After Julie Bowen's second consecutive Emmy win on Sunday, "Deadline's" Nikki Finke not only claimed that "beautiful actresses aren't funny," but that they "don't know how to do comedy," and that "only women who grew up ugly and stayed ugly . . . can pull of sitcoms or stand-ups."
Wrong. Also, isn't everyone bored of this argument already?
The problem with Finke's obvious ploy for attention is that it's not only untrue, but it once again drudges up the same tired "are women funny?" debate. Of course women are funny. If the list of this year's Emmy nominees for Outstanding Actress in a Comedy Series weren't enough proof, look to mavericks like Phyllis Diller, Lucille Ball, Gilda Radner, and countless other funny women who set the bar for all comedians -- not just females.Gilda Radner on "Saturday Night Live." (NBC)
There's a reason people like Amy Poehler won't even address the topic of women not being funny: because the topic is boring, and discussing it is redundant. Even writing this blog plays into Finke's sad attempt to earn site hits, and it certainly doesn't do anything to stop the topic from being brought up yet again. However, as a woman, Finke should understand the level of ignorance she's displaying by defining a female by her looks. (She should also understand the level of ignorance she displays by claiming comedy comes only from "emotional pain and humiliation and rising above both by making people laugh with you and not at you," but we only have so much time.)
Regardless of whether or not you supported Julie Bowen's Emmy win, to achieve that level of success requires hard work and talent. The fact that Finke overlooks this because Julie Bowen is also pretty is not only insulting to Bowen (obviously), but insulting to all comedians everywhere. Finke ridiculously paints comedians -- regardless of gender -- with the same, broad, ignorant brush, and also objectifies women by claiming they need to look a certain way to achieve a certain level of credibility.Tina Fey and Amy Poehler. (Gregg DeGuire/FilmMagic)
It doesn't make sense. Acting and comedy require the ability to transform into somebody else, to look and act like a completely different person. Do Bowen's looks have anything to do with her character on "Modern Family"? Who cares? What matters is that she so convincingly convinced Emmy voters of her performance as Claire Dunphy that she received an award -- an award she's worked hard for, regardless of whether or not you thought she should have beat the other nominees.
Finke is clearly just rolling, riling up the masses by attempting to place women in the same broken-down, outdated stereotype. But this time, we're onto her. This isn't a question of women being funny -- that matter's been settled, and has been settled since industry pioneers broke down the same gender barriers that once stood in the way of the first female doctors, lawyers, teachers, scientists, and CEOs.
Finke's choice to objectify and define capable women by their looks and bodies is disappointing and sad. Not only because she's wrong, but because we all know better.