- Silent partners in ’20 presidential campaign deserve a better script
- 30 Best Movies About Friendship — Comedy and Drama Friendship Movies
- Everybody Loves Raymond deserves to be remembered as a TV classic
- 1) The characters aren’t just well-drawn. Their relationships are as well
- 2) Raymond started small — and stayed small
- 3) The cast is perfection
- 4) The show brought a surprising amount of psychological depth to its characters
- 5) The show changed — but not too much
- The Stand Restaurant & Comedy Club
- ‘Turning 40 and Having Twins Made Me a Better Comedian’
- Best Comedy Movies on Hulu Right Now
- Hunt for the Wilderpeople
- I, Tonya
- Sorry to Bother You
- National Lampoon’s Vacation
- The Interview
Silent partners in ’20 presidential campaign deserve a better script
By Karen Tumulty
The Washington Post
Richard Nixon once offered Bill and Hillary Clinton some unsolicited advice on how married couples should conduct themselves if one of them happens to be running for president.
“If the wife comes through as being too strong and too intelligent,” the former president told The New York Times in 1992, “it makes the husband look a wimp.”
But what if she is the one on the ballot?
There are no fewer than five couples testing that proposition as we ramp up to the 2020 election season. When it is the wife who is making her case to the voters, the answer thus far appears to be: The husband makes himself scarce.
John Bessler, Bruce Mann, Douglas Emhoff, Jonathan Gillibrand and Abraham Williams are in no immediate danger of becoming household names. (You might be drawing a blank.
They are the spouses of Democratic presidential contenders — respectively, Sens.
Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, Kamala Harris of California, Kirsten Gillibrand of New York and Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii.)
The husbands give few, if any, interviews. While you might spot them occasionally at campaign events, it is usually at a distance from the stage.
As Gabbard gives her stump speech, Williams, a cinematographer, can be found in the crowd behind a camera, not in front.
After Warren’s rallies, more of her fans clamor to have their picture taken with her golden retriever Bailey than with Mann, Warren’s legal-historian husband.
This, no doubt, will change, whether the men know it yet. As recently as 2004, Howard Dean’s wife, Judith Steinberg Dean, a physician, tried to tend to her patients, rather than her husband’s effort to win the Democratic nomination. When her absence became an issue, she was practically dragooned onto the former Vermont governor’s campaign bus in Iowa.
The Clintons, of course, are not particularly instructive when it comes to figuring all of this out. They offered themselves as a package deal from the start. “Buy one. Get one free,” he quipped, setting off a national argument that saw her branded as “the yuppie wife from hell” and “Lady Macbeth of
Arkansas.” When she twice ran for president, it was far from clear whether her husband’s looming presence and occasional outbursts helped or hurt.
That so many women are in the 2020 race is only one factor that may redefine the expectations Americans have of those who would share the residential floors of the White House with the next president.
The campaign’s crop of partners also includes Chasten Glezman, the husband of South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg. Glezman is a teacher who does comedy on the side and who gins up support for his spouse on his highly entertaining feed.
And if Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., remains single and is elected, he would be the first bachelor to enter the White House since President Grover Cleveland in 1885. (Cleveland married the following year.)
All of which suggests the time has finally arrived for a long-overdue reconsideration of the role of the presidential consort.
The traditional title of first lady comes with no job description beyond the presumption that she should take on an unobjectionable cause or two and enthusiastically offer her unpaid services as event planner, decorator and catering manager. As first gentleman, would venture capitalist Gillibrand or litigator Emhoff be picking out the china?
Standards are changing, even for couples playing more familiar roles.
It was considered unremarkable — even expected — for Nancy Reagan and Barbara Bush to be seen and not heard on the campaign stage, silent presences beaming at their husbands. But when former congressman Beto O’Rourke’s wife, Amy Hoover Sanders, did that during his announcement video, the image generated a torrent of commentary and an article in The New York Times.
O’Rourke, meanwhile, felt compelled to apologize for joking in Iowa that his wife has been raising their two sons and daughter “sometimes with my help.”
But Democratic pollster Celinda Lake notes that when women with young children run for office, they often deliberately put their husbands in their campaign ads to make precisely that point. “They’re there to reassure voters that someone is there to take care of the kids,” Lake told me.
Meanwhile, with so many women in the race, male candidates are ly to be relying on their wives more heavily than usual for validation with female voters.
