The Rise & Rise Of Women In Comedy

Move over men, you no longer rule comedy. The reign of female comics has been moving up over the past several decades. It may have all started when Lucille Ball stomped on grapes or stuffed her shirt with chocolates with gal-pal Ethel in the 1950s on I Love Lucy, or perhaps it was the teen obsession with Mean Girls in the early 2000s. We also can’t forget the reigning queens of Saturday Night Live, Bridesmaids, and Girls who have not only redefined a modern woman’s role in comedy, but often outshone their male counterparts in the process.

Female comedy has been a long evolution and is constantly pushing society’s expectations of female conduct – a push that is responsible for the hysterical talent standing upon the summit of female comedy, box office and DVD & Blu-ray sales today! Here is how laughter’s leading ladies and the risks they have taken helped female comedy evolve over the decades.

LUCILLE BALL AND I LOVE LUCY

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Before women starred in movies, Lucille Ball starred in her own TV show. I Love Lucy – a worldwide favourite to this very day – was based on the married life and absurd daily adventures of Lucy and her husband “Ricky” Ricardo. The real laughs though came when Lucy and her best friend Ethel found themselves in ridiculous situations in nearly every episode. These leading ladies were not only scene stealers, but the physical humour and risk they brought to the screen created a foundation for future female comedy.

BETTY WHITE AND GOLDEN GIRLS

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The laughs Betty White creates have stood the test of time. The 90-year-old starred in the famous sitcom Golden Girls – one of the first comedies completely based on the hilarious daily lives of women. She has been tickling the world’s funny bone since the late ‘30s and still graces films, TV shows and commercials with her shocking humour. Betty doesn’t know boundaries. In 2010 White became not only the oldest woman, but the oldest person to host Saturday Night Live – solidifying her place as a comedic icon.

THE LEADING LADIES OF MEAN GIRLS

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This one was a game changer. Somehow this risqué comedy based on the animalistic hierarchy of high school and the social wrath of one group of girls continues to make audiences of all ages and genders laugh. Mean Girls also marks one of the first films to put Saturday Night Live’s leading ladies on the big screen – Tina Fey (& her stunning work in 30 Rock!) and Amy Poehler. Thank SNL creator Lorne Michaels for that one – he produced the film!

KRISTEN WIIG AND BRIDESMAIDS

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Bridesmaids officially levelled the playing field between the men and women of comedy. The hilarious and buzz-worthy film starred Hollywood’s funniest actresses and female comedians. These ladies aren’t afraid to push the limits. SNL queen Kristen Wiig co-wrote film starring Maya Rudolph, Melissa McCarthy and more. Women can officially be as raunchy as men and get a Golden Globe nomination for it. This film has marked the transition of female comedy to a land of no limits.

LENA DUNHAM IN GIRLS

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Lena Dunham is the writer, director, producer and lead star wildly successful comedy GIRLS! Her show follows the lives of four 20-something women living in Brooklyn, New York. Life and love is a struggle and they battle with the trials and tribulations of being financially independent and sexually adventurous. Fearlessly honest, proves that nice girls can win and has been dubbed the ‘Voice of our Generation’, Lena abandons all personal boundaries, and leaves fear of humiliation at the door! Dunham is currently filming Season 3 of GIRLS, has picked up various awards, and was recently named one of Time’s 100 Most Influential People of 2013 which makes her at the top of her game!

JULIA LOUIS-DREYFUS IN VEEP

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Most remember Julia Louis-Dreyfus as Elaine Benes in hit 90s sitcom Seinfeld or in Curb Your Enthusiasm, but now Julia returns as leading lady in her recent Emmy® award-winning turn as Vice President Selina Meyer in VEEP which is an up close and politically (in)correct look at the daily successes and disappointments of being second in command. Looks like Julia is back on top form and continues to revolutionize women in comedy!

VEEP: THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON IS RELEASED ON BLU-RAY, DVD & Digital Download 3rd JUNE,
COURTESY OF HBO ENTERTAINMENT

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Dan loves writing, film, music and photography. Originally from Devon, he's now found in London with a growing obsession with squirrels and cake. The latter being more of a hobby. Favourite movies include HIGH FIDELITY, ALMOST FAMOUS, GOOD WILL HUNTING, JURASSIC PARK, too many Steve Martin films and Nolan's BATMAN universe. He can also be found on www.twitter.com/danbullock

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