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'A Woman Trapped in a Woman's Body'

Why don't we worship funny women?

By Elaine Corden 28 Sep 2007 |

Elaine Corden writes regularly for The Tyee about pop culture and music.

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Weedman: women use comedy in different ways.
  • A Woman Trapped in a Woman's Body
  • Lauren Weedman
  • Sasquatch Books (2007)

Lauren Weedman is beautiful. And funny. It says so right in the blurbs on the cover of her new book, A Woman Trapped in A Woman's Body (Tales From A Life of Cringe). Funny and pretty and beautiful and hilarious. Open up the book and have a read and you'll see how and why more than anything, she's worked hard to be those two things. A memoir that begins with a tale of how she was fired from her job as a correspondent on the wildly popular Daily Show with Jon Stewart, and then works backwards, detailing in short story form Weedman's pathological need for acceptance and approval. A Woman Trapped In a Woman's Body reveals plenty of painful truths about Weedman's life, but also illustrates a larger, more pitiful truth about society as a whole. Why the hell don't we worship funny women? Why isn't funny as sexy as a great rack or a painful high heel?

Over the phone from her home in L.A., the actress/writer/comedian is in the perfect mood to discuss this. Despite warnings from her book-writing friends and her management, Weedman has been indulging in the crack-cocaine of published authors: checking her ratings. Worse still, she's gotten her first bad review.

"Where are the funny female comedians?" writes "ginsu," an amateur Amazon reviewer "I just read an excerpt from Lauren Weedman's new book about working on the daily show. I didn't laugh once, and cringed through the entire thing"

"I'm not gonna check it anymore!" says Weedman, clearly sounding distraught. "I'm not even going to work on a computer anymore. I'm just gonna write longhand and use a typewriter. Between seeing horrific pornography and reviews, I don't think I can handle it. I don't think I'm gonna check. But of course, by 9 o'clock tonight I will have cancelled all plans to not look at the computer."

YouTube vitriol

As distressed as the first-time author is, she's used to criticism. Her award-winning one-woman shows have endured similar vitriol at the hands of that infamous pack on Internet jackals: YouTube commenters. Which hits on the other, not entirely unrelated theme of A Woman Trapped In a Woman's Body: a pathological need for approval. Whether it's a painful tale of trying to find her birth mother (Weedman is adopted) or a great story about going overseas to find herself, only to come home anxious to prove how much she's grown, Weedman's compulsive need for affirmation could almost undermine her comic voice, if it weren't for the fact that her self-doubt is entirely hilarious.

"I went on Amazon the other day, and I saw that for humour books, I was number 64. And I was all pleased, because number 64, that's really good, right? And I told my friend, and he said, 'Well, let's see who's bookending you.' And so we looked it up, and right above me was like Uncle John's Poopy Bathroom Humor, and right below me was Uncle John's Poopy Bathroom Humor II. So I guess that really puts everything into perspective." Her other saving grace.

"It just doesn't matter."

Lauren Weedman will be appearing at Word on the Street in Vancouver on September 30.