Fangirly Icons: Madeline Kahn

In these divisive times, it is important to focus on just about anything else.  In keeping with Whitney’s inspirational post from yesterday, I thought I would start another new feature on here, Fangirly Icons.  Whitney and I are never short on awesomely amazing ladies who we look up to, so this should be no problem for us.

For this first foray, I wanted to highlight my literal favorite of all time, Madeline Kahn.  I recently did a binge of every Madeline Kahn movie I own and was again reminded of how amazingly talented she was and how little credit she seems to get for the groundbreaking work that she was doing as female comedic talent of the time.  She was doing broad, over-the-top comedy that still came off as understated and nuanced, doing silly comedy in an intelligent way.  She was able to be loud and brassy (Blazing Saddles), nagging and conservative (What’s Up, Doc?), reserved and disturbed (Clue), and cultured and refined, with a touch of animalistic (Young Frankenstein). She was often a featured player in her movie roles, most notably in her run of Mel Brooks movies, but no matter the size of her role, she always stood out.

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As a little girl watching these movies, I always loved seeing this beautiful, seemingly-sophisticated lady be just as silly (if not sillier) than the guys.  A woman who was described by all who knew her as shy and reserved, making jokes about “sausages” and “poo poo undies”.  She delivered dirty jokes with a graceful, knowing arched brow that seemed to dare the viewer to try and scorn her for it.  To that point, Madeline Kahn was once quoted as saying, “It’s acceptable for men to act the fool. When women try, they’re considered aggressive and opinionated.”

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It has only been within the past 10 years or so that people have finally begun discussing this phenomenon and we as a public are still working on recognizing that yes, women CAN be as funny as men.  In this humble writer’s opinion, Madeline Kahn was being funnier than men 50 years ago.

Ellen

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