Ghostbusters remake features the funniest people around. They just happen to be women.
Last week Paul Feig, the director of the new Ghostbusters remake (and Bridesmaids, The Heat and Spy), received a tweet from a man claiming the only reason someone would make an all-female version of the classic movie was “to appease the feminist types”.
Feig, a self-described feminist, responded: “Unless it was to feature the funniest people I know, male or female. Which is what the original did. #enough”.
And it’s true. All the best comedians at the moment are women (which is a total shock considering the number of times we’ve heard women aren’t funny).
It doesn’t mean all women are funnier than all men. Just that chicks in comedy land are totally killing it at the moment. Once upon a time – say the 90s – all the top comedians were men – think Jerry Seinfeld, Ray Ramone, Steve Martin, David Spade etc. Some of them even had their own TV shows. But your Adam Sandlers and your Ben Stillers have had their day.
Now, the moment my mind turns to comedy, images of Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Amy Schumer, Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, Maya Rudolph, Sarah Silverman, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Mindy Kaling, Miranda Hart, Rebel Wilson and Ellie Kemper flash through my brain. Not a man in sight.
Of course, there are plenty of great male comedians. Many of these hilarious women honed their craft at the same institutions as their male counterparts. Steve Carell, Tina Fey, Mike Myers, Stephen Colbert, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Bill Murray and Amy Poehler are all alumni of Chicago improv troupe The Second City. Jack Black, Will Ferrell, Kathy Griffin, Melissa McCarthy, Maya Rudolph and Kristen Wiig got their starts at LA’s The Groundlings. Many of them worked together writing and performing in sketches for Saturday Night Live, which became an important platform for the world to discover the amazing talent of female comedians.
There just seems to finally be a widespread acknowledgement that female audiences are interested in funny content beyond the banal having-sex-with-a-pie gags, fart jokes and dick puns. Many of the female-led comedies of recent times focus on the humour in everyday settings – in female friendships, in collegiate relationships, in being part of a bridal party (or an all-female choir). That shit is funny.
Despite the remarkable success of films like Bridesmaids, Pitch Perfect and Mean Girls, ingrained sexism in Hollywood doesn’t appear to be going anywhere fast.
In recent weeks, we’ve seen Rose McGowan get fired by her agent after calling out a sexist note in an Adam Sandler script, Amanda Seyfried reveals she was paid 10 per cent of her male co-star’s salary in a big-budget film, and former Disney CEO Michael Eisner tells Goldie Hawn during an interview on sexism that the most elusive star is a “beautiful, funny woman”. “By far. They usually – boy am I going to get in trouble, I know this goes online – but usually, unbelievably beautiful women, you being an exception, are not funny,” he said. Yep, blood boiling kind of stuff.