Why are these ladies so funny at 50?
There are some really funny female comedians, writers and comedic actresses out there right now. Unlike their trailblazing and priceless “foremothers”, Lucille Ball and Phyllis Diller, these post fifty female comedians don’t require props like red wigs, curlers or cigarette holders. These women are funny, savvy, attractive and outspoken on and off the stage:
- Julia Louis-Dreyfus, 51
- Kathy Griffin, 51
- Lisa Lampanelli, 51
- Amy Sedaris, 51
- Lizz Winstead, 51
- Jane Lynch, 52
- Tracey Ullman, 53
- Ellen Lee DeGeneres, 54
- Patricia Heaton, 54
- Whoopi Goldberg, 56
- Roseanne Barr, 59
Unlike early female comedians whose roles were centered around being “the wife” in some physically outrageous way, today’s funny women take it all on: race, age, religion, sex, politics…you name it. A few of them, like Ellen Degeneres, have become consistent and powerful brand partners in their own right.
Recently author Tracey Jackson wrote a blog post about female comedians, Faster Funnier, Younger. A pretty funny lady herself, Jackson broaches the topic of how different the audience relationship became as she approached 50. She talks frankly about male comedians who hitched their professional stars to the type of pop culture comedy (much of it low-brow in my opinion…sorry) some might liken to slapstick…funny the first time, but can’t go the distance. She honestly details her experience crossing over that pass. The fact is that being edgy and socially relevant, being a pacesetter and culturally relevant has almost always remained the exclusive the territory of the young. There are exceptions, of course, but aging comes with some pretty standard contract amendments…heat and passion eventually give way to thoughtful consideration. And fatigue!(No matter the gender)
In the case of comedy, however, many women seem to hold their own when it comes to going the distance and not becoming passé even though there seems to be fewer of them than there are men. (The Huffington Post top 21 of the Funniest Post 50 Comedians, only four women.) Yes, the funny ladies of 50 may be the “elder stateswomen”, less brash and edgy, more subtle and deliberate, but there is much to be gleaned from experience. Especially when it’s funny.
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