It’s an “exciting time” for women in comedy right now, per veteran comedian Ana Gasteyer, who was part of TheWrap’s Power Women Summit “Bring the Funny: Women in Comedy Roundtable” on Wednesday.
“It’s a very exciting time for comedy,” Gasteyer said. “When I started at ‘SNL,’ there were three women and they were definitely a minority, and now I just feel like there’s so much more opportunity for so many different kinds of voices… It’s not just the same 20 white guys.”
In addition to “American Auto” actress Gasteyer, featured panelists included Ashley Burch, actress and writer of “Mythic Quest”; Lolo Spencer, actress from “The Sex Lives of College Girls”; Melissa Villaseñor, “SNL” alumna, actress and comedian; Skye Townsend, comedian and actress from “A Black Lady Sketch Show”; and Syreeta Singleton, showrunner, writer and executive producer of “Rap Sh!t.” The panel was moderated by TheWrap’s Andi Ortiz.
The panelists also discussed the increasing breadth of representation for women of all backgrounds delving into comedy. Townsend said she appreciates being in the HBO series, which hails from executive producers like Robin Thede and Issa Rae, and its dedication to portraying an array of “unique and strange” Black women.
“Growing up, I’ve always been obsessed with sketch comedy. I didn’t know that doing voices wasn’t normal because as a kid [that’s] how I spoke,” she said. “And then I started seeing ‘Austin Powers’ and saw Jim Carrey… and Eddie Murphy, and I was like, ‘Why aren’t there more Black women that do this?’”
With HBO Max’s “The Sex Lives of College Girls,” which was just renewed for a third season, Spencer said she’s grateful for the “freedom and excitement” to be able to portray a comedic character with a disability whose dialogue doesn’t delve deeply into that, because it’s “bigger than that.”
“We have this conversation of how can we push Jocelyn to be more than anyone they’re expecting, breaking out of that stereotype of ‘the disabled girl can only date so much or do so much,’” the actress said. “It’s like, ‘No, let’s pick it up as high as we can go.’ And I encourage that.”
The Power Women Summit (PWS) is the largest annual gathering of the most influential women in entertainment, media and technology. The event aims to inspire and empower women across the landscape of their professional careers and personal lives. This year’s PWS provides two days of education, mentorship, workshops and networking around the globe – to promote this year’s theme, “A Time to Unite.” Learn more here: thewrap.com/pws.