L-R: Alessandra Stanley, Delia Ephron, Fran Drescher, Samantha Bee, and Whitney Cummings at NYWIFT’s Women in…Comedy panel. Photo via CINEMATIQ magazine. 

Women in…Comedy: Changing Times

A few weeks ago, NYWIFT brought together Samantha Bee (The Daily Show), Whitney Cummings (co-creator, 2 Broke Girls), Fran Drescher (Happily Divorced), and Delia Ephron (writer, You’ve Got Mail) to discuss the changing landscape for women in comedy.

The panel, moderated by New York Times TV critic Alessandra Stanley, was held at Carolines on Broadway as part of the New York Comedy Festival.

And what a terrific discussion it was! Here are just a few highlights:

On their early influences: Bee, who is Canadian, remembers watching Canada’s iconic SCTV and The Carol Burnett Show, and thinking, “what a great life” that would be.

Cummings said her first opportunities in comedy came from two women—Joan Rivers and Chelsea Handler.

On what they won’t joke about: Cummings says there’s no definitive line but knows it when she gets there. “All the comedians we love and respect cause a little trouble,” she adds. “I think that’s when we’re doing our job.”

Ephron apparently crossed the line for some New Yorkers when she wrote about the city’s new Citi Bikes. “I’ve never been the object of hatred on Twitter before,” she says.

The biggest laugh of the evening: “If someone has a problem, let’s not kick a dog when it’s down” was Drescher’s reply to the question on what topics to avoid. “What about the mayor of Toronto?” Bee interjects.

The greatest woman comedian? All the panelists agreed on Lucille Ball. But from where I was sitting, these four women are pretty high up the list.

Kudos to NYWIFTers Susan Ades and Terry Greenberg for putting together such an entertaining discussion. Check out nywift.org for more events like this one.



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