The Girl In The Show by Anna Fields – BOOK REVIEW
““I’m not funny at all. What I am is brave.” —Lucille Ball
With powerhouses like Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, and Amy Schumer dominating the entertainment landscape and memoirs from today’s most vocal feminist comediennes shooting up the bestseller lists, women in comedy have never been more influential.
Marking this cultural shift, The Girl in the Show provides an in-depth exploration of how comedy and feminism have grown hand in hand to give women a stronger voice in the ongoing fight for equality. From I Love Lucy to SNL to today’s rising cable and web-series stars, Anna Fields’ entertaining retrospective combines amusing and honest personal narratives with the historical, political, and cultural contexts of the feminist movement.
With interview subjects like Abbi Jacobson, Molly Shannon, Mo Collins, and Lizz Winstead among others—as well as actresses, stand-up comics, writers, producers, and female comedy troupes—Fields shares true stories of wit and heroism from some of our most treasured (and under-represented) artists. At its heart, The Girl in the Show captures the urgency of our continued struggle towards equality, allowing the reader to both revel in—and rebel against—our collective ideas of “women’s comedy.”
*I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*
Recently, I’ve been in the mood to read a lot of feminist-based books, both fiction and non-fiction, so when I saw this on NetGalley, I knew I couldn’t resist.
The Girl In The Show explores how comedy has developed over the last 3 generations (20th Century onwards) in terms of women’s involvement and the way that comedy is portrayed to a wider audience, with a focus on feminism and culture. I found it a particularly interesting read, especially to see how and why comedy has changed and to learn more about some of the groundbreaking acts that I didn’t know much about beforehand.
Admittedly, I didn’t know many of the acts that Anna refers to throughout the book, so although it was great for me to read about specific jokes and performances that I didn’t know about, I imagine for people who have seen them, it was probably a bit repetitive. In a way, it does make this book appeal to a larger audience, both younger and older, because it was easy to follow and understand the point of the examples.
Although this book is all about comedy, it isn’t funny – and it’s not supposed to be. It’s informative, with it being very clear that Anna has done a lot of research in this field, especially when interviewing various comedians. I wish there was a little bit more said about contemporary comedians, but overall, I do think it had a good balance between the “three generations” as said on the cover.
If you want to learn about the history of comedy in relation to the emergence of women, and the effect that feminism has had, this is the book for you! It’s very informative, clear, and easy to understand. A great feminist read!