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For more than a century, female comedians have left an indelible mark on the fabric of our society. They have amused us and challenged us, and we have howled with laughter as they awakened us to our strengths and foibles.A film series presented by UC Santa Barbara’s Carsey-Wolf Center showcases the achievement of women in American film and television comedy.
“Women in Comedy” pays homage to the women comedians of today and yesteryear and also to the Carsey-Wolf Center namesake Marcy Carsey. With partner Tom Werner and their television production company Carsey-Werner, Carsey changed the television landscape with a string of hits in the 1990s, including “Roseanne,” “3rd Rock from the Sun,” “That ‘70s Show” and “The Cosby Show.”
The “Women in Comedy” series kicks off Thursday, April 12, with actress and comedian Laraine Newman, a member of the “Saturday Night Live” original — and legendary — cast. Among highlights from the late-night television series’ long history, Newman will speak in conversation with UCSB Pollock Theater Director Matthew Ryan about the work of women comedians in television.
Other offerings in the series include the 1999 film “Drop Dead Gorgeous” with Patrice Petro, a professor of film and media studies at UCSB and director of the Carsey-Wolf Center, moderating a post-screening discussion with actress Mindy Sterling, also of the “Austin Powers” franchise; the 2013 documentary “Whoopi Goldberg Presents Moms Mabley”; “The Royal Tenenbaums” with Gwyneth Paltrow; and a pair of classic silent films — “Won In A Cupboard” (1914), directed by Mabel Normand, and “The Oyster Princess” (1919), directed by Ernst Lubitsch.
“There has been a wealth of new scholarship on women in comedy, which highlights both the past successes and current visibility of women comedians as performers, writers, and producers,” said Petro. “Comedy has long opened up vast possibilities for women as a means of expression, artistic creation and political intervention, and our series aim is …