Women are staking their claim on the world of TV comedy.
The Hollywood Reporter gathered some of the industry’s stars for their new Comedy Actress Roundtable
Included are Jane Levy of “Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist”, Jameela Jamil of “The Good Place”, Robin Thede of “A Black Lady Sketch Show”, Amy Sedaris of “At Home with Amy Sedaris”, Tiffany Haddish of “The Last O.G.” and Elle Fanning of “The Great”.
The women were asked if the time during lockdown has changed the way they approach their careers.
“Oh, I’m definitely choosing differently,” Haddish said. “First, I’ve been napping, and I think naps are magic, so when we get back out there, I’m definitely putting in my contracts that I have to have a one-hour nap. That means nobody talking to me, nobody trying to go, ‘Hey, can we go over these lines?’ I need one hour to shut my eyeballs. And I’m definitely going to be telling different types of stories and my comedy is going to evolve, too. I want to start doing things that represent Black history and not just the slave stuff because we past all that, OK?”
Fanning, meanwhile, discussed how her career has evolved from being a child actress and her decision to attempt comedy series.
“When I was 14, I was cast as Sleeping Beauty in ‘Maleficent’, and that phone call definitely changed my life and my trajectory and it differentiated me from my sister [Dakota]. That role is very important to me, but also it’s a Disney princess, and I’m this blond and it comes with a certain stigma, right? And that’s the biggest movie I’ve done, so I’m recognized most for it,” she said. “What was exciting for me about ‘The Great’ was getting to try out the comedy world. People think of me as doing these serious, dramatic roles or just playing the kid, and I feel like I’m a funny person in real life and I love shocking people and proving that I’m not exactly who they think I am.”
On the subject of which kinds of roles they are usually offered as women, Jamil commented, “I’ve been watching so many films during lockdown and realizing how often that storyline comes up, that a woman is there to instigate difficulty for a man and she doesn’t really get to be the great comedian.
“I don’t want to be someone’s sidekick and I don’t want to just be someone’s f**k toy in a film. I want more complex and nuanced roles, especially within comedy for women. And I think that we are coming into a great moment but that can’t be where we stop. We have so much more to do, so many more stories to tell, because women are amazing and they are hilarious and they are filthy and complicated and interesting.”