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The Women You Need in Your Life: Comedy Geniuses
'Behind every man is a woman, rolling her eyes, folks!' This is a classic line from Bruce Almighty. But humour aside, while films and stand up are still appear heavily dominated by men, there are lots of women out there that can more than hold their own, even surpass their male counterparts through their own comedic style.
Take the Ghostbusters 2016 film, for example. It was heavily criticized as a sacrilegious affront to the 1984 original blockbuster. For some, to even think of replacing the raw wit of Bill Murray, the energy of Dan Aykroyd, the eccentricity of Harold Ramis, and fourth member of the ghost busting team, Ernie Hudson, with four 'lesser' stars was tantamount to selling out to some political 'gender agenda' to get more women in mainstream films. But the film, though unliked by some, had great visual style, kept up the narrative pace and introduced me to the geniuses behind the main cast, including Kristen Wig, Melissa McCarthy, Kate McKinnon (who is she and how have I not known her before!), and the feisty Leslie Jones. For someone who loved the humour of the originals, I saw them put in a solid effort and successfully carried of the film.
Of course, even if that movie did didn't make you chuckle, the following lineup of clips present some major talents that are some of the best that have ever graced the comedy circuit.
For some, a few naysayers might sigh and think 'Sister Act' when you hear the name Whoopi Goldberg. But she is a great talent who has had a long career in many different roles. I always will love Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit, but I also remember her role in Jumpin' Jack Flash, Ghost, and her own stand up/support of Billy Connolly when he was breaking into the U.S. If there is anyone that is a legend in comedy and film, it is her. She is one of the funniest women, and also first female comic I learned about. She has not only done stand up, but comedy and drama films. Besides the pictures already mentioned, several of her accolades include her breakout role in the Color Purple, as well as Girl Interrupted, The Associate, The Lion King and has performed in theater and published several books. One of my favourite all-time funny moments comes from the following scene from the comedy, 'Jumpin' Jack Flash.'
The Shredder Fight
When I was growing up, the afternoon-evening schedule of TV programming I watched when I came from home from school consisted of various cartoons, a staple diet of The Simpsons as well as other shows like Seinfeld, Full House and Step By Step. Among those, every now and again, I'd catch an episode of the Golden Girls with its catchy theme tune. 'Thank you for Being My Friend,' the style of dress and the old production values has always been a nostalgic throwback to simpler times and I just loved that this older woman could make a young boy laugh. It was an introduction to a talented trio led by Bea Arthur, who portrayed Dorothy Zbornak, and also starred Betty White, Rue McClanahan and Estelle Gretty.
Keeping Up Appearances was a family favourite in my household. We would regularly tune in to such British TV greats as Midsomer Murders, Jack Frost and caught the odd viewing of Absolutely Fabulous, Birds of a Feather and My Family. Father Ted and Dad's Army. But Patricia Routledge's turn as Hyacinth Bucket, a fabulously self-centred, socially aspiring middle class woman living in a small village like Warwickshire, won our hearts and we caught every episode we could.
Tea Time with Hyacinth
I first heard of Dawn French through the sketch show 'French and Saunders' and was bowled over by their skits. But it was her turn as the parish priest in The Vicar of Dibley that really brought her to my attention. With her unmatched timing and often self depreciating humour, it quickly became a favourite. You know you have stumbled on something great when you get to the last episode of the series, or the woefully brief holiday specials, and sigh that there is nothing more to follow. One can only seek out her other great performances and return to watch the classics again, binging each season to relive those laughs.