In the years since leaving SNL, Fey has honed a comic persona straight out of an Atlantic article, papercuts and all. But Liz Lemon’s foibles — as she put it in last week’s brilliant-as-ever episode of 30 Rock, “being a woman is the worst” — are the funny flip side to Fey’s own methodical competence. With 30 Rock, she crafted a star vehicle for herself and gave someone else the best part. Instead of burning herself out on an American Idol–style solo, she used her powerfully defined voice in harmony with a second generation of hilarious geniuses — many of whom have recently migrated to bigger, potentially even better things — to radically redefine what a sitcom should and could be. No show has ever offered such high-quality jokes at such an outrageously breakneck pace. Watching an episode of 30 Rock, even now in its final weeks, is like browsing Hermès on rocket-fueled roller skates: There’s too much, too fast! But Fey didn’t just raise the game, she fundamentally changed it: Sitcoms post–30 Rock are like the ATP World Tour post–wooden rackets. More importantly, the speed of Happy Endings or Community isn’t just for show; it’s democratizing and exhilarating. It’s the collaborative, shouty frenzy of a Groundlings show — or an overly caffeinated writers’ room — delivered directly into our living rooms.
Poehler’s generosity as a performer has been no less groundbreaking. When Parks and Rec debuted, it was intended to be an Office-like vessel for Poehler’s outsize charms. But the factory model was a bad fit: Leslie Knope 1.0 was a flop, a cartoony weirdo who somehow succeeded despite her offputting quirks. This was Sitcom 101 for the typically broad male comedy star, but the cluelessness of the character clashed terribly with the sheer force of Poehler’s personality. Whether playing a sugar-bombed preteen or dropping a hot 16 while nine months pregnant, belly shaking like one of Flavor Flav’s oversize clocks, Poehler’s talent lies not in her fearlessness but in the follow-through. At her best, she’s the living embodiment of improv’s golden rule: to always say yes to whatever is thrown your way. And so Leslie’s script was flipped: Now she succeeded because of her type A obsessiveness; she was transformed into a steamroller of positivity — either climb aboard or get out of her way. The switch saved the show, created a worthy feminist icon, and brought the overall fiction more in line with the reality of its star. While not as involved behind the camera as Fey, Poehler’s role in the founding (and funding) of the Upright Citizens Brigade has filled the airwaves with funny people formed in her image, a generation of jubilant weirdos taught to be sweet without being soft, sharp without being cutting. — Andy Greenwald at Grantland
Esquire round up of ladies telling their favorite jokes. Most these are really bad, but I love really bad jokes.
Some of my favorites:
Deborah Ann Woll
Two nuns are driving down a road late at night when a vampire jumps onto the hood of their car. The one nun says to the other, “Quick! Show him your cross!” So the other nun leans out the window and shouts, “Get off our f—ing car!”
A cruise ship passes a small desert island. Everyone watches as a ratty-looking bearded man runs out on the beach and starts shouting and waving his hands.
“Who’s that?” asks one of the passengers.
“I have no idea,” replies the captain. “But every year we sail past and he goes nuts.”
Walking home after a girls’ night out, two women pass a graveyard and stop to pee. The first woman has nothing to wipe with, so she uses her underwear and tosses it. Her friend, however, finds a ribbon on a wreath, so she uses that. The next day, the first woman’s husband phones the second woman’s husband, furious: “My wife came home last night without her panties!” “That’s nothing,” says the other. “Mine came back with a card stuck between her butt cheeks that said, ‘From all of us at the fire station, we’ll never forget you.’”
Two women in Dublin see two drunk men coming down the street. The first woman says, “Will you look at those two drunks?” The other woman says, “Well, at least your feller has brought you some flowers.” And the first woman says, “You know what that means? I’ll be on my back with my legs in the air all week.” And the other woman asks, “Why, have you not got a vase?”