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Yes, Women Are Funny

When Women’s History Month was approaching, I thought I was going to write about Gloria Steinem, leader of the second wave of feminism and co-founder of Ms. magazine. Her book, My Life on the Road (2015), is definitely worth a read. But I decided to focus on women who are living the lives that second wave feminists fought for.  It is still a struggle in a man’s world, even in Hollywood. But being a feminist doesn’t mean you can’t laugh.

Mindy Kaling, of The Mindy Project, came out with her second book of essays, Why Not Me? Hilarious! Love her! She is both awkward and fabulous at the same time.  This book focuses more on her life post 2011, post “minor” fame.  In fact, she titled one of her chapters “(Minor) Fame Has Changed Me.”  It includes things she can no longer do—like frown, complain or bargain hunt. Her first book, Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (and Other Concerns), drew me in with her title alone. Incidentally, she titled her first chapter “Alternate Titles for this Book, ” in which she tops the list with “The Girl with No Tattoo.”

cover for Not That Kind of Girl

Lena Dunham, of the critically acclaimed show GIRLS came out with a book in 2014 titled Not That Kind of Girl.  This book of essays is also funny, but definitely with some deeper, darker secrets.  She is not afraid to show her vulnerable side. She is not afraid to expose herself for comic relief. This kind of sharing can leave you feeling like you have a best friend holding your hand through awkward times.

If you haven’t read Tina Fey’s book, Bossypants, perhaps now is the time.  This book stayed on top of the New York Times Best Seller’s list for five weeks when it was released in 2011. It’s an easy-to-read autobiography that covers everything from her conservative father, to driving across Pennsylvania (she’s from Upper Darby), to working at Second City, to making 30 Rock. Reading her book is like eating a bag of chips—before you realize it, you are almost done. Actually, I would say the same for Lena and Mindy’s books.

What makes these women noteworthy is they are not waiting for someone to give them a great acting role. They get out there and write it, and direct and produce and perform.

Before Mindy Kaling got her own show, she was on the writing staff for the American version of The Office.  She was the only woman writer on a staff of eight. Nonetheless, she is credited with 25 episodes, making her the most prolific writer in the room.

In 2015, Lena Dunham was the first woman to receive the DGA Award for Outstanding Directing in a comedy series (for GIRLS). Her first movie, Tiny Furniture, won her the Independent Spirit award in Directing.

In 2000, Tina Fey was the first ever female head writer of Saturday Night Live. She has gone on to create/write/produce two more television series, not to mention the cult classic Mean Girls.

I know the sentiment still lingers that women are not funny.  If that’s so, then why am I laughing when I read these books?

You can also check out their TV shows from our DVD collection:

  • GIRLS – created, written, produced and starring Lena Dunham
  • Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt – created, written and produced by Tina Fey
  • The Mindy Project – created by, written by and starring Mindy Kaling
  • 30 Rock – created by, written by and starring Tina Fey
  • The Office – several episodes written by, directed by, and/or produced by Mindy Kaling; she also appears as Kelly Kapoor
  • Saturday Night Live (2000 – 2006) – head writer, Tina Fey


Why not read this book?

Request Why Not Me?

Alicia works at CLP – Main in Shelving & Materials Services. She enjoys international food, music, art and cultures, and learning to say “thank you” in foreign languages.

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