Lucille Ball Turns 100: Why We Still, and Always Will, Love Lucy
Despite the success of actresses like Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, the idea that women can’t be funny remains as pervasive as ever. It was a shock to many that Bridesmaids was as successful as it was, and despite Betty White’s newfound success in her late 80s, it’s easy to forget this lovable, foul-mouthed granny was once relegated to bit roles in forgettable films like Lake Placid and Bringing Down the House.
But some of the best comics to ever make an audience shed tears from a great joke have been women. From Moms Mabley to Bea Arthur, women have been making us laugh for decades.
For my money though, no woman–check that, no person regardless of gender–did it better than Lucille Ball, who posthumously celebrates her 100th birthday on Saturday, August 6th.
As a kid, I was introduced to Lucy at a very early age. The hijinks of Lucy and Ethel on I Love Lucy always stuck with me, and when Lucy became even more vivid in the colorized Lucy Show, her combustible relationship with Gale Gordon helped keep this zany red head alive in my mind long after she had passed in real life.
Truth is, you don’t get much props for trying to get your fellow 7th grade classmates to tune into a black and white series that aired in the 1950s, but there I was on the playground, a young kid attempting to convince his peers to appreciate the comedic timing of Lucille Ball over the sweaty machismo eschewed by the WWF’s The Rock.