Can Funny Be Sexy?

Being funny is typically considered a masculine quality. The funny guy tends to be the life of the party. The funny girl tends to be traditionally “unfeminine.” The funny girl is the overweight girl, the ugly girl, the you fill in the blank girl. The funny girl is associated with something other than the norm. While there has definitely been a lot of progress for women in comedy, as I was exploring different sources for my sources, I kept pondering this idea: why don’t people associate funny with “sexy” or “femininity”? Yes, we can turn to all the traditional bullshit of “women aren’t funny” or “women weren’t thought of as funny for so long, so you have to break the stigma,” but there has to be some other modern-day reasons for it.

Is it just too intimidating for a women to “have it all?” Is it too threatening for a woman to be able to pull a man down with her words, the way that he can pull a woman down? I feel like now that it is 2013, we have definitely gotten over the SHOCK FACTOR that women can be funny, but still female comedians face a certain level of judgement that is definitely not universal.

Recently we have definitely seen examples of just how sexy funny can be. Think: Sara Silverman, Tina Fey, Chelsea Handler. And yes, Sarah Silverman may be a little too raunchy for your taste, but think about what she does and what she is saying, putting personal taste aside. While this is not entirely what my final project is about, I think this is a large component. Physical appearance is something that has both positively and negatively effected women of all types. Sometimes it helps a woman to be pretty, sometimes it hurts her. Sometimes it helps her to not be attractive to get ahead, sometimes it pulls her back.

I have uploaded two readings to Ctools, which I will send out an email for and I have one source reading below (well, it is a YouTube video, sorry Ray!) that I think will help you get a good idea of what my project is all about. One of the readings is an excerpt from the book “We Killed: The Rise of Women in American Comedy.” The other reading is a case study about Sarah Silverman and how big of an impact that she had on female stand up comedians of the 2000s. Again, these will be posted on Ctools since I don’t want to get in trouble for copyright issues. It’s always a good idea to stay out of legal trouble.

This video clip is of Janeane Garofalo and if you don’t know who she is…it’s about time you learned! Janeane basically led the alternative comedy movement of the 90s, a movement that focused more on storytelling and the “everyday-ness” of life than on structure jokes. While she did not make the movement happen completely by herself, Janeane is largely responsible for this movement taking off and for the comedians of the 90s taking over different venues, such as coffee shops and theaters, as the comedy club craze of the 80s began to wind down.

Attempting to be Resourceful with Sources

While trying to map out the various components of my final project, I came upon the realization that I am going to need a lot of background information. My project is divided into three different components and each component needs its own research. The three parts of my project are as follows:

1) 10-12 page research paper about the rise of women in comedy, what modern-day women 18-34 think is funny, and exploring the idea of “women’s humor” and the age-old belief that “women aren’t funny.” I want to explore these ideas through the lens of generational differences and gender. I’m going to look at this through the constructs of Second City to Saturday Night Live, television and the comedy club scenes of New York, LA and Chicago. I want to view this concept as a bottom-up exploration of the topic.

2) Bi-weekly observation journal in the form of a blog to use to write down my ideas and explore potential topics for my comedy sketches. I have always wanted to keep a blog and this part of the project provides me an interesting opportunity to force myself to do something that I have always wanted to do, but have not set aside time for.

3) One comedy sketch per week. By the end of the semester I will have compiled a full comedy sketch show. I need to do some additional research on what exactly constitutes as a comedy sketch show (i.e. how many sketches, an overarching topic, etc.) I was maybe thinking of recording a table read of the sketches if I have time. I would love some suggestions on books, articles or blogs.

Some questions that I want to explore are if the existence of “women’s humor” is proof of success, failure or a combination of both. If the stigma of women not being funny has contributed to this or further propelled women to work harder. Within my final research paper I want to position myself against the idea that the way women are funny will always be “marginal” to “funny,” which is broadly understood as a male concept

Current Source List:

  • We Killed –Yael Kohen
  • The Compass: Improvisational Theater That Revolutionized American Comedy
  • Live From New York: An Uncensored History of Saturday Night Live –Tom Shales and James Andrew Miller
  • Something Wonderful Right Away: An Oral History of the Second City and the Compass Players –Jeffery Sweet
  • Books that people wrote about themselves or that were written about, impersonal analysis history and first person prose reports*

I would like to conduct interviews with people or local comedians. I would also appreciate any book/article/blog recommendations.

