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We Killed: The Rise of Women in American Comedy Hardcover – October 16, 2012
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Top Customer Reviews
At first, I thought the format was a awkward and I wanted a little more to connect the conversations, but then I forgot the format and was just enjoying reading about all these women (and a few men) talking about what it was like to write, perform, and get a foot in the door.
If you ever mistakenly thought that women aren't funny, you just have to read the lineup in this book to remind you of all the women who have made us laugh since the 1960s. Carol Burnett, Penny Marshall, Lily Tomlin, Mary Tyler Moore, and dozens more are all here. Even though Kohen includes a wide cross-section of women in comedy, you're bound to notice some of the women who aren't in the book, such as Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, and Betty White. The sheer number of notable women in comedy should prove the point that women are funny, and these are just the women on screen.
Reading about how some of my favorites got their starts was fun, but the real power of this book is in how the women dealt with the various degrees of sexism that existed in the 1960s and in many cases still exist today.Read more ›
I read the book on a Kindle PaperWhite (I love this reader!), but on this platform, it is difficult to switch back and forth between multiple pages and track names. After reading it, I pulled the book into my desktop Kindle app, and copied the list of interviewees into a Word document so that I could continue my research (and laughing).
As time goes buy, it'll become more and more important to couple this book with performance videos, an activity that is exceptionally rewarding!
My takeaway is that what seems effortless requires an enormous amount of study and practice, but even more important is association with like-minded people. And I am impressed with the need by comedians for audience time! As a writer myself (and one who is now studying how to create informative videos), I, too, need feedback and friendship, or the act of writing becomes valueless. While a good stage today is the provided by the Intranet, a production by itself is not enough without eliciting a response.
If you are researching tips on how to be a better entertainer (or creative person), want to know more about many fabulously funny people, and be inspired by the progression of talents over time, this is the book for you.
“Comedy has always reflected society- its values, taboos, norms. Surely, then, it only makes sense that the rise of women in comedy has run parallel to the rise of women in out society” (5). This is one of several hooks in the introduction, however I lost interest hereafter.
Kohen’s introductions to chapters are concise, consisting mostly of history with a sprinkle of her own observation.
The format of the book is awkward. Each paragraph is an oral account of club proprietors, writers, performers, producers, etc.- the name and profession in bold type followed by their personal story. The problem with this is, the book gave little indication of its format, thus confusing me right out the gate. Another reason this is troublesome is because it doesn’t move the history along. There is an abundance of information embedded in the oral accounts and I learned a great deal, but I felt like I had to hunt for the information. Not everything accounted for needed to be recounted.
Kohen’s book is well researched and surely informative. I loved learning how women dealt with sexism in each of their generations, past to present. I learned Phyllis Diller preferred to work gay clubs because they were chic; the audience had higher brow expectations for jokes unlike the vaudeville clubs.
I appreciate Kohen creating an inclusive environment in her book- men and women participate in the discussion- this is how feminism is thrives and paradigms begin to shift.
Kohen does a wonderful job researching and including so many wonderful people, but I feel there might be a few missing pieces.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Fantastic book on the origins of female comedians. Very nicely put together and very easy reading.Published 12 months ago by ralph capeluto
A useful tool but not a book to sit down and read. The collected interviews offer information but the book offers little perspective.Published on May 21, 2014 by Mary Fisher
I enjoyed reading about women comic that I had never heard of, and more about one's that I knew about. Boy what a tough time they had getting their foot in the door. Read morePublished on April 9, 2014 by Joan Krieger
Of course this is a book about the women comedians of now and the past, but interestingly, the portraits are painted (for the most part) by other women comedians talking about each... Read morePublished on March 22, 2014 by Christopher W. Graul
Yes, women comics are featured - and that's great! But if you like the behind-the-scenes look into comedy, it's for all to read. Read morePublished on March 5, 2014 by Shelley
What a great book. Every comic—male, female, or other—should read this book, and know their history as well as this book conveys it.Published on November 6, 2013 by DanaNYC
It's a great history of women in comedy and I learned a lot from it! It's interesting to hear about women getting into the comedy scene back in the 40's, 50's, and 60's from... Read morePublished on October 18, 2013 by Joanne