A comedic shift

By | Entertainment
Tina Fey and Poehler at New York film premiere, April 2008.Credit@Wikipedia

The Entertainment industry may have seen an evolution of leading females in comedy, introducing a generation of comedians who act, perform stand up and write as well as direct unique material. The newly released film ‘Sisters’, directed by Jason Moore, may be considered a headliner for defining this golden age leading with three of some of Hollywood’s most successful female comedians. Therefore, may have the ability to mark a pivotal turning point for women in the entertainment landscape of comedy.

The film itself follows two sisters, Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, who are in bid to recapture their glory days in their return to their childhood home exploring many themes such as, acceptance, nostalgia and sisterhood. The films ability to present multi-dimensional representations of female characters that are humourous, outlandish and entertaining on screen may transgress beyond boundaries of conventional portrayals thus far. The film’s ability to combine vulnerable and realistic life depictions with comedy, may revolutionise female lead comedies’ ability to present an in depth narrative as well as humour, illustrating how generic archetypal comedy may have evolved.

From conquering the realms of television, the Golden Globes and the film industry, leading comedy actresses Tina Fey, Amy Poehler and Maya Rudolph have seemed to demonstrate years of success in their own comedic ventures. Fey may have been considered to have made history as the first-ever female head writer for Americas ‘Saturday Night Live’ demonstrating what might be a huge step within a previously male-lead industry. Likewise, Maya Rudolph’s talents in 2011 hit ‘Bridesmaids’ as well as own standup comedy, similarly to Amy Poehler evidences the potential for women to pave way as writers and producers of comedic material as well as starring as critically acclaimed comedians. 

According to the Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film’s 2014-15 report, women appeared to make up 42% of all speaking characters on broadcast television programs  likewise women behind the scenes, women accounted for 27% of creators, writers, producers, executive producers, editors, and directors. The impact of ‘Sisters’ along with other female-fronted movies in comedy, may contribute to a growing representation of female comedians in film, whilst also having the capability to encourage women to work creatively off screen as writers of comedy.

This year has similarly seen a success with female comedians and female lead-films prospering within the entertainment industry. Amy Schumer, took the prize for ‘Outstanding Sketch Comedy’ at the 2015 Emmys for her show “Inside Amy Schumer”. Likewise, female-led comedies displayed a similar success at the box office this summer with films such as “Spy,” “Trainwreck” and specifically “Pitch Perfect 2.” which saw a hundred million dollar revenue. This may reflect a new level of exposure for female comedians as well as a huge sign of progress for Hollywood’s acceptance of, and support for, female-led films in what might have previously been considered a male dominated genre.

This success thus far may offer a fresh perspective on the ways in which comedy for women has progressed, transforming what may have been audience’s pre-conceived notions of a male-lead genre in which women may have felt the “other”. The comedy of the film ‘Sisters’ adds to this dialogue by suggesting gender may be a fundamental tool to successful comedy in the experiences they may convey which are often universal rather than gender specific. Likewise, the success of each female comedy actress may have the ability to highlight female’s equally have a drive to entertain, to harness and develop skills in comedy with equal success.  The ability for women to showcase themselves autonomously in comedy, as opposed to a feeling a responsibility to conservative ideas of portraying femininity, may also have the ability to open a discussion surrounding a shift in perspectives within the entertainment industry.

How may the film ‘Sisters’ challenge traditional stereotypes of women’s role in comedy?

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