Tina Fey on women in comedy: 'Men are still getting paid more for a lot of garbage'

"The boys are still getting more money for a lot of garbage, while the ladies are hustling and doing amazing work for less."

Wednesday 02 March 2016 18:20

It's a good time to be a woman in comedy. The phrase now daily carted out in conversations on gender within the industry; that the post-Bridesmaids, post-Trainwreck world is one of harmonious opportunity.

Ask one of comedy's biggest names, however, and she'll be swift to reveal that notion's fallacies. To Tina Fey, it's a frustrating statement she finds so little correlation with amongst her own experiences; and she's expressed quite the opposite opinion on the matter.

Speaking to Town & Country Magazine, she relayed about her recent press tour for Sisters; "Every single interviewer asked, 'Isn't this an amazing time for women in comedy?' People really wanted us to be openly grateful - 'Thank you so much!' - and we were like, 'No, it's a terrible time.'"

"If you were to really look at it, the boys are still getting more money for a lot of garbage, while the ladies are hustling and doing amazing work for less.'"

Indeed, it's an issue which essentially comes down to opportunity. So many male comedians are allowed simply to be; they win, they lose, and all those failures are merely considered part of the natural artistic process.

Women in comedy, however, are treated on a level in which every project is a test. It's constant fight for approval when the default position resolutely remains in the negative, and sometimes that can feel like an impossible battle.

One only needs to look to the Ghostbusters remake, already hurtled with levels of hatred unseen amongst the countless other male-fronted remakes.

There's an assumption that there's no possible equivalency between the current crop of female Saturday Night Live stars (and box office smash Melissa McCarthy) and the crop of SNL members past which featured in the original Ghostbusters.

And, as Fey puts it, it's all down to one continuing mythos: "Amy [Poehler] and I just did two months of press for Sisters, and journalists were still bringing up, 'People say women aren't funny'."

She also joked about the gendered associations with aging, one which she helped lambast in Amy Schumer's brilliant sketch, "Last F**kable Day".

"The greatest challenge for me as an actress is just getting older," she said. "Trying to play the scene at hand while also trying to hold your face up. Fast-forward to being 68, and it's a glorious act of bravery."

Fey stars in the upcoming Whisky Tango Foxtrot, which hits UK theatres 22 April.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

View comments