Thanks everyone!

The Future Is Not Far Away

After a brief hiatus from the Minor in Writing blog, I am finally back! I forgot how difficult it was to force yourself to sit down and take ten minutes to write a brief post. This should be the easiest thing I do all semester, yet it is always the one that I push to the side. But, don’t worry Minor…I have not forgotten about you! It has been great to see that the Minor is improving and expanding in the way that it has in just over a year and a half. Beginning in the first cohort of the minor, it seems that the first course, now Writing 220, has taken a shape and personality of its own. It is great to see the diversity of students who have chosen this minor and the sense of community that the faculty has encompassed within the department.

In the month of October, as I try to focus on the present, I keep ending up focusing on the future. This is likely because I am a senior and it is finally starting to be a little bit scary that I will be graduating in May. I’m sure many of you who are pursuing a creative or non-traditional career path with sympathize with my stress over this time of the year. Our friends in the Ross Business School or engineering or even just our friends seeking to pursue a finance or analyst career are going through the recruiting process. Our friends who are applying to law school, medical school and dental school are completing their applications and sitting back to wait for responses.

But, for people like me, an individual seeking a career in the entertainment industry, now is not the time to start your career search. It is hard to just sit back and watch others stress over interviews and applications when there is really no work to be done. Sometimes I find myself doing needless job searches only to realize that these positions are immediately hiring. And that is the case with most nontraditional careers. They want you to be able to start within weeks, sometimes even days, of receiving your application. It is an interesting realization, but one that also removes some stress from my life. It is not that I’m doing nothing, it is that there is nothing to be done yet.

SIDENOTE: For all of you who are still Saturday Night Live fans (I may be the number one), this will really make you laugh. I initially thought that this was just a random opportunity to make fun for Brad Pitt, but then I saw the real commercial on TV. In case you haven’t heard, Brad Pitt is the new spokesman for Chanel #5 Perfume, a very questionable decision.

SNL Version: http://www.nbc.com/saturday-night-live/video/brad-pitt-ad-4/1421395

Real Version: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mGs4CjeJiJQ
Happy Thursday!
Dana

So I Guess That’s That.

Wow.

That would be one way to summarize my experience with building my e-portfolio. Although clearly that one word with three measly letters may not seem descriptive, I truly am at a loss for words. When we were first assigned the e-portfolio (not at the beginning of the class, but the actual assignment not too long ago), I remember feeling something like this…

  thinking to myself, “How on Earth am I going to do that?” The whole assignment
seemed overwhelming. In fact, this is how I felt for each assignment throughout
the
entire course. Except, I always somehow managed to exceed my expectations for
myself. I did not have any idea how to create a website, I did not even know that
the term “widget” was real. In times of real stress and panic, I kept thinking that
I was going to have to just turn in half done work. And, if any of you are like me,
that is, you are a perfectionist, I cannot turn in work that does not at least feel
above average.

But, once I finally let go of my stress and decided to start playing around with
Word Press, I found myself actually having fun. I also found myself creating
something that I was proud of and that was extremely rewarding. I knew from the start that I wanted my e-portfolio to reflect my individual personality outside of the classroom, my personal writing personality as well as my academic writing abilities. I decided to model my portfolio off of other professionals that I have met throughout various work experiences. I based my e-portfolio around the idea of how I would present myself in an interview. I wanted to present my best image to the world wide web, but I also wanted to make sure that who I really am showed through. The incorporation of the self-reflection pieces, “Why I Write” and “Writing in New Media” allowed for my creative thought process to be displayed.

I also incorporated my work from the online women’s magazine HerCampus. In addition to my academic work, these writing pieces demonstrate a different writing style. I think in any aspect of life it is important to be a versatile person. It is important to be able to adapt to different situations and that is something I also aim for with my writing. I want to be able to convey my ideas clearly through a variety of different styles as well as different mediums.

Link to my e-portfolio: DANA’S WORD PRESS

I can honestly say, although I am extremely excited to be done with this project, that I am proud of the work that I have done throughout the semester in this class and that my e-portfolio (hopefully!) displays this. Without the help of each individual in this class, I do not think that any of us could have produced the final products that we did. Feeding off of each others ideas has proved to be one of the most valuable aspects of my creativity. I enjoyed seeing what other people were doing and the interesting ways that their minds work. I hope that we can continue this process in the 400 level course next year.

