One of my all-time favorite movies is CLUE. I might have lost some of you already, but stick with me to see how I randomly go from CLUE to Feminism. I literally love this movie, a comedic who-done-it, what more could I ask for?? As I was watching it recently, for the millionth time, I realized it was the first time I had watched it after becoming a comedian myself. It was with a new eye that I could appreciate the comedic timing of these brilliant actors. Tim Curry, Christopher Lloyd, Michael McKean & Madeline Khan… and then I started thinking about Madeline Khan and that line in the movie that get’s me every time:
Wadsworth: You *were* jealous that your husband was shtupping Yvette. That's why you killed him, too!
Mrs. White: Yes. Yes, I did it. I killed Yvette. I hated her, so much...[stammers]
Mrs. White: it-it- the f - it -flam - flames. Flames, on the side of my face, breathing-breathl-heaving breaths. Heaving breaths...
Brilliant because come to find out it was improved on the spot, also brilliant because Madeline’s character in Blazing Saddles was Lili Von Shtupp (shtupping, get it?! Love it!).
All this being said, I started to think about my comedic influences throughout my formative years, and how I can easily spit out names of a dozen men: Danny Kaye, Dick Van Dyke, Steve Martin, Bill Cosby, Peter Sellers, Jerry Lewis, Robin Williams, Eddie Murphy… but have to stop to think about the female influences. Why is that?
I guess I consider myself to be a Feminist, I believe in Webster’s definition of the word and want all those things for women, I am a woman, I believe a woman should be president, I love my mommy, so why isn’t my comedy influenced by more women from my youth? Ah but it is come to think of it!
Lucille Ball, Gilda Radner, Carol Burnett & Vicki Lawrence, Carol Channing, The ladies from AB FAB Joanna Lumley & Jennifer Sunders, Whoopi Goldberg, Tracy Ullman, Ellen DeGeneres , Betty White … there ARE so many. So why don’t these names pop into my head first when I’m asked?? Do I need to work on being a better Feminist? Do I subconsciously know that not everyone even knows who some of these ladies are, but not everyone knows the fellas either, why am I programmed like this?? I have no Clue. (see what I did there?) I HATE it when people say stupid things like “There are some women who can be funny.” Uhh duh. We are all living the human experience and have the ability to find the funny.
Look I don’t really know the answer, but I do know that I can only control how I present myself to the world. Feminist or not, women have influenced my comedic perspective from day one.
I haven’t really answered any questions in this blog, and possibly just made things more confusing for myself, needless to say I vow to be more conscious of how I answer such questions in the future …
I salute you Women of Comedy.