Tag Archives: comedy

Obvious Child and the Plight of the Abortion Story

When I started thinking about this week’s Role/Reboot essay on Obvious Childthe “abortion rom com” starring comedian Jenny Slate, I started out by trying to come up with a list of contemporary mainstream abortion stories from TV or movies. Without googling or wikipedia-ing, or weighing in on the quality of these stories, here’s what I came up with:

1. Parenthood (Drew’s girlfriend Amy)

2. Grey’s Anatomy (Cristina Yang)

3. Friday Night Lights (Becky Sproles)

4. House of Cards (Claire Underwood)

…. what else have you got?

I watch a ridiculous amount of TV, so the fact that I can only come up with four…. well, that leads me to the point of my essay. For a thing that is extraordinarily common and affects literally millions of women (and also their partners), we have sooooo few examples in mainstream pop culture exploring these decisions. Obvious Child is a good step, but it’s only one story, and it’s the easiest story to get pushed through the pinhole that is a Hollywood approval process: it’s about a pretty, upper-middle class white woman. Valid story? Absolutely. The only story? The most common story? Absolutely not.



Related Post: Abortion stories

Related Post: Huffington Post and the changing iconography of the abortion debate


1 Comment

Filed under Hollywood, Media, Republished!

Sasheer Zamata and “Preferential Casting”

As you’ve probably heard, Saturday Night Live hired a black female comedian this week, Sasheer Zamata, 6 years after their last black female performer (Maya Rudoph) left the show. You may not have heard that, in addition to Zamata, SNL announced that they had hired two new black female writers, LaKendra Tookes and Leslie Jones.

After the Zamata announcement, I went and watched a trillion of her youtube clips of her stand-up and sketch work. This is my favorite:

Why do I think it’s important for cultural touchstones (which, whether you like it or not, SNL is) have diverse writers and casts? Because a straight white dude would never do a bit like that. Ever. And it is brilliant, and insightful, and kind of uncomfortable, and funny as hell. We need this kind of comedy to be part of the mainstream. That’s not to say that straight white dudes can’t contribute (Louie CK’s rape joke remains one of my favorites), only that a diversity of experience (like for example, having different colored skin, growing up in a different neighborhood, having immigrant parents, etc) creates a diversity of content, and that diversity of content is what eventually leads to empathy with people who are, on the surface, not like us.

This week for Role/Reboot I wrote more about Sasheer Zamata’s casting, with a nod to Cindy Gallop and Mitt Romney’s “Binders full of women”:



Related Post: My favorite two minutes of TV about oral sex and reciprocity

Related Post: I think Amy Poehler may have served me steak fries

1 Comment

Filed under Hollywood, Media

Celebs, Jerry Lewis, Roman Polanski and Me

In case you missed it, on The Morning AMp this morning the Council on Feminist Thought discussed many important things including Jerry Lewis’ idiocy over female comedians (do you remember Tina Fey’s response? “We don’t fucking care if you like it.”), Roman Polanski’s moronic comments about birth control, and more on celebrity overshares vs. megashares.

Sidenote: Council on Feminist Thought is a badass name. Wish I had come up with that.

Related Post: The last time I was on the radio, we talked about Sheryl Sandberg

Related Post: I wrote for The Nashville Scene about Battlestar Galactica and feminism

1 Comment

Filed under Gender, Media

Tacos, Street Harassment, and Rape Culture

Here is a new Role/Reboot essay that includes a number of my favorite things:

There’s a great W. Kamau Bell bit about street harassment where he interviews a bunch of women who basically say, “Ugh, it’s the worst. So offensive/annoying/scary/degrading/humiliating.” Then he interviews a bunch of men who basically say, “It’s just for fun! She should be flattered/complimented/delighted!” This is the gap I’m trying to bridge this week, though, as usual, I’m preaching to the choir. Sigh.

A Letter To The Guy Who Harrassed Me Outside The BarRelated Post: Do you find my breasts offensive?

Related Post: Post-election thoughts for Role/Reboot.


Filed under Chicago, Gender, Republished!

Sunday Scraps 70

1. LOUIE: My fictional love affair with Louis CK continues with this AV Club interview about his fan-friendly ticketing system, comedy innovation, etc.

2. GENDER: Another good, complex piece from the NYT about how parents react to young children who want to experiment with gender expression.