The true running mates in 2020 will be a diverse cast. They are male and female, straight and gay. What we can hope is that, at the end of it all, they will have at last written a new script — which is no script at all — for the most difficult supporting role in politics.
30 Best Movies About Friendship — Comedy and Drama Friendship Movies
Thelma and Louise; Romy and Michele; Carrie, Miranda, Samantha, and Charlotte — what do these very different women all have in common? They're all best friends, of course.
Sure, we don't plan on robbing any banks or shopping for Manolo Blahniks with our besties anytime soon — but if you've ever had a friend become your “chosen family,” you understand how beautiful, deep, and life-changing a friendship can be.
Don't get us wrong, we love a good romantic comedy as much as the next girl, but platonic relationships can be just as important and impactful as romantic ones, and we love seeing a film that celebrates that.
As an adult, you learn that it takes time and effort to maintain friendships, but you also learn how important it is to keep a connection with the special people in your life.
After all, close friends do lower stress, keep you sharp, and help you live longer, according to recent research! From laugh-out-loud comedies Bridesmaids to dramas that will tug on your heartstrings Beaches, these are the movies that will remind how important the female friendships in your life really are. So for your next movie night, invite your girlfriends over and put on one of these classic movies about friendship.
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1 The First Wives Club
Old friends played by Bette Midler, Goldie Hawn, and Diane Keaton reunite at a funeral only to realize that they have all been dumped by their husbands for younger women. The trio bands together to get their revenge.
2 9 to 5
This satire was way before its time. Dolly Parton, Jane Fonda, and Lily Tomlin (A.K.A. the girl gang we would all love to be a part of) are fed up with their chauvinist boss. After accidentally abducting him, they find the office runs much smoother without him — they just have to find a way to keep him the picture.
3 Mamma Mia! The Movie
Mamma Mia, how can I resist you? Before you say this ABBA-tracked musical is about romantic love, may I remind you that it was Donna's friends, The Dynamos, who were there for her over the years?
4 Now and Then
One unforgettable summer creates a lifelong bond between four childhood friends in this coming-of-age tale starring all of your favorite '90s actresses.
5 The Heat
Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy as police officers? This film from the director of Bridesmaids is just as funny as you would expect it to be.
6 Pitch Perfect
Anna Kendrick stars in this film as a loner musician who reluctantly finds her place in the hilarious and wonderfully weird world of college acapella.
7 The Joy Luck Club
Amy Tan's best-selling novel, The Joy Luck Club follows four Chinese immigrants and their second generation daughters as they learn more about each other, their families, and themselves.
8 Sister Act
As a lounge singer placed in a convent by the Witness Protection Program, Whoopi Goldberg's Deloris Wilson isn't too happy about having to hangout with a group of nuns. That is, until she joins the gospel choir and finds that a love of music binds them together.
9 Romy and Michele's High School Reunion
Supportive but naive best friends Romy and Michele decide to reinvent themselves at their high school reunion to impress the snobs that used to bully them, but things don't exactly go as planned for the pair.
10 A League of Their Own
Tom Hanks, Geena Davis, and Madonna (yes, that Madonna!) star in this comedy the true story of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League from the 1940s.
11 Frances Ha
In this black and white art-house flick, Lady Bird director Greta Gerwig stars as Frances, a dancer who hits personal and professional setbacks as her best friend get a new job and into a serious relationship.
A list of movies about female friendships wouldn't be complete without this tearjerker. The movie follows two childhood friends who share a bond that withstands fights, career up-and-downs, and heartbreak.
13 Hidden Figures
This 2016 hit is the little-known true story of three black NASA mathematicians who were integral to launching the first man into space.
As if! Beneath all the expensive clothes and valley girl slang, this 90s classic is a story about friendship and finding yourself.
A hilarious and honest look at adult female friendship, Kristen Wiig plays a woman whose life falls apart as she helps plan the wedding of her best friend Lillian, played by Maya Rudolph. Rose Byrne and Melissa McCarthy respectively steal scenes as Lillians too perfect new friend and clueless soon-to-be in-law.
16 Waiting to Exhale
Come for a heartwarming story of four friends who support each and help one another find the love that they deserve — stay for that iconic scene of Angela Bassett setting her ex's car on fire.
17 Sex and the City: The Movie
Sex and the City was the definitive show about female friendship, after all! The movie picks up four years after the series ended as Carrie prepares to finally marry Mr. Big.
18 The Craft
Sarah, played by Robin Turney, transfers to a new school and falls in with a group of girls rumored to be witches. However, they all soon learn that dabbling in the dark arts has its consequences.
