By Melissa Silverstein | Women and Hollywood May 12, 2011 at 3:25AM
Here we go again…my phone is ringing because some funny laaaady is getting lots of attention. In this case it’s ladies, and the movie is Bridesmaids. Someone is doing a piece on why this all female comedy is such an ‘anomaly’, and they want a female comic’s perspective. They always call me, they even called me when Nancy Pelosi became speaker of the house, to which I had to remind them, wasn’t a joke. Don’t get me wrong I am flattered that they still have me on the short list to call but the questions get really old.
“Why so few female comedians?” that’s how it always starts. And I dread this question not because it’s a dumb question, which it is, but because when I answer it honestly: “well, there are plenty, you just don’t see them” I end up sounding defensive. Over the years I’ve tried using other personalities to answer the question less defensively.
I’ve been Joan Holloway from Mad Men with pursed lips, dangling an imaginary cigarette explaining Comedy Central’s programming, “Because women don’t buy Axe Body Spray, Mountain Dew or Girls Gone Wild videos, boys do and they in case you haven’t noticed, those are our customers.” When discussing someone’s comedy special I once turned into Mama Rose from the musical Gypsy and said “Butts in seats baby, that’s all it is, smart and funny gals don’t sell tickets. If they want smart and funny they’ll go see a guy. You wanna reel em in? Dirty and shocking? Now that they’ll pay to see a girl do!”
But even with alter egos I still sound defensive. In my new one, I channel Tracy Morgan, so when they ask “why so few female comedians?” I just say “hey don’t look at me, I voted for Hilary!”
The problem is if I have to defend my gender I never get a chance to say anything relevant about the topic that prompted the question in the first place. So here goes, Hooray for Bridesmaids. This is good news. There’s a female comedy movie opening this weekend and it looks really funny. Even better it was written by two women and produced by the top comedy dog. Yay! Let’s go see it right now.
And a really good way to support this venture would be to stop talking about how rare and precious it is. Bridesmaids is a fun summer movie. It is not someone with Down’s syndrome getting a Fulbright scholarship. If we could just treat it like what it is, A-must-see-comedy, it might actually make money! I need it to make money because I need the questions I get to change. I would give up my spanx and my pinkberry to hear… “why so many female comedians?” And oh, how I will luxuriate in my response, “well, because we make money.”
Maybe then, they’ll buy my screenplay because I am running out of characters. Just the other night, to my horror, I became that women you meet at a cocktail party, you know the one with the short hair, no make up, wearing a Hadassah t-shirt ranting about misogynous imagery in the media? And the whole time I know the person talking to me is trying to figure out -- is she a dyke or just a Zionist? SO GO SEE BRIDESMAIDS!
Cory Kahaney is a comedian living in NYC. She has appeared on The Late Show with David Letterman, The Bonnie Hunt Show, The Joy Behar Show, and The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson. Cory appeared in the first season of NBC’s Last Comic Standing and made it to the finale, where host Jay Mohr called her performance "flawless." Other television credits include her stand-up special, Comedy Central Presents, The View, Tough Crowd with Colin Quinn and Politically Incorrect with Bill Maher.