Amy Poehler, Lea Michele, Jenna Fischer, Teri Hatcher, Kaley Cuoco and Julie Bowen sat down to talk about their experiences as actresses with Hollywood Reporter. The current reigning queens of primetime television comedy spoke about how they’ve dealt with lines that aren’t funny, what they consider to be their big break and what personal infusions they’ve lent to their characters over the years.
What I thought was the most interesting part of the conversation occurs about 33 minutes in, when they women start to talk about male and female writers for the show. Cuoco says that she can tell what lines come from the female writer at The Big Bang Theory where there is only one among the group. Poehler said that about half of the writers on Parks and Rec are female, and firmly asserted that she doesn’t want to talk about it: “I don’t ever want to answer a question about women in comedy again, until I’m sixty and I go on my very lucrative speaking tour…and I talk about women in comedy.”
Bowen added, “If it’s funny I don’t care if it’s a dog in a tutu, or two babies beating each other to death.” Jenna pointed out that she appreciates the way that female writers on the show write for Pam, but that the male writers are great at it too. “I do notice that there is a perspective that women are able to write to for, but comedy-wise I don’t know that there is a difference,” she said.
Julie added, “I joke serious that I play every writer’s wife on the show. They’ll be like ‘no, more shrill, she’s angrier’…if it’s funny it’s funny, but it definitely can be insightful as to other people’s relationships.” Is the question of women in comedy not worth having anymore? I'm not sure. I'm getting a little sick of talking about Bridesmaids. I loved it, it was funny and it's success will likely mean that more lady comedies are made. Hooray! But at the same time I know why we're all talking about it, and it's probably the same reason why people are still asking Amy Poehler questions about women in comedy.
Many of the ladies at the roundtable already boast an Emmy nomination or two. Amy Poehler, from Parks and Recreation, was nominated last year for the show, and claims two earlier nominations for her work on Saturday Night Live. Glee’s Lea Michele was nominated last year and The Office’s Jenna Fischer was in the running for best supporting actress in 2007. The Big Bang Theory’s Kaley Cuoco has no previous nominations and Teri Hatcher had one six years ago for Desperate Housewives. Julie Bowen was nominated just last year for supporting actress for her role as Clare Dunphy on Modern Family. Speaking of Julie, did you realize that she played Adam Sandler’s love interest in Happy Gilmore? As she said at the roundtable, “My hair was so bad back then that it was almost like it was a different actress.”
The quality of talent this year is exciting but that doesn’t stop with the potential nominees. The nominations ceremony is coming up on July 14, and Bridesmaids co-star Melissa McCarthy (she’ll always be Sookie St. James to me) will be hosting the ceremony with Joshua Jackson.
In September the one and only Jane Lynch will host the big event. "I am tickled pink to be hosting the Primetime Emmys on FOX. I'm looking forward to singing, dancing and sporting my finest tracksuit,” Lynch said in a statement. Jane Lynch is only the third woman to host the Emmys solo! Angela Lansbury hosted in 1993 and Ellen DeGeneres in 2005.
Fun fact: the very first Emmy was awarded to a woman. At the first awards show in 1949, 20 year-old ventriloquist Shirley Dinsdale won for Most Outstanding Television Personality.