Last night, as many of us know, was Saturday Night Live’s 40th anniversary. We waited anxiously, young and old alike, to see our favorite stars in our favorite sketches on this 3 hour long, live television event.
It was everything we hoped for and then some. From Maya as Beyonce, to Will Ferrell and Darrell Hammond reprising their roles as mortal enemies Alex Trebek and Sean Connery.
However, I think the most important part of the night was when Melissa McCarthy paid homage to the late great Chris Farley in one of his most infamous roles as motivational speaker, Matt Foley.
This role was most memorable for Farley because of his dedication to physical comedy. Everyone remembers the way his face turned red as he explained how he “[lived] in a van! down by the river!” Also the way he would twist to pull up his pants, and stayed in a perpetual squat as he made friend, David Spade and host Christina Applegate completely break throughout the sketch. “Well la dee freakin da!”. The best part was when he came crashing, and I mean CRASHING, down into the coffee table; a true physical comic.
So last night, when Melissa came out of that door in full Matt Foley garb, yelling in Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, and Jane Curtin’s face. I instantly thought, “Oh my God, she’s perfect”, and when she came crashing, and I mean CRASHING, down into that Weekend Update desk, something in the female comic universe shifted. Comedy as a boy’s club finally died yesterday. We buried it.
There was Melissa, lying face down in splintered wood, the audience cheering, and Tina, Amy, and Jan looking after her… we knew we conquered because it wasn’t just a girl dressed as a boy being funny, it was just plain funny. Watch it here:
Women like Lucille Ball, Joan Rivers, Gilda Radner, and Jan Hooks are smiling upon us in heaven, and doing their victory dance. All of the adversity they experienced as female comics has officially paid off; we as female comics, writers, and actresses thank them.
Talking and joking about things like sex (both monogamous and promiscuous), bodily functions, politics, race, society, etc., is no longer something seen as taboo when someone with two “X” chromosomes speaks openly about it. Being a “lady” or having to act like a delicate flower in the media isn’t a thing anymore. When Jane Curtin ripped open her blouse on Weekend Update, when Molly Shannon crashed into chairs and bathroom stalls as Mary Catherine Gallagher (Superstar), when Amy Poehler claimed “Yeah, I farted. Jealous?”, as the one legged, fourth runner up, in a parody of Brett Michael’s Rock of Love, we heard, “Wow, that’s funny for a woman”. Alas, no more! What we should be hearing from here on out is, “Wow, these comics are f***ing hilarious!” because our girls OWNED it last night.