In the latest issue of The Hollywood Reporter, six of the world’s greatest female comedians — Lena Dunham, Amy Schumer, Gina Rodriguez, Kate McKinnon, Tracee Ellis Ross and Ellie Kemper — get together to discuss some important issues in the most brilliant way.
The women spoke about sex scenes and nude patches and fighting for more money for a stand-up gig, while also shedding light on the most overtly sexist thing that’s ever happened to them in Hollywood.
Speaking of the sexism they have faced, Dunham answered first, saying, “I heard a guy on my show say into his microphone, ‘I hate this job. I can’t wait to be back on a show where there’s a man at the helm.'”
Schumer interjected with a laugh, “I hope you sent [Girls actor-comedian] Colin Quinn home for that.”
Dunham: Colin is actually the world’s biggest feminist! Later, that same guy came up to me at lunch and said, “You’re really enjoying that buffet, aren’t you?”
Schumer: Who the f*** is this?
Dunham: He’s the worst person alive. I hope he reads this, which he won’t because he’s drunk.
Ross: I think racism trumps everything. [It all] happens behind the scenes.
Dunham: So many shows wouldn’t exist if you and Mara [Brock Akil] hadn’t made Girlfriends and pushed it as far as you did.
Ross: We did 176 episodes.
Ross: Being on a show run by a woman with four women leads gives you a template that when you walk out into the world, you don’t see it. It changed my expectations.
Image: The Hollywood Reporter
They also went on to discuss the responsibilities they feel about bringing attention to the fight against racism and sexism on their shows.
Dunham: There was a lot of dialogue about race when Girls started. I’d been thinking so much about representing weirdo, chubby girls and strange half-Jews that I had forgotten that there was an entire world of women being underserved.
Rodriguez: I don’t believe it’s an issue of hard-core racism [in Hollywood].
Schumer: It’s ignorance.
Rodriguez: Lack of being surrounded by a culture.
Ross: We’re quick to vilify people instead of acknowledging we all have these huge blind spots.
Dunham: I also hate how the comedy community is so defensive. People are unwilling to learn. There was a big issue a few years ago with Daniel Tosh and rape jokes. But there couldn’t be a civil conversation about it within the comedy community. I’m a sexual-assault survivor, so I would love to sit down and have a totally nonjudgmental conversation with a male comedian who makes rape jokes. But there isn’t room for that.
Ross: It’s a scary thing. I think that’s part of what’s happening around race, too. It’s not just race. It’s socioeconomic.
Rodriguez: It’s also about what Hollywood finds financially beneficial. So when we show them shows like Jane the Virgin and Fresh Off the Boat…
Dunham: And Shonda Rhimes owns the entire television mainstay.
Rodriguez: Show them it’s all a good investment. And it’s not about race. When you vilify it, people shut down.
It’s a long interview, but if you want to read more be sure to head over to The Hollywood Reporter.