2011: Year of the Funny Woman
You’d be hard pressed to find a funnier moment on the current season of Saturday Night Live than when Melissa McCarthy practically drowned herself (and her perm) in ranch dressing. This was only a month after she won the Emmy for Lead Actress in a Comedy Series for her role in Mike and Molly.
Now if the name “Melissa McCarthy” doesn’t quite ring a bell for you, perhaps the outrageously funny “Megan” in the award winning movie Bridesmaids refreshes you. You know, the puppy-loving, scandalous extrovert who plays opposite Kristen Wiig and Maya Ruldoph? The sink scene? Yeah. That girl.
Now nominated for an Oscar for Best Actress in a Supporting Role, McCarthy joins the multitude of other funny ladies on the 2011 pedestal. I’m talking Tina Fey (an oldie but a goodie), Kristen Wiig (that girl that everyone is talking about), Amy Poehler (can’t you just see the rays of sunshine?), Mindy Kaling (wait- who?), and Chelsea Handler (pretty much the female Louis C.K.). Who could ask for a funnier group?
All year long these hilarious women have been delighting us across all boards- literature, movies, TV - and leaving us with sore sides. In April, Tina Fey’s memoir Bossypants hit stores and hit the New York Times Best Seller list, coming in at number one and staying there for five consecutive weeks. Just a month later, Chelsea Handler’s (of E's Chelsea Lately) book Lies that Chelsea Handler Told Me was published and also topped the best seller list.
And then there’s dear, sweet Mindy Kaling. Most of you may know her as the romantic spaz “Kelly” on NBC’s hit show The Office. Just this past November this lesser known actress, playing a minor character on a show she co-produces, put out a book. Turns out (like those funny women before her) - she can write too. An example?
“I don’t remember a time when I wasn’t chubby… My mom’s a doctor, but because
she came from India and then Africa, where childhood obesity was not a problem,
she put no premium on having skinny kids. In fact, she and my dad didn’t mind having a chubby daughter. Part of me wonders if it even made them feel a little prosperous, like 'Have you seen our overweight Indian child? Do you know how statistically rare this is?'” (Mindy Kaling, Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?(And Other Concerns), 2011)
Who knew that little rarity was going to turn out to be so funny?
Apparently NBC did, because they’ve got Fey, Poehler, Kaling, and Wiig all on their payroll. Sit through an hour and a half of the network’s Thursday night lineup and you’re guaranteed to see three of them. Two nights after that, just sit through the first five minutes of Saturday Night Live and you stand a good chance of seeing Kristin Wiig. Not to mention, all four of them are the complete deal. Tina created, writes for, and stars in her own Emmy winning show, 30 Rock. Poehler’s currently winning hearts (and Emmy nominations) for her portrayal of Leslie Knope, a government employee currently running for City Council, on her own show Parks and Recreation. Mindy writes, acts, and produces on The Office, and Kristen Wiig, who is currently in her 7th year on SNL, writes and acts as well (you know, apart from her award winning film career).
The point is these women made the year a better one. From androgynous little Indian girls to TV’s worst political campaign (no, not the Republicans), these women have proven that they don’t really care who thinks they’re funny or not; they’re simply going to be.