In the history of comedy, funny female characters are greatly outnumbered by males. I won’t go into the historical debate about why this has been so, I just want to try to provide inspiration for animators to find new ways for women to get laughs. There is more to women in comedy than Lucille Ball.
In student animation videos women characters are often relegated to acting out a lip synced line from a romantic comedy. She’ll use girlish gestures like brushing the hair from her face. They are usually cute and appealing in VERY conventional ways.
I am here to show you how to not be conventional with your female characters. There are women in clown schools and theaters developing wonderful acts that go way beyond what animators are doing.
I was inspired to write this post when I stumbled onto some videos of women clowns from Teatr Licedei in Saint Petersburg, Russia. Licedei, BTW, means “Those who pull faces.” These women are bold pantomime comedians. The company appears to be an equal balance of men and women. I just chose the videos that feature the ladies.
In my book, I bring up “rivalry” as a comic starting point. Typically it is 2 male rivals for the attention of a female, like Popeye and Bluto. I have started to notice that when women are competing for the attention of a man, it is likely to be 3 or more. This is what happens in this next video. Note how each character has a signature way of moving.
I really like this next woman’s act. I should point out there is nothing about this act that makes it feminine. She uses the very same methods that male clowns have used for at least a century. She goes through excessive preperation for playing her tiny violin. She strikes strong poses and swings the bow with a beautiful arc. She pulls funny faces. It’s great physical performance regardless of gender.
This next one is a two part act. The first part is a parody of a ballet dance, but with some grotesque costuming. The woman does have some ballet skills, she can dance on pointe, which gives here license to get silly with the rest of it. The second part has three male clowns dealing with the leftovers of the first act.
What do you think of these acts? Would you like to see more? Do you know of any funny females you would like to others to know about? Please leave a comment below!