19 The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants
the popular young adult book series, this movie follows a group of four friends that stay connected through a summer apart by sharing a “magic” pair of jeans.
20 Steel Magnolias
When aspiring beautician Annelle Dupuy, played by Daryl Hannah, moves into a small Louisiana town, she's welcomed by a close-knit group of women who support each other through thick and thin.
21 Girls Trip
The raunchy sleeper-hit of 2017, Girl's Trip follows four women played by Regina Hall, Jada Pinkett Smith, Queen Latifah, and Tiffany Haddish (in her breakout role) as they travel to New Orleans for the Essence Festival.
22 Whip It!
In Drew Barrymore's directorial debut, Ellen Page plays a pageant queen who finds friendship and self-confidence in secretly joining a roller derby league.
Labeled by some critics as “the female Superbad,” Kaitlyn Dever and Beanie Feldstein play two high achieving high school students trying to fit four years worth of fun into the night before graduation.
24 Set It Off
A group of four close friends living in poverty decide to start robbing banks to escape their circumstances in this 90s commercial and critical hit.
25 Charlie's Angels
While the 2019 remake of Charlie's Angels was, well, not received too warmly, we still have the campy fun of Drew Barrymore, Cameron Diaz, and Lucy Liu's 2000s romp.
26 Lady Bird
Fiercely independent Lady Bird (a nickname she gave herself) spends her senior year balancing a relationship with her best friend, a relationship with her mother, and deep desire to get her small town.
27 Thelma & Louise
Geena Davis and Susan Sarandon star as Thelma and Louise, two unsatisfied women who unexpectedly embark on a road trip that will change both of their lives forever.
28 Mean Girls
The clothes may be dated, but Tina Fey's hilarious and insightful script is timeless. Lindsay Lohan plays transfer student Cady Heron and who becomes indoctrinated in “The Plastics,” her school's most popular and ruthless clique.
29 Ghost World
Growing up is hard to do. Just ask Enid and Rebecca, the pair's us-vs-them mentality is challenged as Rebecca wants to move on after high school while Enid struggles to figure out who she wants to be.
30 Fried Green Tomatoes
Female friendship is the driving force behind this southern comedy-drama. Struggling housewife Evelyn forms a friendship of her own with the elderly Ninny as she listens to Ninny's fascinating tales about the Depression-area friendship between two women she knew, Ruth and Idgie.
Everybody Loves Raymond deserves to be remembered as a TV classic
The cast of Everybody Loves Raymond was a big part of why it was so good. CBS Photo Archive/Getty Images
If you are a TV fan with an opinion on Everybody Loves Raymond, the classic family sitcom that ran on CBS from 1996 to 2005, then that opinion ly tilts a bit negative. (Though, let’s face it, the odds are good you don’t have any opinion whatsoever.)
At a time when the TV comedy was increasingly embracing more cinematic forms and leaving the sound of live studio audience laughter behind, the stage-bound, audience laughter–enabled Raymond could feel a bit a relic.
Its performances were broad, sometimes overly so. Its characters could seem spiteful for the sake of seeming spiteful. And it was set in that weird TV netherworld where every problem boils down to the same handful of characters fretting endlessly about it.
The most common refutation of Raymond’s charms ran something this: “Oh, they’re always so angry and bitter toward each other. I hate that!”
And from watching just an episode or two, it’s easy to see how one would arrive at that impression. This is a show, after all, with lots of yelling and shrieking, with characters chewing each other out for no real reason.
But as the show turns 20, I wanted to put in a defense of the program, which I legitimately love. Everybody Loves Raymond isn’t just the last gasp of a dying TV genre or a bitter swan song for the traditional family sitcom. No, it’s a legitimately great TV show — and one of the most psychologically astute programs ever made.
Here are five reasons why.
1) The characters aren’t just well-drawn. Their relationships are as well
The marriage between Ray and Debra felt surprisingly fresh when the show debuted. CBS Photo Archive/Getty Images
One of the smartest things I’ve read about TV comedy writing came from Emmy-winning writer Ken Levine’s blog.
(Levine is most famous for his work on M*A*S*H and Cheers, but his list of credits touches on dozens of critically beloved TV comedies.) Yes, funny situations are important, he said, but more important are funny, unique relationships.
This is why, say, the family sitcom never seems to run juice.
