On female comedians:
Maybe the way it works for a new show is a bunch of TV execs sit around with wires and EKGs attached to their wangs, and when I was on screen, the needle dipped dangerously into the Code Red Anti-Boner Zone. I was starting to feel like the ten years of training and performing and sweating it out pre-SNL, plus the seven years at SNL, all went out the window because I didn’t have a symmetrical face. This would have been OK if at some point along the way I had gotten the memo: “Oh, and if you want to be a successful female comedian, you better have a symmetrical face.”
Maybe I was naive, but this was the first I was hearing of it. I grew up watching perfectly lovely female performers whom I don’t think you would call “hotties”: Gilda Radner, Lily Tomlin, Carol Burnett. Those were my comedy idols. I would think of the genius Jean Stapleton of All in the Family and how today some ding-dong in the network would insist she be played by Megan Fox to get the male 18-49 demographic. “People,” he’d say at the meeting. “Megan can be very funny.” I had always been pretty sure comedy was about producing laughs and not a boner. Now I had to produce laughs and a boner? When did the rules change? This is not the kind of stuff you consider when you are young and dreaming about becoming an actor and thinking: “I have fun doing the school plays!”
I cannot recommend Rachel Dratch’s memoir, Girl Walks into a Bar…, highly enough. I paid $30(!!!) for it because I am in the business of buying real books at full retail from ladies I love, and it was worth every penny.