Meet the kickass women who make ALL the funny things you love
Next week, the New York Comedy Festival will feature a record-breaking number of female comics. It’s the latest reminder that we’re currently in the midst of a female comedy renaissance. The thing is, we’re also experiencing a female comedy renaissance behind the scenes. For every woman that steps on stage or in front of the cameras, there’s a woman behind the scenes killing it in the comedy sector and opening doors for future female comics.
So many superwomen are writing and producing on the highest level and developing projects we’re totally going to be obsessed with in the near future. These women have the kind of dream jobs every aspiring funny person should know about. So let’s take a sec to give some props to the power women making funny people even funnier:
Elbaum was recently tapped to head up Gloria Sanchez Productions, a sister company to Will Ferrell and Adam McKay’s Gary Sanchez Productions, which will focus exclusively on developing female-driven comedy for film and television. Can you say dream job?
Elbaum first pitched the idea to the guys. “Will and Adam are such strong supporters of it, so I thought why not get out in front of this and create a space for women to know that they can come and create and be supported?” Elbaum told Splitsider. “Men have been behind women things which is great, but I wanted to really declare a woman behind women. Women know what women need, and that’s the point here.” Yes and yes, please. Last week, the company’s first film, Plus One, a female buddy comedy about single probz, got picked up by the Weinstein Company. Bring it.
Lena Dunham’s partner-in-crim, Konner co-showruns Girls. Konner may may not be the face of HBO’s critical darling, but the television writer and producer has been keeping Apatow’s television comedies sharply observed and emotionally honest since her Freaks and Geeks days. On getting the heads-up that she was chosen to be Dunham’s partner-in-crime, Konner told Vulture, “I’ve never felt cooler than getting that phone call.”
One of the dumbest cancellations of the last several years was Don’t Trust The B—- In Apartment 23. That show cracked me up so hard and was the best use of James Van Der Beek ever, yes, I’m including Dawson’s Creek in that decision-making mix. And this was all thanks to the joke-cracking machine that is Nahnatchka Khan. Fun fact: she also created Pepper Ann, the weirdest and most wonderful thing to come out of ABC’s One Saturday Morning. What’s next for Khan? A new ABC comedy, Fresh off the Boat, (it takes place in the ’90s!) coming in 2015 for your TV viewing pleasure.
There is not a more lovable dudebro show on television than The League—though I was just, like, a LITTLE bit surprised to find out there was a comedy lady running around behind the scenes calling shots. That makes me love the show even more. Schaffer produced comedies like Old School and dramedies like Up In The Air before segue-ing into writing, co-creating The League with her husband Jeff Schaffer.
DeAnn Heline and Eileen Heisler
The Middle is my mom’s favorite comedy on television and whenever I catch an ep, I’m always like “My mom is SO good at being right about things.” Created and run by DeAnn Heline and Eileen Heisler (who also partnered together on shows like How I Met Your Mother and Lipstick Jungle) The Middle is one of the most hilarious and endearing comedies on television and the only show I know of on the air right now run by two women.
I have been a superfan of Meriwether’s since her playwriting days (The Mistakes Madeline Made changed my life) and I was obsessed with her pilot Sluts, which unfortunately did not get a series pickup, which is all to say I was really jazzed when Fox got their head in the game and picked up her pilot New Girl and television has been a fairy wonderland ever since.
“I felt really encouraged by the way the network received the show the whole way through,” Meriwether said in an interview with sexyfeminist.com. “I think the first time I met Kevin Reilly, who is the head of Fox, he said to me, I want to keep this female character really unique and I want you to protect her throughout this whole process, which was really rare and the first time I had heard that from a network exec. I actually found that there wasn’t resistance to an odd female character at the center of the show, which I found really gratifying.” Color us super-gratified.
If you are thankful for shows like Inside Amy Schumer and Broad City being on Comedy Central and being as awesome as they are, then you also have to be thankful for Brooke Posch, the Senior Vice President of Original Programming and Development for the network. She’s been pegged as the person responsible for such an awesome lady lineup on that network. She’s also the person who helped introduce the world to MTV’s Nikki and Sara Live.
Speaking of ridiculously funny women in late night television, Allison Silverman has written for Conan, Stewart, and Colbert, as well as serving as a producer on Portlandia, The Office, and, most recently, Nathan For You. Check her out on Twitter. You will not be disappointed.
If you love South Park and Bob’s Burgers then you love Jennifer Howell, the comedy exec who has shepherded and produced these shows and is now head honcho of comedy over at Paramount.
Issa Rae gained Internet fame through her web series The Mis-adventures of Awkward Black Girl, and has developed projects for Shonda Rhimes, Pharrell, and HBO. She is currently at the helm of ColorCreative.tv a site dedicated to developing television created by people of color.
“I started Color Creative to give opportunities to talented women and writers of color,” Rae told Fast Company. “I get tired of hearing that we don’t appeal to a ‘broad audience,’ whatever that means. We’re providing opportunities and showcasing stories that aren’t being told anywhere else.” Also, she’s not even 30 yet. Badass.
Remember when Colbert cracked that weird joke at the Emmy’s about only having one woman on his comedy writing staff? That woman is Meredith Scardino, she’s been a part of 190 eps of the Colbert Report, as well as having written 381 episodes of David Letterman’s show. The woman must be a comedy terminator, I would be all out of jokes like, a half of an episode in. But Scardino calls writing for Colbert “liberating.”
“Stephen is like a hurricane of skills,” she told Cornell’s Alumni magazine. “You can write anything for him, and you know he’d do a way better job than you can imagine. I’m sure if I wrote something that had him fly fishing while tap dancing, he’d be an expert at it.” That may be true, but the fact that she can write a joke about a fly fishing tap-dancer is also impressive.
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