For as many times as you see a husband and wife squaring off, or a mom and dad trying to wrangle their kids, or siblings screaming at each other, there are also a seemingly infinite number of permutations of those basic dynamics, simply because everybody who creates a family sitcom will have a slightly different take on how families operate, their own lives.
Raymond was created by series star Ray Romano and sitcom vet Phil Rosenthal, and the two drew much of their material from Romano’s standup comedy. As such, the relationships are crystal clear, even from the earliest episodes.
Ray’s wife Debra (Patricia Heaton) squabbles with him, sure, but the biggest source of their conflict is that his parents live right across the street, and he’s forever trapped between the roles of husband and son, sometimes within the same scene. Or take Ray’s relationship to his older brother, Robert (Brad Garrett), whose constant, burning envy of his younger sibling has curdled in adulthood into a psychological complex.
There were a lot of shows that copied Raymond in hopes of getting a small sliver of its success, but they missed the specificity with which the series drew its relationships from the very first episode. They also missed the way those relationships kept the show’s focus laser-sharp.
2) Raymond started small — and stayed small
Even the series finale, pictured here, was a very small-scale story. CBS Photo Archive/Getty Images
Most modern sitcoms are constructed of an A-story, which takes up the bulk of the action, and then a B-story and C-story.
(The amount of time they take up in the episode decreases the further down the alphabet you go.
) The pinnacle of this approach was 2003’s Arrested Development, which spun nine different stories in nearly every episode — one for every member of the Bluth family.
But Romano and Rosenthal wanted to deliberately cut against the trend of splintering the story into smaller and smaller pieces, which was trendy at the time of Raymond’s launch, thanks to Seinfeld. So Raymond has no B- or C-stories. It just has the A-story, and all of the series’ characters weave in and that story over the course of an episode.
“We happened to have a show where the family, the entire cast, lives in close proximity to each other, and they can all relate to the A-story,” Rosenthal told me in an interview at June’s Austin TV Festival.
“If a story is worth telling at all, we’re going to make it worth telling for the 22 minutes that we have. We don’t need to take time away to service characters in an almost obligatory or phony way.
It weakens the episode.”
If the stories had huge dramatic stakes, that might feel forced.
But the stories on Raymond are deliberately low-stakes stuff that feels it has high stakes — or, put another way, the stuff of endless family arguments that feel they’re never going to end.
Ray and his family squabble over the most mundane things, and even though you know they love each other deep down, the way those dumb arguments grow to encompass everybody onscreen feels a little a magic trick every week.
“Robert can weigh in with his opinion. [Parents] Marie and Frank can weigh in with their opinion. So the whole show is therefore structurally supported by the writing and the characters,” Rosenthal told me. “That was a very conscious decision to add weight and depth to the typical sitcom structure.”
3) The cast is perfection
Especially Peter Boyle and Doris Roberts. CBS
Nobody would have called Romano the world’s greatest actor at the start of Everybody Loves Raymond. He was often stiff and uneasy in front of the camera. But, most standup comedians, he had a natural gift for performing in front of an audience, and he quickly warmed to the task.
“While we were casting, I got a phone call, and Scott Baio was on the phone. He said, ‘I understand you’re casting a show called Everybody Loves Raymond. I’m interested in the part of Raymond,’” Rosenthal says with a laugh. “I said, ‘Scott, that’s very nice of you. I actually already have a Raymond.’ But I would tell Raymond, ‘You better be good, because I have Scott Baio waiting.’”
It certainly didn’t hurt that Romano surrounded himself with enormously gifted performers. Heaton had spent much of the early ’90s bouncing among shows where she was the best part of a flailing enterprise, while Garrett, with his huge frame and deep, deep voice, was a presence un anything else in TV comedy.
But the show’s secret weapons lay in Peter Boyle and Doris Roberts as Ray’s parents, Frank and Marie. Roberts’s overenthusiastic love — she mothered her younger son a small child who’s found a caterpillar and squeezes it so tightly it’s smushed — found its perfect counterpoint in Boyle’s lassez-faire attitude toward raising his boys.
But, of course, the longer the series went on, the more complexity those portrayals found.
4) The show brought a surprising amount of psychological depth to its characters
And was rewarded with Emmys for its troubles.
Jeffrey Mayer/Getty Images
For such a traditional sitcom, Raymond was intent on drilling down into its characters’ psyches and finding out why they were the way they were.
It was a comedy, yes, with punchlines and setups and the , but it had the feel of a really good stage comedy, one where the laughs are there to mask some degree of pain.
