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The Comedy Girls Club

The Comedy Girls Club

Heavy weight veterans like Carol Burnett, Roseanne, Margaret Cho, and Julia Louis-Dreyfus all weigh in on what it’s like to be a lady in the boys world of stand up comedy. An inside look from pioneers Joan Rivers, Carol Burnett, and Phyllis Diller right up to the torch recipients of tomorrow, Kristen Wiig of SNL and Flight of The Conchord’s Kristen Schaal. 

We all know comedy is traditionally a real boys club.

But Marie Claire got together an impressive group of comedian’s to examine the collective history of the Funny Girls- from Joan Rivers, Carol Burnett, and Phyllis Diller right up to the torch recipients of tomorrow, Kristen Wiigof SNL and Flight of The Conchord’s Kristen Schaal. Heavy weight veterans fromCarol Burnett, Roseanne, Margeret Cho, to Julia Louis-Dreyfus all weigh in on what it’s like to be a lady in the boys world of stand up comedy.

Below are just a few of the nuggets unearthed in the ladies frank discussion on the struggles from clubs to television and how far we’ve come.

LISA KUDROW : I once had an agent who said, "We don’t know what to do with you. You’re not gorgeous, so you don’t really fit in anywhere." Because those were the only roles for women. 

CHO: When I was younger, I was really fat. And that was good, because then you just automatically get some kind of weird authority. By the time I got to Hollywood, I was so much thinner — but not by TV standards. So I was like, "What do you mean, I’m still fat?" That’s when I had a lot of hard times.

SANDRA BERNHARD : I just didn’t want to do self-deprecating humor. I was kind of, like, from the post-feminist era where you were supposed to feel good about yourself as a woman. 

GRIFFIN: Chelsea Handler is hot, but when I watch her show, what do I care that she’s a hot blonde? I just think she’s funny. Do I think it helps Tina Fey that she’s good-looking? Of course it does. But man, she just worked the system in a way that she was able to let her actual material come through, more than the fact that she’s a supercute brunette. 

CHO: The boys were always super supportive of each other. And the girls didn’t really have that until Janeane Garofalo came to L.A. She was like this punk-rock girl. She had really black hair and only wore red lipstick. She sort of lifted the veil of what comedy was about. I used to think, Oh, you’ve got to think up all these jokes. She’s like, "No, they just want to see you. They want to know what you’re thinking."

GAROFALO: Unfortunately, what tends to get made are the Bride Wars movies. Even though there might be 50 scripts written by women, the one that’s written about a wedding that you can put Kate Hudson in will get made. 

MICHAELA WATKINS (SNL): What Amy and Tina did is outstanding. Because they were on SNL, they brought it to the public, in their living rooms. There is a spotlight on Tina and Amy — it’s like, "Oh, well, would you look at that, women are funny." It’s like, "Yeah, duh."

For the entire article, click here to visit Marie Claire.

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Lily Shavick