So here are what I consider my Top Female Moments In Comedy (as of right now) in no specific order.
All of Kate McKinnon as Hillary Clinton on SNL
Correction, no specific order except Kate McKinnon is first because 1. She should be first for everything ever and 2. she is the most recent addition to this list. I feel so blessed to be alive during the same time as Kate McKinnon. One time I saw her on the street and started having a minority intense anxiety attack because I didn't know what to do with myself. I knew that I wouldn't want a short, bearded man-child approaching me on a fairly empty New York street at 10:00pm but it was freakin Kate McKinnon!!!! (I did not approach her just fyi.) Her Hillary sounds nothing like, looking nothing like, and acts nothing like the real person yet somehow is still the most accurate portrayal of Clinton, possibly more accurate than the Hillary android that the government created in the '90s. I feel like we all got to know Hillary Clinton better though Kate McKinnon's interpretation of her. Kate McKinnon just possess this ability to completely inhabit another persona and completely twist is while still honoring the source. Like a monster from the live action Scooby Doo film.
All of Debra Wilson as Oprah on MadTV
The only impression to rival Kate McKinnon's Hillary Clinton is Debra Wilson's Oprah Winfrey. My family didn't upgrade from speed dial until I was in the 7th grade but when we did, Youtube was one of my first discoveries (not the first obviously, porn was first) which led me to MadTV. I would spend hours absorbing everything Debra Wilson did on MadTV but nothing tickled my butthole quite like her Oprah. Where as Kate McKinnon's Hillary just uses the name and the serial-killer passion for the Presidency as a jumping off point, Debra Wilson's impersonation is sometimes so spot on that it's actually terrifying. She's basically Oprah but if Oprah was also a demon sent from Hell to force us to reevaluate our choices. This is Oprah on steroids, which is pretty intense considering that the real Oprah's personality is already pretty yoked up compared to that of the average person's. (I had to google "yoked steroids term" to make sure I was using that correctly and I'm still not sure. Sports.) I would give anything, including my bountiful eyebrows, to have Mckinnon/Clinton and Wilson/Winfrey do a one-off appearance together. Or better yet, a buddy comedy film. In this film Wilson/Winfrey would start acting as McKinnon/Clinton's therapist after the 2016 Election loss. But plot twist, that's just a front and McKinnon/Clinton is actually there to sneakily convince Wilson/Winfrey to run for President in 2020 with McKinnon/Clinton as her running mate. Melissa McCarthy plays all of the male characters. Hilarity ensues. Baldwin/Trump is NOT IN THE FILM BECAUSE IT'S GETTING WORN OUT AND KIND OF IRRITATING. However an appearance in the sequel can be negotiated. NBC, call me.
Phoebe saying "That is brand new information!" on Friends
Friends was a very unpopular and short lasting show that isn't even worth mentioning but is full of iconic moments and Lisa Kudrow's portrayal of Phoebe is probably responsible for about 64% of them, in my not-humble opinion. Truthfully I didn't discover the show until I was a Junior in high school but when I did I became addicted to it, especially Phoebe. Lisa Kudrow created an incredibly layered character to the point that even a five word line shows the different, uneven levels to Phoebe. Her delivery of this line not only exposes her dedication to playing Phoebe but Phoebe's dedication to not letting Ross in on the fact that they already know about Rachel's pregnancy. She's so good in this scene that you almost forget that the worst person ever Ross is there or that Friends is so blatantly sexist and homophobic.
Santana screaming at Rachel in Spanish on after she costs them Nationals on Glee
Glee was a great show that crashed and burned before its characters could even finish puberty, but Naya Rivera's Santana was one of the few constant enjoyable aspects of the show. Therefore there are a lot of quintessential Santana moments, but this one has always stuck out to me. I think its because Santana was a character that generally fought with words. (Because of this she was kind of an idol of mine during high school, which might have been why a lot of people kept their distance from me.) She was the human version of wasabi, burned people a little but didn't actually hurt anyone. But this is Django II: Santana Unchained (I didn't see Django Unchained so that could very well be offensive or nonsensical.) The fact that she's being held back, screaming in a language that clearly no one in the room understands just creates this intense 10 second scene that is jarring but incredible. You gotta love scared white people.
Kaylee on the phone with Monty in Big Fat Liar
I know it's hard to look past Amanda Bynes' "@Drake Murder My Vagina" tweet but if you do, if you just close your eyes and stumble right past it you can see a child star giving the performance of a lifetime. It's possible that my nostalgia is making me over think this but I do consider this a career highlight of Amanda Bynes and still one of the funniest scenes I’ve seen to date. Not all child stars are genuinely talented performers but Amanda Bynes was one of the chosen few and Big Fat Liar proved that. The scene in the limo where she is on the phone with Monty, Paul Giamatti's character's assistant, is comedic gold. Before she was 18 Amanda Bynes had more comedic timing than anyone on a CBS sitcom. She's just so damn weird but in control of that weirdness. It makes sense that in the scene this 15-ish year old girl pulls one over on the very bright assistant because Amanda Bynes just does it all with so much overt confidence. This is the same confidence that led her to pierce her cheeks and wear a blue, Nicki Minaj-esque wig!! Point made.