Ray and Robert lived forever with the knowledge that their upbringing had steered the rapids of their parents’ sometimes rocky marriage.
Debra had to watch as her own parents’ seemingly perfect relationship — at least compared to her in-laws’ relationship — fell apart.
Marie’s overcompensation slowly peeled back to reveal how neglected she was in her marriage and how unfulfilled she felt as a housewife.
It was Frank, though, for whom the show saved its biggest and best revelations. Usually sitting off to the side and spouting acidic insults and quips, Frank had a genuine love for his wife and sons that was never in question, but he always felt distant.
And yet in later seasons, the show featured several perfect, tiny moments — which Boyle played with just the right restraint — in which Frank explained that his own childhood had been filled with abuse, and he had vowed to never do the same to his own children.
It was the kind of character moment only longform television can really deliver on, where a character’s actions for an entire series are suddenly thrown into sharp relief by something said toward the very end. And here it was on Everybody Loves Raymond, of all places.
5) The show changed — but not too much
Portrait of the sitcom as a series of squabbles. CBS
Robert eventually married his on-again, off-again girlfriend Amy (Monica Horan). Ray and Debra’s three kids grew up. Frank and Marie thought about moving into a retirement village. Things shifted, but glacially.
Television is often seen as somehow more “realistic” because its characters can go on long-term journeys, from point A to point Z and back again. A character can start in one place and become something completely different by the series finale, and you’ll never once question any step of that journey.
But that’s not really realistic, is it? Yes, we have changes in our lives, but by and large, we spend those lives surrounded by the same people, often in the same jobs, for year after year after year.
The circumstances of our lives remain the same, and we remain the same, but when we look back at, say, a decade of our lives, it still feels we’ve gone on a great journey.
This, above all else, was Everybody Loves Raymond’s gift. In its non-event of a series finale — an episode that perfectly captures the divide between gratefulness for a life filled with family and love and the sheer mundanity of that life — the show never pushed too hard to make a point other than, “Life is hard. You might as well have people you enjoy in it.”
That is, ultimately, the message of most great traditional sitcoms. The characters might despise each other in the moment, but beneath that is some great undercurrent of love and respect. And these shows remain so popular — Raymond continues in cable reruns to this day — because we hope, deeply, that in our own lives, we might find people that too.
Everybody Loves Raymond isn’t streaming anywhere right now, but it’s available on DVD and for digital download. Or you can turn on your TV and find it in reruns somewhere, most ly.
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The Stand Restaurant & Comedy Club
Just over 8 months ago The Stand reopened with the idea that we would never be closed again. 4 partners rejoiced to be back moving full throttle into the future of comedy. When we started this mission in 2011 we said comedy deserved better. We built it.
We said to ourselves again Comedy deserves even more and we built that too. One of our proudest achievements in the year we were closed between our old location on 3rd Avenue and the new Union Square location was that we did our very best to keep our staff intact.
It’s almost impossible to do in this day in age. In just a few short months we had packed comedy rooms full of laughter, a restaurant with a thriving brunch, lunch and dinner service and a healthy fun bar vibe with amazing cocktails and delicious food.
That is all thanks to our staff.
It’s what made yesterday so ever deflating. We had to inform our staff both old and new that the New York mandate to close bars and restaurants meant there would be no work for them and we would have to let them go.
What we’ve learned over the years and what we’ve realized why so many people have stayed with us as long as they have, this wasn’t just a job to them or a career path. They believed in our vision.
They wanted to be part of it and they wanted to be a part of the continued growth of standup comedy.
The comedy community can be a beautiful thing. As much as you become immersed in it anyone who is part of it wants to make other people feel what they feel.
So what now? Well, we will do our very best to prevail and be here for the world of comedy when and if we get back to normal and we will do our very best to keep or bring back most of the staff we let go. So we’re asking the comedy community to help.
We've started a fund to help the staff here at The Stand as well as comedians in need during this challenging time. The link is below:
Stand Up for the Stand Staff!
In the next few days we will find different ways to entertain you. Live streaming events, pre-recorded content, old standup clips. We ask that every time you watch consider buying gift cards for future use at The Stand. We will use proceeds to help staff in need as well.
We know everyone is going to be feeling it. But if you ever came to The Stand and laughed.
If you ever walked through our doors with a first date, a wife or husband, a friends and family gathering or if you came alone in need of a lift and left with a feeling of joy, consider helping those that made your night a memorable one.
