Monday, April 07, 2008

Comedy Isn't Pretty

There's a story that may be apocryphal about the casting of 30 Rock which claims that Tina Fey initially wanted her friend Rachel Dratch to be one of the stars of the show. Supposedly, NBC put the kibosh on the idea, forcing Fey to go with someone more "TV Friendly," if you get my drift -- which is why Jane Krakowski now has a steady, paying prime time gig while Dratch is kicking around doing nothing. Lending credence to this story is the fact that Fey cast Dratch in almost every first season episode of 30 Rock, as a different character in each -- supposedly to make up for dumping her at the last minute at the behest of the network.

It's admittedly kind of sad, since Rachel Dratch is actually pretty funny.

Now there's this: A blurb on New York Magazine's website in which Dratch laments not only being out of work but having been passed over for a spread in this month's Vanity Fair on supposedly funny women. Included in the shoot were cringe-worthy one-noters like Kristen Wiig and Maya Rudolph -- friends of Dratch who, needless to say, have the one quality Dratch lacks in that they look better opposite the lens of Annie Leibovitz. The choice of Wiig and Rudolph, as well as Amy Poehler, Sarah Silverman and of course Fey herself lends a comically obvious subtext to the title of the spread and the accompanying article: "Who Says Women Aren't Funny?" The implication, of course, being: "Who Says Pretty Women Aren't Funny?"

It's ironic that in attempting to validate this pretend-feminist theory, Vanity Fair has, in fact, proven just how ugly the whole damn business is these days.

(New York Magazine Intelligencer: Unemployment's a Downer for Dratch)


Michael J. West said...

Actually I think Kristen Wiig is pretty funny...but that doesn't detract from your point.

sparksinner said...

The A.V. Club's Hater did a bit on the Vanity Fair article with much the same viewpoint:

I'd say you're in good company.

Beckylooo said...

For the record, it ain't apocryphal. They actually shot it with Dratch then reshot it with Krakowski. Having seen 'em both it makes way more sense with with the latter. Though the former was funny.

And the issue of pretty people getting attention is endemic to Hollywood in general. If Dratch was a comic genius and Wiig, Fey and Rudolph were hacks you might have a point but that's hardly the case.

Anonymous said...

Well, I think Mya Rudolph is funny. Maybe it's because I'm old enough to remember her mom, the late great Minnie Riperton, or maybe because she has a baby with the director Paul Anderson, but I love her. That said, I love Rachel Dratch even more. Someone hire her STAT!

britta is an asshole said...


Dusty said...

Funny and pretty shouldn't be allowed in the same has nothing to do with the other.

But no one, with two brain cells to rub together, kids themselves about how important 'pretty' is to the powers that be. My ugly person? Can't have that..ugly is in the eye of the beholder and sadly the beholder holds the power when it comes to jobs in certain industries.

Anonymous said...

Amy Pohler is the only funny one out of that group. I guess I am a little biased being a UCB fan and all, but it's the truth. SNL hasn't been funny since the start of the millenium. Dratch, Fey, Rudolph and company aren't shitty comics because they are female, they are shitty comics because they are part of SNL.