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Women Are Just Not Fundamentally Funny: John Belushi

by Melissa Silverstein
April 13, 2011 2:02 AM
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Since I am traveling I haven't been able to watch the Oprah from yesterday which was a SNL reunion that included Chevy Chase, Jane Curtin, Tracy Morgan, Tina Fey and Dana Carvey.

Jane Curtin seems to have laid it out for the crowd about the old boys network that ruled SNL in the early days. While this past weekend with Helen Mirren was an example of how much work still needs to be done, SNL has had a female head writer (Tina Fey) and the women don't have to (hopefully) deal with the bullshit that pervaded the show in those days as Jane Curtin said.

Curtin talked about how John Belushi (the clear star of the show in the early years) thought that "women were just fundamentally not funny" and that he felt it was "his duty to sabotage women written skits." She also said that if a piece was written by a woman "he wouldn't read it with his full voice, he would whisper it."

Sounds like a real peach.

Jane Curtin on Oprah (h/t Vulture)

And just to remind you how "unfunny" women were in those days here's one of my favorites, Gilda Radner being hilariously unfunny.

Jane Curtin Says John Belushi Was a Total Sexist (Vulture)

Jane Curtin: "SNL Was A Misogynistic Environment" (Jezebel)

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More: Gilda Radner

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  • Fearless Femme | December 30, 2013 1:34 AMReply

    I always found the women of SNL to be "fundamentally" funnier than the dudes, but maybe that's because I'm a woman? We all seek out images of ourselves in entertainers because we like to see ourselves reflected back.

    "Funny" is a totally subjective quality, not unlike "pretty" or "interesting". As a female comedian, I wouldn't care if men think women aren't funny because that's not my target audience anyway. Everything in the world doesn't exist to impress males.

    It's crazy how so many terrible movies Will Ferrell has been allowed to make when his hilarious SNL co-stars Cheri Oteri, Molly Shannon and Ana Gasteyer have barely appeared in anything since leaving the show. Not that Will Ferrell isn't funny, but a whole movie with him as the lead is too much. Ten movies is EXCESSIVE.

  • grrljock | April 18, 2011 8:46 AMReply

    You go Jane! The truth is indeed hard to take for some people.

  • Eileen | April 18, 2011 6:35 AMReply

    Michael, who said any of that on this site?

    If you know anything about SNL, you know that the women were given a hard time by some of the cast members, especially in the early years. The great thing is that Lorne Michaels believed in the people he hired, including the women, and he nurtured the talent of performers and writers of both sexes.

    Still, it would be pretty hard to take a bully like Belushi when he had decided that women just weren't funny.

  • Chris | April 15, 2011 10:43 AMReply

    To all the idiot guys trolling on this it or not Belushi (and Chase for that matter) acted despicably to women on the show and Curtin has every right to be bitter about the conduct of unprofessional coked up douchebags who pretty much helped downplay the roles the ladies had when SNL began.

    Just because THE BLUES BROTHERS and ANIMAL HOUSE reside in my all time comedy movie top 10 doesn't mean I'm going to give John a pass for behaviour that many others have commented on for years.

  • Rebecca | April 15, 2011 2:47 AMReply

    Clearly we are dealing with the ever-insecure male ego. So fragile so weak so clearly unfunny. Men find women unfunny because they are scared of women... Just like some of the poor little boys here that are still waiting for the first date

  • koali | April 14, 2011 11:14 AMReply

    Chevy Chase and Jane Curtin? That's all from '75 and '76. Hey? Dan Aykroid could have been there. Where is Lorraine Newman?

    Chevy and Jane are hardly a representation of SNL the early days. And Jane is bitter period about John. Get over it Jane. It's poor form.

    John Belushi was very funny, they keep most of his stuff - 70's stuff away so the general public won't repeat it. They like their people 'conforming'. (The man, that is) And very well liked. It was a loss when he died. His talent is understated by everyone.

  • koali | April 14, 2011 11:07 AMReply

    It's no secret that Jane Curtin had a bitter 'hard on' (is this the appropriate context?) for John Belushi and try as she might she never won me over. He just knew it got her goat so he did it like that. It was alot better in '75 than ever before!. What is she complaining about - should have gone to my suburban high school -that was tough. Or go try for a real job. Whew!! Sorry Jane - I love John Belushi and don't care if he made you mad. He's not here to speak for himself.

  • KT | April 14, 2011 5:36 AMReply

    John Belushi - fundamentally unfunny, HIGHLY overrated, and a misogynist to boot.

  • Liz L. | April 13, 2011 10:27 AMReply

    Poor mens. So many feminist blogs to troll, so little time.

    But to get back on topic: Thanks for the reminder about Radner's amazing comic gift. Her clips are still made of awesome.

  • Greg K. | April 13, 2011 9:17 AMReply

    Yeah, sexism is all against men: I'm furious that we haven't had a male President yet. When will people realize that a man can do the job just as good as a woman!

  • micheal corrison | April 13, 2011 9:14 AMReply

    so its not ok to say women arent funny, but its fine to say men dont make good parents, all men are rapists, all men are stupid, all men are emotionally unsensitive, etc?

    the sexism is against MEN

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