We thank you for your support and patronage over the years. We will be back. We will make you laugh again. We will continue to fight to bring you joy.
Lastly, many of our loyal customers have reached out to offer support as we embark on what will be an extremely difficult few weeks, the most effective way to support us is buying a discounted Stand gift card for future use.
The gift cards are redeemable at any time when we reopen at The Stand Restaurant & Comedy club in Union Sq!
Enter the codes below at checkout:
- GIFTCARD100 (10% off a $100 gift card)
- GIFTCARD250 (15% off a $250 gift card)
- GIFTCARD500 (20% off a $500 gift card)
Buy a Gift Certificate!
‘Turning 40 and Having Twins Made Me a Better Comedian’
Doing the Mostis a special series about ambition — how we define it, harness it, and conquer it.
Michelle Buteau has had a busy year. She’s currently in the midst of her comedy tour, Beautopia, and starring in the new BET+ show, First Wives Club (an adaptation of the 1996 movie). You may also recognize her as Ali Wong’s pregnant best friend in this summer’s Netflix rom-com Always Be My Maybe.
Or maybe you’ve heard one of her two podcasts, Adulting and Late Night Whenever. She also had twins (via surrogate) in January. Here, she talks about finding her ambition while working at a mall in her 20s, how she dealt with her doubters, and the moment in her 40s when she finally hit her stride.
Did you always think of yourself as ambitious?
I started thinking of myself as an ambitious person when I graduated college. But when I hear stories about myself as a child, I guess I was pretty ambitious then, too.
We lived in a cul-de-sac in New Jersey, and when I was eight, I made a magazine construction paper for all the neighbors. It was called Head Over Heels, and I illustrated it with a little head in a shoe. It was real fucking creepy, but I thought it was a genius idea. Then our neighbors asked my parents if I would stop putting mail in their mailbox.
And now look at me, motherfuckers! So yes, to answer your question, bitch has been booked and busy since 8 years old.
What happened after college that made you more motivated?
I was a late bloomer when it came to believing in myself — , 24. I think it had to do with being out in the world. I didn’t really know how to deal with other people until I started working retail at the mall in my 20s.
I had a boss who was tired and lazy, and I had to stick up for myself if I didn’t want to be taken advantage of. He’d be , “Can you work another hour without getting paid?” No! I learned how to speak up for myself at the Jersey mall. I had to have a backbone. I was accountable for my decisions. And I learned that people aren’t mind readers.
They’re not going to understand what you want unless you tell them.
When you were starting out in stand-up, I know you faced doubters and people constantly asking about your plan B. How did you ignore them?
I kind of enjoy that. I always thought those comments were a reflection of the person making them — just because you don’t believe you can do something, don’t think I can’t do it.
But I realized early on that I can’t have that argument all the time, otherwise I’m going to be an extra in a Spike Lee film, just fighting everybody. So my whole thing is, Watch me bitch, just watch me. And that was my mantra from early on. If you don’t want to hear from me, you’re going to hear about me. Bye. I don’t have time.
I don’t have to prove anything to anybody except myself and perhaps the person who’s going to hire me.
That was my mantra from early on. If you don’t want to hear from me, you’re going to hear about me. Bye.
How did you decide to focus on comedy in the first place?
When I first started out, I never thought acting would come to fruition, because it seemed you mostly had to be very skinny or the extreme opposite. Back then, “plus size” wasn’t even a term we used for a female figure.
There was never , just the thick chick. So I figured stand-up was fun and I didn’t have to look a certain way other than the way I look. I was game for whatever happened. It was , I was asked to audition for this thing. Cool. Thank you for paying me.
I hate to say It happened organically, because that sounds I’m selling coconut ice cream at Whole Foods. But you get it.
When did you first feel you were really onto something in your stand-up career?
Probably this year. Just kidding! I started in 2001, and in 2005 or 2006 I booked my first TV gig on Comedy Central, for a show called Premium Blend.
When that happened, I felt I became part of this club where the industry wanted to hire me. It took a good four or five years of doing this thing that I love to do, and having no idea where it would go and whether it could make me money.
I remember Jay Leno saying that comedy is college — you have to put at least four or five years in before something happens. And even four or five years into it, you don’t even know your voice yet. You’re still trying to figure it out.
That’s why I’m always more interested in older comedians — , 30 and up — and what they have to say. Someone who’s lived a life and seen some shit.
