Female Comedians Steal the Show at the Emmys

This year’s Emmy awards ceremony is only memorable for one thing: “Remember that year when all the women in the Best Actress in a Comedy category went on stage when the nominations were called and then they gave Melissa McCarthy a tiara?” That’s it. Mad Men, Modern Family, and The Daily Show won, but no surprises there. Everything else, with the exception of Ricky Gervais was terrible and only LL Cool J’s terrible miniseries rap was terrible in a memorable way. Although we give Jane Lynch props for trying. PRNewser is still a fan.

That said, we’re going to once again beat the drum for female comedians in Hollywood. Back in June we talked about the two summer film hits Bad Teacher and Bridesmaids, which generated good vibes and box office results for its stars. We hoped then that it would open doors for actresses in comedies.

Now we have big names — Amy Poehler, Tiny Fey, Edie Falco, Laura Linney — in the Emmy scenestealer of the night. It was funny, it was unexpected, and it was good-spirited. Now we can look forward to the coming season of female-led TV comedies, which is also getting a lot of attention.

Alessandra Stanley writes in the NY Times that the new crop of shows, like Whitney and The New Girl, starring Zooey Deschanel, are trying their hand at “provocative” as a way to grab a broader audience. Read: get men to watch.

The Atlantic even more directly ties the coming season’s line-up to Bridesmaids and even more strongly criticizes the shows for being old-fashioned while acknowledging that change will be slow going.

It’s that final point that seems most important. Many campaigns — whether it’s the launch of a new product or a program to revive a brand that’s fallen out of favor — take time to not just grab attention but to change people’s behavior. If we’ve been treating women in comedy (and in entertainment) as second-class citizens, we can’t expect things to change overnight. But, optimistically, I think we’re seeing small signs that audiences and offerings are moving in a positive direction.