FEMALES ARE STRONG AS HELL: WOMEN WHO WRITE COMEDY
By Paige McCall
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, the newest comedic gift from Tina Fey, has been on for one season and is already renewed through season three. This show is lead by the strong, positive female protagonist, Kimmy Schmidt (played by The Office alum, Ellie Kemper), and focuses on her integration into adulthood in Manhattan after being held in a bunker underground for 15 years with three other women and an insane reverend who convinced them the world had ended. This screwball comedy follows Kimmy as she conquers stereotypically harsh environments within New York City with a smile on her face, refusing to be made bitter.
The impressive positivity and perseverance of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt comes not only from Kemper’s incredible portrayal of this unique woman, but also from the talented team of writers behind the show. This team includes powerhouse female screenwriter and NYU Tisch grad Azie Mira Dungey, who will be featured in the Fusion Film Festival’s “Queens of Comedy Writing” panel.
Before getting hired as a writer on Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Azie Mira Dungey created, wrote, and starred in her own web series entitled “Ask a Slave” which gained more than 2 million views on her site. It was inspired by her past work in historical re-enactments of life on the Mount Vernon plantation in Virginia that was once owned by President George Washington. There she would answer tourists’ questions about slavery while staying in character as a slave.
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt came off its first season on a high. With incredible reception from both fans and critics, the show ended up with seven Emmy nominations, not to mention nods from the Writer’s Guild of America, Screen Actors Guild, Critic’s Choice, Satellite Awards, and more.
As the theme song to the show reminds us: “Females are strong as hell.” Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt continually proves itself to be a place for female strength, with an incredibly positive protagonist who refuses to quit on herself and the people she cares about. She exhibits confidence and strength and strives to help herself and the other women in her life become independent and find authority in their own lives. Whether she’s standing up for herself and the other women from the bunker in court or supporting her boss Jacqueline as she divorces her cheating husband, she refuses to let herself or her friends be victims.
I can’t wait to see Azie, who has made brilliant contributions of female perspective to comedy, speak about her experience in a field where female voices are so clearly valuable but unfortunately so often underrepresented.
Join Fusion for the “Queens of Comedy Writing” panel, Saturday, March 5th at 4:30pm in Tisch Theater 006 to see these and other talented women speak about their insider experiences. The full panel lineup is listed below:
Moderated by: Ophira Eisenberg, comedian and NPR host.
Featuring: Tisch alum Azie Dungey (writer on Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt and creator of the hit satirical web series “Ask A Slave”), three time Emmy Award winner Julie Rottenberg (HBO’s Sex and the City, and Bravo’s new series Odd Mom Out), and writer Glenn Boozan (SNL’s Above Average).