Bette Makes Oxygen’s ’50 Funniest Women’ List

Mister D: And this is why lists are bullshit. Who makes up these lists anyway and what gives them the priveledge to make up this crap? At leat Bette made the list…so that’s a positive. All of these women have something to bring to the table, but we, as individuals have our own preferences. This boils down to politics, ratings, persuasion, and patootie. But it may be fun to watch the clips they play.

Photo: Mazur

The Joke’s on Oxygen’s ’50 Funniest Women’ List
From: The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel | Date: June 13, 2007

Back in January, Vanity Fair ran a piece by noted columnist, gadfly and self-important doofus Christopher Hitchens titled “Why Women Aren’t Funny.”

His explanation, to boil it down, was, “They don’t need to be, `cuz they’re sexy and they can have babies,” an argument he buttressed with lengthy quotations from dear, dead Rudyard Kipling, who, in addition to his wisdom in the matter of gender, also had some fun ideas on race.

Anyhoo, the folks at Oxygen either haven’t read Hitchens or are bravely carrying on in spite of him, because they’re devoting two full hours to toasting “The 50 Funniest Women Alive.”

By their very nature, these lists of “100 top …” or “10 best …” whatevers are easy to pick apart.

Why, for example, is People’s annual “50 Most Beautiful People” issue invariably dominated by Americans and Brits?

Don’t you suspect that, if the People people loo ked a little harder, they’d find some jaw-dropping hotties in Mongolia, Mali, Myanmar or even itty-bitty Monaco?

Humor being notoriously hard to translate and mimes being sadly out of fashion, you can’t really fault Oxygen for overlooking Mongolia in this case. Still, some of the omissions are amazing.

I’m not talking about the likes of Nora Ephron, Maureen Dowd, Fran Lebowitz or “Bridget Jones” creator Helen Fielding, all of whom have written a funny line or three. Nobody wants to see writers, even photogenic ones like Dowd, on TV.

I’m talking about “Saturday Night Live’s” Amy Poehler, Maya Rudolph and Kristen Wiig.

I mean, have these people seen Poehler doing Dakota Fanning, Rudolph doing Donatella Versace or Wiig doing just about anything, including her small but devastating role as the obnoxious TV executive in the movie “Knocked Up”?

Do the list-makers have no memory, or no Nick at Nite?

Are they ignorant of Helen Hunt, Mary Tyler Moore, Valerie Harpe r, Betty White, Bea Arthur, Cloris Leachman, Carol Kane, Shelley Long, Penny Marshall, Julie Kavner, Jane Curtin, Nora Dunn, Jan Hooks, Ana Gasteyer, Cheri Oteri and Andrea Martin?

What are Janeane Garofalo, Jennifer Saunders, Sandra Bernhard, Kathy Najimy and Carrie Fisher _ chopped liver?

No lifetime achievement kudos to Barbra Streisand or unsung heroine’s nod to Rachael Harris, whose deadpan, fast-talking T-Mobile commercial alone makes me want to build a shrine to her somewhere?

Not that the Oxygen people didn’t make some good calls.

It’s hard to argue with their top three picks _ Ellen DeGeneres, Whoopi Goldberg and Carol Burnett _ except maybe to wonder whether Ellen ought to be bumped down a couple of notches in favor of the insanely funny, ridiculously prolific Whoopi and Carol.

Or Carol and Whoopi _ I can’t decide.

And it’s good to see shout-outs to Julia Louis-Dreyfus (No. 4), Lily Tomlin (No. 8), Megan Mullally (No. 16), Catherine O’Hara (No. 2 9) Jaime Pressly (No. 33), Cameron Diaz (No. 35) and others.

But really, just who decided that Kelly Ripa (No. 6), Mo’Nique (No. 10), Sandra Bullock (No. 15) and Kathy Griffin (No. 17) are funnier than Bette Midler (No. 19), Wanda Sykes (No. 26), Joan Cusack (No. 31) and Tina Fey (No. 39)?

Ripa, incidentally, is the host of the special, which includes very quick clips of all 50 funny femmes doing their thing. She’s cute, but she’s no Diane Keaton (No. 37).

Then again, if you’re Christopher Hitchens, I suppose all of this is just laughable _ and not in that robust, knee-slapping, macho way, either, but in some weak, silly, tee-hee, girly way.

And that goes double for Rudyard Kipling.



When: 8 p.m. EDT Saturday, repeated at 10 p.m. Saturday, 1 and 5:30 p.m. Sunday and 8 p.m. Wednesday

Where: Oxygen Television


Joanne Weintraub

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