3. BOOKS: Top 100 teen books from NPR. I’ve read 39, you?

4. FOOD: Post-Chick-fil-A, the LA Times has mapped the political inclinations of chain restaurants and stores. Shockingly, Whole Foods patrons will be voting Obama.

5. OLYMPICS: Behind the scenes of the Olympics Village’s party scene, with more detail than just a condom count (ESPN).

6. PATRIOTISM: 30% of the U.S. women have medaled this Olympics, 15% of the men. If the U.S. women were their own country, they’d have the fifth most medals (Mother Jones).

Related Post: Sunday 69 – books and bikinis, diving faces, gun culture with Kiese Laymon.

Related Post: Sunday 68 – Being in your 20s, the POV of a condom, Jason Alexander.


Filed under Books, Food, Gender, Hollywood, Media, Politics, Really Good Writing by Other People, Sports

Have you ever worried about rape, Daniel Tosh?

Sometimes, during scary movies or the gruesome moments in Breaking Bad, I plant my palm between me and the TV screen and just listen. I want to know what happens, but I know myself well enough to know that I don’t need certain images in my head. You can’t unsee things.

Have you visited Project Unbreakable [Trigger Warning]?

Most days I can’t read it; I put my metaphorical internet hand over the screen and skip it in favor of less intense content. I can read about sexual violence in the military, or the Cleveland, TX rape case, or politicians who think that transvaginal probes are fine because “she already consented to putting stuff up there.” But photo after photo of astoundingly brave people holding signs with the words their rapists said to them? Nope, can’t do it. Don’t want it in my brain.

Have you ever worried about rape, Daniel Tosh?

Last Friday, comedian Daniel Tosh performed at the Laugh Factory. After a rape joke, a woman in the crowd called out, “Actually, rape jokes are never funny.” Allegedly (her account here, HuffPo account here, ), Tosh responded, “Wouldn’t it be funny if that girl got raped by like, five guys right now? Like right now? What if a bunch of guys just raped her…”

In Roxane Gay’s Salon piece on the incident, she writes:

“Qui tacet consentire” is Latin for, “Silence gives consent.” When we say nothing, when we do nothing, we are saying we consent to these trespasses against us. When that woman stood up and said, “No, rape is not funny,” she did not consent to participating in a culture that encourages lax attitudes toward sexual violence and the concerns of women.

Protecting myself from Project Unbreakable is about creating barriers between myself and the survivors of sexual assault and rape. I can know it exists without actually imagining what it would feel like to be one of those people. But thinking about what it would feel like–isn’t that what they call empathy?–is the beginning of where silence ends. I’m going to tweet the link to Project Unbreakable to Daniel Tosh today, and I recommend you do too. If he can read the stories, see the pictures, practice empathy and still make that joke, well, he has bigger problems than I thought.

Related Post: “There are monsters here, too, and they walk among us.”

Related Post: “I play for Pitt football, please don’t arrest me.”


Filed under Gender, Hollywood, Media, Sex

I Think Amy Poehler May Have Served Me Steak Fries

If you’re familiar with Stars Hollow then you pretty much know what my town looks like. If you’re not, Jesus, go watch some Gilmore.

In all seriousness, Lexington, MA, was a lovely, quaint place to grow up. Within one block, there was a candy store called Candy Castle, a toy store called Catch a Falling Star, and a pet store called Warm Hearts, Cold Noses. How much more nauseating can you get?

It’s a place full of history and monuments and for the month of April, Revolutionary War reenactors wandering around in buckled-shoes and tri-corner hats. Could I tell you what happened at the Alamo? Not a chance, but could I narrate the Battle of Lexington minute-by-minute for you? You bet.

The esteemed alums of Lexington High School include a Survivor winner, Amanda Palmer of the Dresden Dolls, and most notably (in my opinion), SNL‘s own Rachel Dratch. In this very charming interview, Amy Poehler and Rachel Dratch discuss, among other things, working at Chadwick’s in Lexington. Chadwick’s, for those of you not in the know, was an amazing establishment with ridiculously large steak fries, a Belly Buster ice cream sundae, and the loudest, ear-splitting Happy Birthday renditions I’ve ever heard. They closed their doors sometime in the mid-90s, and birthdays were never the same.

I can’t figure out the exact math, but if Poehler or Dratch was serving up sundaes when they came home from college, there’s a not terrible chance one of them once sang me a horrendous Happy Birthday.

Related Post: Lexington is the best on April 19th.

Related Post: Small town police logs. 


Filed under Family, Food