So as a good bye to this blog (at least for now)…THIS IS HOW I FEEL

WAHOOO WE ARE DONE!!! 🙂

 

Thinking About My E-Portfolio

I realized that I have been seriously lacking on my blog posts and since the end of the semester is right around the corner, I figured that I need to change that. I also wanted to think through my ideas for my e-portfolio and I have found that when I start talking or WRITING, I usually come up with my best ideas. I have created a basic frame on Word Press for my e-portfolio including a variety of pages and sections. Organization is a key aspect of my portfolio. I definitely want my site to be not only aesthetically pleasing, but also easy to navigate. To showcase the work that I have done in this class, I plan to have a tab that says “Writing Across Media” that displays my source piece, my re-purposing piece and my re-mediation piece. I plan to title the sub-tabs in a way that individuals who are not in our class would understand as well.

Since I think that I will primarily be using this site for professional purposes, I am going to include an About Me Bio, including a photo of myself. I also am going to have a tab with my most up-to-date resume. I have not worked out the exact details about what other work I want to incorporate on my page. I also think that I want to incorporate the work that I have done for the website HerCampus.com because this demonstrates my ability to write in different genres and highlights that I am not just an academic writer.

Lastly, since I woke up in a great mood for an unknown reason, I will leave you guys with a little something that is funny:

 

The Voice Thread Experience – Talking Through The Creative Process

The entire process of transforming a work from a text medium to a video medium has, without a doubt, been both a stressful experience and a great learning experience. There are so many things that I would like to be able to do, yet I don’t know exactly how. This is especially frustrating, since I have big visions for my project and I can see already what I would like the final product to look like. The more difficult part is actually making it happen. Like many aspects of my life, I tend to dream big and sometimes I need to just take a step back and make sure that I have realistic goals for what I want my end product to be. The voice thread that I created will talk you through my creative process, but as of now, it only incorporates text. I have my photos that I want to use now, but I am in the process of adding them to iMovie. This is really where I am coming into some trouble.

MY VOICE THREAD:

http://voicethread.com/share/2491870/

I did, however, find that Voice Thread is an awesome tool. It is a great way to be able to explain to other people what you were trying to do with your work. When I add the photos in later today (hopefully someone in class can show me how to do it!), I will be able to produce another Voice Thread that better reflects what my end product is going to look like. I have my filming days set and I am confident that I will be able to produce something great, I just know it’s going to take a lot of work. But, that is what I find most appealing about this class. It challenges me.

The Mustache Craze

I was not sure if we were supposed to do a post for last week, so I figured I would write a short post (just in case) regarding a topic that I really need some insight on. This may come as some news to some, but to others, you might actually be able to explain to me this new phenomenon of the MUSTACHE. Is this just some hipster thing that is created just to be different or is this something that actually has significance? Because it is really taking off in popularity. I would like to quickly point out that I have nothing against hipsters and also that if you are a hipster, you probably wouldn’t know it or admit it because that would be really un-hip of you.

  

Take one walk into Middle Earth on  South U and you can find an array of mustache products. Whether they are just a mustache variety pack, a cool mustache keychain or even mustache t-shirts…it is all very strange to me. I have posted some photos of examples and a link to a site that shows just how many interesting and creative things you can do with a mustache.

Click this for a great mustache website!

Thoughts On My Portfolio

I don’t want to be that person who stresses out the rest of the class by already having some thoughts about my final e-portfolio, BUT I have been thinking about what I want to do for this final project. I realized that I usually tend to have a lot of creative ideas, but then don’t have the motivation to follow through with them completely. I am deciding to NOT do that with this project. Procrastination is one of my biggest specialties and I am trying to stray away from that this semester. Ideally, by the end of college, I want my e-portfolio to represent me as an individual in the context of being a writer, meaning that I want to be able to have a complete site that displays my best writing both academic and outside of the classroom.

I have experience writing for different websites, which I mostly have done just for fun and to gain print (online) journalism experience. I thought it would be fun to incorporate the work that I have done for these other mediums on my e-portfolio site. I also thought it might be interesting to share these online magazines that I have had the opportunity to write for with a group of people who might actually be interested in them. Last fall, I wrote for the fashion blog, College Fashionista, which is a fashion blog that highlights the “Fashionistas” on campus. I wrote for the University of Michigan page for a section called “Trend of the Week.” The site can be viewed at CollegeFashionista.com/university_of_michigan. Although the site’s format has been changed since I wrote for it (in my opinion for the better), it is a great site for anyone who is interested in fashion and also a great site to apply to write for if you are interested in fashion journalism.

