Belfast Telegraph

Tomlin: Female comedians are making strides

Lily Tomlin has spoken about how much things have changed in the comedy industry for women since she started performing stand-up in 1965.

The 75-year-old Nine to Five actress has been performing stand-up since the 1960s.

And the Saturday Night Live alumna is enthusiastic about how the comedy landscape is looking for women nowadays.

“Comedy’s perceptions have changed. Many funny ladies now [as] opposed to when I started,” she told Page Six. “I began when an ingénue in my dressing room was hilarious but wouldn’t do that stuff onstage. She worried that doing jokes, people would think she’s ugly. In those days, comic Totie Fields was a hit because she was overweight.

“Back then ladies were beholden to husbands. Even Lucille Ball played her husband’s foil. Today there’s Wanda Sykes, Amy Schumer, Kristen Wiig, a whole range. No longer is it male dominated. We’ve made lots of strides.”

On March 9 Lily will be taking part in Broadway Backwards, an annual show in New York City dedicated to voicing the stories of homosexuals and other members of the LGBT community through musical theatre.

And although other people enjoy their golden years by retiring, Lily couldn’t dream of stepping away from work.

“I haven’t stopped in 45 years. My tour began 60 years ago on my back porch. I was in a jacks championship at 9, I pitched for the PAL, I took ballet and tap. I was busy as a child,” she noted.

“I started big time in the ’60’s. Places like Upstairs at the Downstairs. This stuff is what I do.”

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