The Girl in the Show
Three Generations of Comedy, Culture, and Feminism
by Anna Fields
Pub Date 08 Aug 2017
“I’m not funny at all. What I am is brave.” —Lucille Ball
From female pop culture powerhouses dominating the entertainment landscape to 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.”
“As a woman in comedy, I’m excited someone finally wrote this. The Girl in the Show taps into the deeper heart of comedy and what it’s really like to be a woman on the stage. Anna Fields gets it.” —actress Molly Shannon
"Scrappy, brilliant, and funny, The Girl in the Show delivers the story of women comedians as the story of feminism, lighting up the connections among vaudeville's grande dames, television’s sitcom queens, and the wild women of stand-up, talk-shows, and web series. This book will fire you up for the next protest march and will also send you looking for clips of Gilda Radner, Lily Tomlin, and Moms Mabley." —Linda Mizejewski, author of Pretty/Funny: Women Comedians and Body Politics
"A nuanced, thoughtful exploration of funny women past and present. Fields offers deft insight and a wakeup call for how much work is still necessary to dismantle the Patriarchy—both in comedy and in the broader cultural landscape. An excellent addition to feminist bookshelves everywhere." —Kelly Jensen, editor of Here We Are: Feminism for the Real World