I currently write for women’s online lifestyle magazine, HerCampus.com, which was started by 3 Harvard graduates. The site has expanded from just one campus to over 75 in just this past year. Campuses around the nation have their own page on the site for their school, which allows readers to read personally relevant articles about happenings, events and people on campus. I write for the section “Campus Celebrities,” which highlights the interesting stories of inspiring women on campus. This has allowed me to reach out to and meet a lot of cool people who I would never have come in contact with otherwise. You can check out this website at: HerCampus.com/umich. My personal work can be read at HerCampus.com/dana-narens.

Give me some feedback! –Assignment 3

I figured that for this week’s blog post, I would do what most students in our class seemed to find very helpful. I am going to share my ideas for assignment 3, the re-mediating an argument project, and hopefully, some of you creative cats (weird?) will help me out! I wrote my re-purposing essay as a magazine article for Women’s Health focusing on how America’s current beauty standards for American women are too thin as well as impossible to achieve. I decided to make a PSA for a made up organization called “Project Rebuilding American Beauty: Help American Rebuild Its Image of Beauty, One Woman At A Time.”

This video is going to include real statistics about the frequency and severity of eating disorders in the U.S. as well as feature live interviews with students around campus. Particularly, women discussing what part of their body they are unsatisfied with (if any, but most are!) and men discussing what they really think makes a woman beautiful. I can tell you now that most guys I have asked have not said stick-thin or size 0. The majority of answers that I have gotten are more focused on personality or other non-physical attributes. This is honestly very comforting to hear and I think will also help my project’s main argument a lot. I think it is important for there to be more positive body image content.

Personally, I have a few friends who are suffering from or have overcome an eating disorder and it is a really serious matter. Women, especially young women, don’t realize the lifelong impact that their dangerous eating and exercising habits are having on their bodies. This topic is something that I am personally invested in, but also something that has to stop. Thin models are just getting thinner. Extremely beautiful women are still being photo-shopped in advertisements and campaigns. There needs to be more action and more voices of reason.

I created my rough draft of my story board, but if anyone has any ideas, critiques or comments, it would be much appreciated!

A comical look at the serious topic of distorted body images. I have linked the photo to a website that tells the horrific statistics of eating disorders in America.

Readjusting

As I read through Schon’s “Teaching Artistry Through Reflection-in-Action,” I was trying to come up with a title that would ultimately sum up my interpretation of the reading. What I came up with was “readjusting.” To me, the act of problem solving comes down to this one very word. People act how they have learned to act either by rules, observation or other sources in the context of various situations, but what happens when we encounter an unexpected result? What if the intended outcome is not the actual outcome? We must learn to readjust not only our actions, but the way we think about a situation in order to actively pursue a solution.This requires what the article refers to as “reflection-in-action” or in other words, reflecting on one’s actions while they are occurring.

It is an interesting phenomenon that people can possess “knowing-in actions,” meaning actions that were once learned and are not forgotten, yet for the most part, the process of the teaching the action to another is difficult to do. The article uses riding a bicycle as an example. I can personally attest to the fact that once one learns how to ride a bike, even if they do not ride one for over a year, when they get back on their bike, they will be able to ride it. This summer, I lived in Chicago and was faced with the challenge of using different modes of transportation than I was used to from my suburban upbringing. I had not rode a bike the entire school year before this past summer, yet when I began to ride my bike to get to and from work, I was instantly capable of doing so.

The reflection process is simple to understand yet appears complex when written out in full detail. A primary component of active reflection requires “on-the-spot-experiment.” I looked at this experience as brainstorming innovative ideas to use when I come across an unexpected problem within whatever I am doing.

Schon’s article also brings up professional practice and how each different profession has its own set of practices, rules, characteristics, etc. that are specific to it. The article’s citings of an improv jazz musician group and of a good conversation flow really helped me to understand this point. Lastly, Schon also speaks of “practicums” or the place where a certain practice is applicable. If one recognizes the attitude and general feel of a particular practicum, they will be more likely to quickly pick up on some common or well-known practices within the said profession.