When Erin from The Office serves boiled Gatorade
Erin is one of my favorite characters from The Office. Apparently this is a very controversial opinion. I didn't watch the show until after it aired so when I told my friends who were big fans of the show (Is there a name for this fanbase? Mifflin-Ites? Michael's Kids? The Office Orgy?) about how much I loved her, I either got extremely positive responses or extremely negative responses. Like I-just-insulted-a-straight-white-guys-favorite-sports-team level of violently negative. But I stand by my opinion. I think the writing for Erin is great and only improved upon by Ellie Kemper's performance. There's just such an innocence to her daffiness, like serving her new employer boiled gatorade instead of tea. It's so casually thrown out and the scene ends right after she says it. It's a perfect example of how simple Erin is. She means no harm by it, in fact she probably genuinely thought she was being helpful or that boiled Gatorade would be just as satisfactory if not better than tea. And she was probably right, tea is gross.
Hester screaming "There's the door bitch!" on Scream Queens
So yea, I have a tendency to really like quirky, off-beat characters with solid one-liners (possibly because I have a short attention span and I'm not great with details). I also really like Lea Michele when she's doing comedy and kind of wish she'd stop trying to be a ~serious~ singer and actress. (I mean shout out to her, follow your dreams and everything, but please do more comedy!!) No one milks a moment quite like her. Just randomly screaming at someone works really well for Lea Michele. I wish that was a skill I possessed, but what works for me is just being ignored the louder I get. (I'm very popular when I'm silent.) Random moments are either hilarious or awkward. This one is both and it works? It could be because Abigail Breslin seems kind of awful and watching anyone scream at her is very cathartic, but Lea Michele makes this such a weirdly hilarious and rememberable moment from a show that came and went quicker than a twelve year old that just discovered masturbation.
Raven and Chelsea in the Liz-Anya Episode of That's So Raven
I personally think it's a crime that after the episode "If I Only Had A Job" aired that "Do you carry a lunch box?" didn't become the tag line for the show. Back before Raven started saying kind of super offensive nonsense and generally just being the worst, her and Anneliese van der Pol were the Lucy and Ethel of the Disney Channel. Just like Amanda Bynes, Raven and Anneliese were performing with the tenacity of seasoned adults before they could even legally drink (meanwhile I've been performing with the same mediocrity since I was The Little Bell That Couldn't Ring in The Little Bell That Couldn't Ring (Tony nom.)) This episode, which has Raven pretending to be a pop star named Liz Anya in an attempt to get her dad's job back, displayed their comedic chops, character voices, and overall dedication to making a genuinely funny show regardless of target demo. So many child actors play over-the-top because that's all they know and it becomes irritating but Raven and Anneliese were good enough actors that when it came time for them to milk over-the-top moments it was well earned and deserved. They really grounded themselves in something truly funny. Also Orlando Brown was there.
Lucy's clown act in the unaired I Love Lucy pilot
The first time I saw I Love Lucy I was in Florida with my family during my 5th grade Spring Break. It was a rainy day so we had gone to the local mall where my dad decided to buy the first season of the show on DVD. My dad has this tendency to force my sisters and I to sit down with him and watch something "classic", with a very low success rate. The first time he ever did this was with Star Wars. He fell asleep about 30 minutes in and the three of us snuck out of the room. However I can say that, without a doubt, when I was forced to watch the first disc with him (which started with the unaired pilot) is the first moment that I truly ever laughed. I mean laughing to the point of it hurting and actually being concerned that I was doing damage to my organs (which I consider to be the best type of laugher. If you don't fear for your life while laughing, whatever it was wasn't funny enough). I was so confused as to what I was feeling and why this was the first time I was feeling it. Looking back I realize it's because this was the first time I had ever seen something genuinely hilarious. It was my first exposure to real comedy. Vitameatavegamin and the Chocolate Factory are considered staples of the show and rightfully so, but Lucy performing as a clown in the pilot is the finest example of a performer throwing themselves into a bit with no hang ups or self-consciousness. There is a gleam in Lucille Ball's eye that only an organized, excited maniac in their truest element ever gets. This plot line was readapted for a later episode but it doesn't compare to the rawness of Lucy's execution in the pilot. Lucille Ball was well known as someone who liked to rehearse and have everything down pat but you would have never known that from watching the pilot. It is electric, it's as spontaneous as it is controlled. I can't even think of something funny to say, I'm in awe just thinking about it. Let's be real, Lucille Ball created comedy. No one had ever laughed before her birth on August 6th, 1911 and that's a scientific fact.
- Jessic/Constance Wu on Fresh Off The Boat making sure Louis told Eddie not to date rape
- Susan joking about Rayna's hair in Spy. Really any joke about Rayna's hair.
- Aubrey Plaza doing anything
- Erin/Ellie Kemper throwing away a disposable camera on The Office without getting the film developed
- Erin/Ellie Kemper and Kelly/Mindy Kaling screaming at Dwight to shut down his doomsday device on The Office
- Pretty much anything Mindy says on The Mindy Project
- Leslie Knope/Amy Poehler on Parks and Recreation losing control during the Model U.N. Meeting
- The way Jenna Maroney/Jane Krakowski says "Camera" on 30 Rock
- Liz Lemon/Tina Fey imagining herself as the world's worst hooker on 30 Rock, and basically Liz's entire dislike of sex
- Loni Love's stand up
- Any interview Kristin Wiig has done on Jimmy Fallon
- Tracee Ellis Ross on Black-ish
- Yzma/Eartha Kitt wanting to smash Kuzko with a hammer in The Emperor's New Groove
- Rebel Wilson's performance as Fat Amy in the Pitch Perfect films.
- My college Theatre History professor
- Chelsea Handler's books
- Grace Helbig and Marie Hart's youtube channels