Will the ending of beloved “30 Rock” on Jan. 31 bring the chance for a female comedy writer to take over the reigns from Tina Fey? For me, Tina Fey is the face of women in comedy. While I will be sad to see her show end (I’ve been an avid fan for years), I am excited to see if anyone will accept the challenge of taking her spot.
Amy Poehler would be an obvious fit. Tina and Amy have been friends since their days at the comedy company Second City, and often guestwrite and co-star in each other’s work. As epitomized by their performance at this year’s Emmys, they are both hilarious and work well together. And though I love Amy, I think she is already established. Seen in the recent episode of “Parks And Recreation,” “Two Parties,” Amy is not going anywhere. Her writing staff is on its A-game and continually produces inspiring work. She can’t fill Fey’s niche because she is busy actively filling her own role in the world of comedy and maintaining a large fanbase.
The possible hopefuls that I am looking at are the newer generation of funny ladies: Lena Dunham (HBO’s “Girls”), Mindy Kaling (Fox’s “The Mindy Project”) and Zooey Deschanel (Fox’s “New Girl”).
Lena Dunham is unapologetic and awesome. If you’ve ever watched an episode of “Girls,” it is more than likely that you have been one of the hundreds of thousands privy to her naked body. Her humor is brash and sometimes a little lost on viewers. That being said, she rewards her watchers by building a relationship with the characters that makes each episode’s jokes hit harder.
Unlike Tina’s witty banter and funny one-liners, Lena creates humor through situations and editing. One memorable example of Lena’s humor is in the “Girls” episode “Welcome to Bushwick a.k.a. The Crackcident.” In this episode, we find the tightly wound and naïve Shoshanna accidently smoking crack at a party in Bushwick and exclaiming, “Oh my god, don’t tell my mom! Don’t even tell me!” Shoshanna running around pantsless epitomizes Lena Dunham’s talented writing.
I want to like Mindy Kaling’s “The Mindy Project” so badly. Every week, I watch in hopes that all of the jokes will land. Mindy can be so funny, but her show doesn’t always demonstrate that. There are weeks where “The Mindy Project” is laugh-out-loud funny, but are then disappointingly followed by an episode so flat that I must force myself to watch it in entirety. The episodes that are great keep me hopeful for her show.
Also, if you’re in need of a new Twitter account to follow, I’d recommend Mindy’s. Her tweets are sharp and worthy of a retweet. Plus, she has a great friendship with BJ Novak, a comedian and one of the writers of “The Office,” which results in hilarious Twitter conversations. I’m optimistic that her relationships with the other comedy bigwigs will ultimately aid in saving her show.
There are rumors that “The Mindy Project” will be lucky enough to receive some of “30 Rock” ’s talented writers. Having a skilled writing staff to back up her jokes and ideas can only strengthen the show’s content.
Zooey Deschanel is the most universally likeable of the three. Like Tina, Zooey appeals to a large audience. She is cute and inoffensive in her efforts. Sometimes, she is arguably too cute. “New Girl” has the ability to be more of a mainstream show than “Girls” and “The Mindy Project.” The show never gets controversial and relies on the actors to carry the generally well-written lines.
Unlike boundary pushers Mindy and Lena, Zooey may align more closely to Amy than Tina. Like Amy Poehler, Zooey Deschanel doesn’t actively write the episodes of her show. She’s funny in character and appealing in interviews, but isn’t as involved in the creation of a funny series like Mindy and Lena are. Is this a problem for me? Not particularly, but I would like to see Zooey try her hand at writing some of the episodes. To be a true face of comedy, the talent to create written humor should be there in addition to her entertaining camera presence.
While I will mourn the end of “30 Rock,” I am looking forward to the next generation of female comedians. There is a lot of potential that needs to be further explored, granting 2013 the makings of a good year for funny women.