The concept of the “short list” for studio films is simple: it’s a tried-and true method to expediently plug bankable stars into leading roles, which creates publicity and drums up financing. Great! But here’s the thing – the short list for funny broads needs a bit of a revamp. At this point I feel like I’ve already seen movies that haven’t even been made yet when I read who’s in them! I can’t be the only one tired of seeing the same names over and over…
Now this is not a rant about the state of women in comedy (it’s getting better all the time, in my humble opinion), or another tired analysis of Christopher Hitchens’ essay “Why Women Aren’t Funny” (FYI – the main point of the essay was NOT that women aren’t funny, but that women aren’t necessarily taught to be funny because men don’t have to find women funny in order to find them attractive.) And I am in no way saying that the women on the funny-lady short lists aren’t funny; they absolutely are! This is just a gentle reminder that there are other bankable comediennes out there, and that creative casting pays off, (Orange is the New Black, anyone?) because it can oftentimes elevate so-so material. Casting is like dessert: no one really knows what they want until you roll the cart by and show it to them.
So allow me to tempt your comedy palates with the following selections and possible writing prompts. If these names don’t sound familiar look them up on IMDB. And by the way, I’m motivated by pure selfishness: I get a kick out of the following ladies, and I want to be entertained DAMN IT!
• There’s been talk of an all-female Ghostbusters remake, and Carrie Brownstein, Michaela Watkins, and Regina Hall should definitely be on that casting list.
• A modern-day reboot of Little Women in which the adult daughters still live with their mother. The mother: Jennifer Coolidge. The daughters: Jillian Bell, Fortune Feimster, Amy Schumer, and Kaitlin Olson.
• Eden Sher, Kate Micucci, and Riki Lindhome end up in a runaway hot air balloon soaring over Temecula!
• Laurie Metcalf, Jane Lynch, and Shondrella Avery (pictured) are state college professors competing for the same research grant!
• Gabourey Sidibe and Edi Patterson are partners in a medicinal marijuana dispensary/cat sanctuary, and they’re looking for love!
• Abbi Jacobson, Ilana Glazer, and Beth Behrs meet on a kibbutz…something funny happens!
• Jenny Slate and Jackie Hoffman operate an Ashley Madison-type dating service! Mayhem ensues!
• Ellie Kemper and Jane Krakowski as process servers: they’ll serve you with papers, and steal your heart!
As you can see, there are many creative combinations to be made, so mix it up! There’s no reason for things to stay as stale as they’ve gotten. Of course good material is a factor too, but that’s a sermon for another day. And if anyone out there wants to take the above ideas and run with them, feel free!
Wendi stars as Beverly on The Goldbergs, which returns for season two Wednesday, Sept. 24 at 8:30 pm ET on ABC. Check out previews here. Wendi will also be seen in A Merry Friggin’ Christmas alongside the late Robin Williams, Joel McHale and Candice Bergen.