Where are the film vehicles for funny females?

Aisha_lNow that testosterone-drenched movie comedies featuring the Judd Apatow gang (Seth Rogen in Knocked Up, Jonah Hill in Superbad) and the Frat Pack (Will Ferrell, Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughn, Luke and Owen Wilson, et al) are ubiquitous, it’s worth asking: where are the comedies built around funny women? (Warning: link contains some NSFW language.) That’s the question posed by this article in SirensMag (an online women’s magazine co-edited by EW’s own Jennifer Armstrong), which lists Wanda Sykes, Amy Sedaris, Amy Poehler, Bonnie Hunt, Judy Greer, and Aisha Tyler (pictured) as women who should be starring in their own movie and TV comedies. I agree on all counts, especially Tyler, who seems to be the most underutilized of the bunch. (Greer, the article acknowledges, actually is getting her own TV vehicle, Miss/Guided, during the coming season.) Poehler does get to shine as one of SNL‘s MVPs, and Sedaris starred in both the TV and film versions of Strangers With Candy (though it’s surely time for her to retire Jerri Blank), but the others are often stuck in second-banana land. I’d add Sarah Silverman and Poehler’s SNL costar Kristin Wiig to the SirensMag list, though at least Silverman got her own series on Comedy Central earlier this year. Which other funny females belong on the list, and what sort of projects would you like to see them take on?

addCredit(“Aisha Tyler: Jean-Paul Aussenard/WireImage.com”)

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  • nycgirllms

    How about Jeanene Grafaolo? I know, I know she did star in “The Truth About Cats & Dogs” but she had to share screen time w/ Uma Thurman. Can’t she star in a romantic comedy where she doesn’t have to fight for the attention of some hunky guy against some tall, leggy supermodely blonde? Why can’t two guys fight over her for a change? I’m just saying. Also, where’s Maya Rudolph? She belongs on that list as much as Amy Poehler. Am I right?

  • Sara

    Hello!? Tina Fey?!

  • janice

    I second that vote for Maya Rudolph, although I completely disagree about Sarah Silverman. Woman is just not funny

  • jon

    Amanda Bynes – she’s young and a very funny actress.

  • Ceballos

    I’d mentioned Aisha Tyler and Judy Greer when Popwatch posed a similar question not that long ago. I LOVE Maya Rudolph and I’ll add Sofia Vergara, Sarah Chalke, Elizabeth Banks and Callie Thorne.

  • GingerCat

    I keep hearing that Aisha Tyler is so funny, but I’ve never seen her in anything except a few episodes in the waning days of “Friends,” and I don’t recall her being that hilarious. Can someone please point me to the TV shows/movies where her comic brilliance is on display? (I’m not trying to be obnoxious here–I really do want to know what I’m missing.)

  • Delon

    Aisha Tyler used to host the dating show The 5th Wheel. She’d usually utter condescending snarks about the contestants. Nothing funny really. She is beautiful and she is supposedly smart(yet to see the evidence for that, too)but funny? Not really. I don’t see her ever going big time.

  • Strepsi

    Molly Shannon or Cheri O’Teri should’ve been Will Ferrel – equally unafraid to get loud, physical, awkward or ugly. And the women of MADTV are beyond extreme: Stephanie Weir in particular would’ve had a breakout hit on TV or movies were she a guy. Blame sexism at every level, from the boys’ world of comedy writers to exec producers. Also blame the women themselves, who often want to go “emotionally deeper” when given a shot, when they should just go for the laugh – Shannon’s “Superstar” was a tepid, emo mess — she didn’t even crash through a single wall!!! Networks need to take a page from Tina Fey (or British Television), shich gave us French & Saunders, AbFab, Gimme Gimme Gimme and dozzens more) — give a brash woman carte blanche and let her do her thing.

  • mark in nyc

    Anna faris is realy gifted comedicly! I never knew who she was (never saw the scary movie series) but first saw her in “Just Friends” where she stole the show as a Brittany type. I just saw her in My Super ex-girlfriend where she had very little to work with but made her role memorable.
    She should be getting a lot more screen time.
    Sorry nycgirllms- but Janine Garafaolo has not been funny in years! Not since she got political and wants to make a point nw instead of being funny.
    Aisha Tyler was always very funny when she hosted Talk Soup….she has a true stand up comedy background as well.

  • sje

    I second Sarah Chalke. Also Leslie Mann – why doesn’t her hubby, Judd Apatow, write a movie where she’s the star?

  • Sadie

    Susman, you lost me at Sarah Silverman. Being cute and saying dirty words doesn’t make you funny — although it worked for Pearl in that Landlord clip. Tina Fey should DEFINITELY be on the short list of film-worthy female comics. I think that the film roles for the ladies is limited by the audience. These male stars are seen as much more marketable, which might just be good PR from their agents.

  • KingLouieXVIII

    I am completely infatuated with Aisha Tyler. First of all, she is stunningly beautiful. Second, she seems to be so down to earth, intelligent, and articulate. I always enjoyed catching Ebert & Roeper when she was a guest host. And while she may not be funny in a side-splitting sort of way, she is certainly witty and has great comedic timing. Unfortunately, her highest profile gig has been on FRIENDS when she deserves the romantic comedy roles that go to actresses like Cameron Diaz or Jennifer Aniston. I would have loved to see her in THE HOLIDAY b/c frankly that movie was way to pasty for me.

  • Stephanie Travitsky

    I can see Maya Rudolph, Stephanie Weir, Amy Pohler and Kristin Wiig in a movie or a sitcom but I always belived that Andrea Martin needed her own sitcom, and her performance in My Big Fat Greek Wedding pretty much proves it. “You don’t eat meat?!” Too much.

  • Amanda

    Amanda Bynes, Leslie Mann, Elizabeth Banks, Zooey Deschanel, and Rachael Harris. I believe Anna Faris is doing something really different by starring in Smiley Face, a stoner comedy with a female lead. I also think comedy is one of Jennifer Garner’s strengths. If only someone else would give her another vehicle as good as “13 Going on 30.”

  • Nick

    Reality check, folks.
    I just checked the IMDB Top Movies section, and filtered it for comedies. Of the top comedies, only SIX contained pivotal female leads or pivotal female performances:
    Amelie (Audrey Tattou… and she was the straight person with everything else crazy around her
    Annie Hall (Diane Keaton… also the straight person, to Woody Allen)
    Some Like It Hot (Marilyn Monroe… excellent comic timing, but she was also the straight person to Jack L & Tony C)
    It Happened One Night (Claudette Colbert, but she was equally matched w/Gable)
    Finding Nemo (Ellen DeGenerous FINALLY a great comic character, altho animated and secondary)
    The Lady Eve (Barbara Stanwyck – a GREAT comedy, but she’s more of a manipulator than a comic persona)
    Looking at the major comedy vehicles of the aforementioned women… “Superstar” anyone[?] it’s a tough road. Indeed, the highest quality film of the list is undoubtedly “Mean Girls”, in which Tina Fey was secondary.
    It’s a tough road.

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