We Killed: The Rise of Women in American Comedy by Yael Kohen

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We Killed: The Rise of Women in American Comedy Read Online Free - More than fifty years of iconic comediennes, unmediated and unfiltered

In January 2007, Vanity Fair published an essay by Christopher Hitchens called “Why Women Aren’t Funny.” It was incendiary, much-discussed, and—as proven by Yael Kohen’s fascinating oral history—totally wrongheaded.

In We Killed, Kohen assembles America’s most prominent comediennes (and the writers, producers, nightclub owners, and colleagues who revolved around them) to piece together the revolution that happened to (and by) women in American comedy. We start in the 1950s, when comic success meant ridiculing and desexualizing yourself. Joan Rivers and Phyllis Diller emerged as America’s favorite frustrated ladies; the joke was always on them. The Sixties saw the appearance of smart, edgy comediennes (Elaine May, Lily Tomlin), and the women’s movement brought a new wave of radicals: the women of SNL, tough-ass stand-ups, and a more independent breed on TV (Mary Tyler Moore and her sisters). There were battles to fight and preconceptions to shake before we could get to where we finally are: in a world where women (like Tina Fey, or, whether you like them or not, Sarah Silverman and Chelsea Handler) can be smart, attractive, sexually confident—and most of all, flat-out funny.

Like all revolutions, it’s suffered false starts and backslides. But it’s been a remarkable trip, as the more than one hundred people interviewed for this riveting oral history make clear. With a chorus of creative voices and often hilarious storytelling, We Killed is essential cultural and social history.

Title : We Killed: The Rise of Women in American Comedy
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 0374287236
Edition Language : English
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 336 pages


Bonnie rated it ★★★☆☆

January 22, 2013

It really could have been sooooooo much better. Like a lot better. Was she rushed? What the hell? I found myself taking notes going, what about Rosie ODonnell? madTV? Jenny McCarthy, the State, funny black women like Pearl Bailey, Bessie Smith? Counter Culture? Carol Channing? Beyte Midler? More...

Katherine rated it ★★★★☆

December 12, 2012

In this case, I think the parts may be bigger than the sum. I really enjoyed reading this, but once I was done, I was a unsure of how strong the author/editor was. The raw material was good, but the book didn't feel as confident and coherent as other oral histories I've read, like the one about S...

Stephanie rated it ★★☆☆☆

November 18, 2014

Let's say 2 and a half stars. I'm hesitant to give it three although I did enjoy it for the most part. It seemed to contradict itself a lot though. Like somewhere in the beginning it went on about "we're not going to talk about Lucy...we're here to talk about stand-up, not TV...and Lucy was just...

Jessica rated it ★★★★☆

August 28, 2014

Few things in this world will make me dislike someone more than if they utilize the tired, "Women aren't funny" argument. Few things in this world made me happier than the episode of 30 Rock that addressed the moronic statement by pointing out just maybe men and women just find different things f...

Hilary rated it ★★★☆☆

September 11, 2013

There’s something about the oral history format that I just don’t cotton to, because, despite the success of several recent-ish pop-culture histories in that form (Live From New York, Those Guys Have All the Fun), it’s not writing so much as editing, and it ends up reading like the script to a do...

Monica rated it ★★★★☆

April 13, 2013

This book is hard to rate, if only because the new oral histories are a confusingly uneven lot, and this is no exception. There is very little editorial content, relatively speaking, and when it does come through there are some strange conclusions reached. But, the actual material here is engagin...

Laurel rated it ★★★★☆

October 29, 2012

Judy is in her mid sixties and has the perfect silver bob. She's the acquisition department at our library. She takes my advice when I mention we need texts like Soulacoasta, ostensibly written by R Kelly. On my second day of work she says she's disappointed that Peter's nephew was nominated for...

Myles rated it ★★☆☆☆

February 13, 2017

It started out so well, too. When it has contributions from the major players its talking about We Killed is fascinating, full of insight into what comedy has been in America and how its changed direction in the past fifty years. But as we get closer to the present, more and more comedians declin...

k rated it ★★★☆☆

January 28, 2014

Very readable and most times very interesting but ultimately, not completely satisfying. Which is not to say that I didn't enjoy it - I did. The Mary Tyler Moore stuff made me want to go back and watch every episode - especially Chuckles Bites the Dust. (I had no idea it was written by a woman.)...

LynnDee (The Library Lush) rated it ★★★★☆

September 10, 2017

This is a fascinating look at how comedy developed in America and women's roles in its development. I also liked that it was an oral history because it featured interviews with people in the comedy industry, some who I had never heard of. Having it be these interviews sort of erased the bias that...

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