I’m always more interested in older comedians — , 30 and up — and what they have to say. Someone who’s lived a life and seen some shit.
Have you gone through periods where things weren’t going well, or the audience wasn’t responding, and you second-guessed yourself?
I never really blame the audience I take ownership over my set.
I try to approach it , “You are here to love me. This is a dinner party, and you guys are paying for it. I’m just showing up. I’m the friend that somebody else brought. We’re just going to have a good time.
” Once I started thinking that, then stand-up really shifted for me.
Have you found that your ambition affects your relationships?
That’s the thing: It’s great to be ambitious, but you also have to make time for people who love you and make you feel whole. It’s so important to treat your relationships the way you would treat your career.
So yes, I am very ambitious in comedy and the industry and acting, but I’m also very ambitious when it comes to having a good relationship with my husband and my kids. So I plan. I plan the date nights. I plan dinners. I plan the family outings.
I plan the time in the morning when we chill, all of that stuff.
Has parenthood affected your ambition at all — made it stronger, or shifted it in certain ways?
My ambition is definitely stronger. But I’m also more selective now.
My friend Jordan Carlos [a co-host on Buteau’s podcast Adulting] told me, “When you become a parent, you have to start parenting yourself.” And I was , “Whatever, Jordan.” And then our twins were born, and I was , “Fuck, he’s right.
” So I’m definitely more selective with things that I’m doing, and in turn, better things are happening.
What happens when you take on too much?My husband checks me. He sprays some lavender on my face and he puts me in a corner. I think it’s really important, as a woman who is trying to do it all at the same time, to have a partner who says, “But you don’t have to.
For instance, I’m working on new stand-up material and I’ll get frustrated and stressed that it’s not happening right away. And my husband will be , “Here. Have this CBD edible, and just tell me your joke out loud.” And then I’m completely calm and there’s no pressure. I’m just bouncing jokes off of him.
And suddenly, I’ll come up with a better structure or tag. And he’s , “Yeah. You just need to talk to someone and not yourself.”
Have your ambitions changed as you’ve gotten older?
I think turning 40 was a gift that I didn’t know I needed. I had done four years of IVF, and I was bloated and bruised and my spirit was broken. I tried another year and then I was , “Okay, I’m good.
” I gave myself the license to stop, and go back into stand-up full-heartedly and say, “This is what happened to me. I need to laugh. You all need to laugh.” And that’s when I hit a new stride in my life and in my career.
Shit really comes together when you don’t give a fuck anymore.
‘Turning 40 and Having Twins Made Me a Better Comedian’
Best Comedy Movies on Hulu Right Now
And there is perhaps no better way to secure a much-needed laugh than our list of the best comedy movies on Hulu. Hulu has plenty of options to give you the exact kind of laugh you need. Romantic comedies, sci-fi comedies, comedies comedies. The best comedies on Hulu will get you through many a laughless night.
Hunt for the Wilderpeople
Speaking of wholesome, Hunt for the Wilerpeople is a winsome, hilarious good time from Flight of the Conchords‘ directer Taika Waititi (who has popped up so frequently on these comedy lists that I’m finally learning how to spell his name).
Ricky (Julian Dennison) is a juvenile delinquent who escapes into the woods of New Zealand rather than being brought in by child protective services after his foster mother dies. Ricky is assisted by Bella’s husband Hec (Sam Neill) as they avoid a national manhunt. Hunt for the Wilderpeople is equally whimsical and emotional. It’s a truly great adventure comedy.
Time plus tragedy equals comedy. Joshy tests this theory to the extreme by trying to move from tragedy to comedy about five minutes into the movie The tituar Josh (Thomas Middleditch) is excited to start his life with his fiancee until…bad things happen.
Four months later, Josh’s friends decide to follow through on his would-be bachelor party anyway to get their bro the dumps. The gang holes up in a ranch in Ojai for what should be a fun week but in reality turns into an exercise in confronting one another’s friendships. Joshy is equal parts funny and tragic and features a stellar comedic cast.
Think you’ve seen every take on the superhero genre that you need to see? Not if you haven’t seen Super.
Super came out the same year as the remarkably similar Kick-Ass and the two create an excellent misantrhopic superhero double feature.
Frank (Rainn Wilson) is an objectively pathetic fry cook whose only bright spot in life is his beautiful wife Sarah (Liv Tyler).
