Pretty/Funny: Women Comedians and Body Politics (Paperback)

Pretty/Funny: Women Comedians and Body Politics By Linda Mizejewski Cover Image

Pretty/Funny: Women Comedians and Body Politics (Paperback)


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Women in comedy have traditionally been pegged as either “pretty” or “funny.” Attractive actresses with good comic timing such as Katherine Hepburn, Lucille Ball, and Julia Roberts have always gotten plum roles as the heroines of romantic comedies and television sitcoms. But fewer women who write and perform their own comedy have become stars, and, most often, they’ve been successful because they were willing to be funny-looking, from Fanny Brice and Phyllis Diller to Lily Tomlin and Carol Burnett. In this pretty-versus-funny history, women writer-comedians—no matter what they look like—have ended up on the other side of “pretty,” enabling them to make it the topic and butt of the joke, the ideal that is exposed as funny.

Pretty/Funny focuses on Kathy Griffin, Tina Fey, Sarah Silverman, Margaret Cho, Wanda Sykes, and Ellen DeGeneres, the groundbreaking women comics who flout the pretty-versus-funny dynamic by targeting glamour, postfeminist girliness, the Hollywood A-list, and feminine whiteness with their wit and biting satire. Linda Mizejewski demonstrates that while these comics don’t all identify as feminists or take politically correct positions, their work on gender, sexuality, and race has a political impact. The first major study of women and humor in twenty years, Pretty/Funny makes a convincing case that women’s comedy has become a prime site for feminism to speak, talk back, and be contested in the twenty-first century.

Linda Mizejewski is Professor of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at the Ohio State University in Columbus. She is the author of Divine Decadence: Fascism, Female Spectacle, and the Makings of Sally Bowles, Ziegfeld Girl: Image and Icon in Culture and Cinema, and Hardboiled & High Heeled: The Woman Detective in Popular Culture. Her most recent book, It Happened One Night, is a study of the original romantic comedy film.

Product Details ISBN: 9781477307601
ISBN-10: 1477307605
Publisher: University of Texas Press
Publication Date: March 1st, 2014
Pages: 278
Language: English