Yael Kohen’s new book, We Killed: The Rise of Women in American Comedy, has many revealing tales about how change happens. But one stands out for me: in 1966, the actress Marlo Thomas approached the head of ABC-TV programming with a novel idea. She wanted “to play the person with the problem, not the person who assisted the person with the problem.” She recalled:
I didn’t want to be the wife of somebody, or the secretary of somebody, or the daughter of somebody…”Have you ever considered the girl to be the somebody?” And he said, “Would anybody watch a show like that?” I said, “I think they would.” And so I gave him a copy of The Feminine Mystique, and he read it and kind of became convinced.
While hard at work here at the Archive, I stumbled upon some interviews that ended up on the cutting room floor during production of our prizewinning documentary “Making Trouble”. Take a look at a few clips that feature fabulous Jewish women in entertainment talking about fabulous Jewish women in entertainment.
There is a lovely piece about Joan Rivers in New York Magazine to mark the premiere of her biographical documentary, Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work. Jonathan Van Meter notes that Joan Rivers has been "rediscovered at age 76," despite the fact that she has been in our hearts and minds all along.
If you follow JWA on Twitter or Facebook, it should be pretty obvious that we think Making Trouble, the film about six trailblazing Jewish women entertainers, makes a great Hanukkah present for the whole family. Normally, the idea of pushing a "product" makes me queasy. Afterall, I chose to work for a non-profit, not an advertising firm! So I feel that I owe the JWA audience a real and honest explanation for why I think Making Trouble is something you should own.
I hope everyone enjoyed the holiday weekend. I certainly did, which is why I missed so many great posts and articles over the weekend. Here is a Thanksgiving weekend link roundup, just in case you missed them too.
The Center for Reproductive Rights is taking an exciting approach to fighting the Stupak Amendment and the potential loss of abortion coverage it would ultimately bring about. Cory Kahaney (one of the hosts of Making Trouble) stars in their new ad, "It's No Joke," which will air on MSNBC this week. Kahaney drives home her point with a quick standup routine about health care that makes it perfectly clear that the threat to abortion access is no joke.
In a recent interview with Lisa Leingang in the New York Times, Melena Ryzik asks the question: "Why are there so few women in comedy?" To answer it, you have to approach it the way Bill Clinton did during the Monica Lewinsky period. We have to deconstruct the terms.