When she leaves him to re-enter a life of drugs and other vices Frank, let’s say…overreacts. He adopts the alter ego of Crimson Bolt and takes to the streets in search of crime to defeat. And he does so incredibly violently. Super comes from Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn and really stretches the dark aspect of “dark comedy.”
At first glance the story of Tonya Harding is hardly comedic. Harding was a figure skater swept up in a bizarre ’90s controversy in which Nancy Kerrigan somehow ended up taking a pipe to the knee. Craig Gillespie’s 2017 film I, Tonya somehow finds the humor hidden therein.
Margot Robbie is excellent as the eponymous Tonya and Allison Janey won a well-deserved Oscar for her performance as her mother. I, Tonya is a stylish, yet realistic portrayal of lower-class America that finds the dark humor in the strangest, most uncomfortable places.
Sorry to Bother You
Calling Boots Riley’s 2018 masterpiece Sorry to Bother You merely a “comedy” is reductive. Sorry to Bother You is a lot of things. It’s a bold, bizarre debut feature for the first time director that viciously criticizes capitalism and all the nonsense it engenders. It’s also happens to be pretty funny.
Lakeith Stanfield (Atlanta) stars as Cassius “Cash” Green, a struggling Detroiter living in his uncle’s garage with his artist girlfriend, Detroit (Tessa Thompson).
Cash gets a job as a telemarketer and soon begins to climb the corporate ladder by using his “white voice” on the phone.
What he finds at the top of that corporate ladder is astonishing, bleak, and ultimately hilarious.
Every generation gets the gross out high school comedy they need and deserve.
Previous entrants into the hallowed genre have included Fast Times at Ridgemont High, American Pie, and Superbad.
Finally in 2019 Generation Z got its own high school comedy, and it was fantastic. Booksmart, Olivia Wilde’s directorial debut, is a joyously funny and touching film.
Beanie Feldstein and Kaitlyn Dever star as Molly and Amy, two booksmart high school seniors who have been friends forever. On the eve of their high school graduation, Molly and Amy realize that they’ve spent too much time studying and elect to cram four years worth of partying and revelry into one night.
Before MASH (stylized as “M*A*S*H”) was one of the best TV shows of the ’70s, it was one of the best movies of the ’70s. Robert Altman’s film follows army medical personnel of the MASH unit (Mobile Army Surgical Hospital) as they react to the horrors of the Korean War the best way they know how: by being insubordinate, womanizing ne’er-do-wells.
the TV show after it, MASH is a comedy but also an examination of how a sense of humor may be the only viable strategy to survive the grim reality of war. While the film is set during the Korean War of the ’50s, it is very much a commentary on the Vietnam War and the confusing geopolitical landscape of the early ’70s.
National Lampoon’s Vacation
Get in the car, everyone. We’re going to Walley World! National Lampoon’s Vacation is one of the most successful comedies of the ’80s and launched an equally successful film franchise because it understands a simple truth about family vacations: they suck.
Chevy Chase stars as Clark Griswold, a simply family man from the Chicago suburbs who wants to take his clan on a road trip to California amusement park Walley World.
Little does he know how much can go hilariously awry on the 2,000-mile car ride.
Vacation comes from writer John Hughes, director Harold Ramis, and is still relevant to kids today who have never seen a hatchback Vista Cruiser.
Some things just flat out work in comedy: guy slipping on a banana peel, loud farts, a potentially terminal cancer diagnosis. Wait what? One of those things is not the other. But a potentially terminal cancer diagnosis is exactly what Jonathan Levine’s 2011 film 50/50 tries to make work as a comedy…and it does!
Joseph Gordon-Levitt stars as Adam Lerner (a character the film’s writer, Will Reiser) a 27-year-old public radio journalist who suddenly finds himself diagnosed with a malignant spine tumor.
How malignant? According to the Internet, Adam has a 50/50 chance at survival. 50/50 follows Adam through his diagnosis and treatment and how the sudden idea of impermanence in his life changes him forever.
It’s emotional stuff but also funny, we promise!
The Interview is ly best known for the controversy that rose up around it. Seth Rogen and James Franco’s movie about two journalists being asked to assassinate Kim Jong-un was effectively mothballed by Sony after North Korean hackers accessed the company’s email servers.
While it’s hard to top the absurdity and drama of all that, the film itself is quite good! Franco stars as talk show host Dave Skylark and Rogen as his producer Aaron Rapaport. Going to North Korea to interview its secretive dictator seems to be the get of a lifetime. But the CIA has some other ideas for how said interview will go.