Mila Kunis on the cover of GQ’s Comedy Issue: a step forward or back for women in comedy?

By | July 12, 2011 at 12:23 pm | 6 comments | feature slider, Opinion | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

For their fourth annual Comedy Issue, mens’s interest mag GQ has chosen actress Mila Kunis as their cover woman.

It’s newsworthy, I suppose, since she’s not a dude; the likes of Zach Galifianakis, Seth Rogen, Tracy Morgan and Paul Rudd have graced the comedy-themed issue in years past.

And this move will no doubt re-ignite the never-ending debate about women’s role in comedy. Kunis, in my humble opinion is well deserving to be GQ‘s cover subject.

Let’s not forget, the former That ’70s Show star has been voicing Meg Griffin on The Family Guy since 1999 and co-stars with Justin Timberlake in the decidedly raunchy Friends with Benefits, in theaters on July 22.

In the GQ interview, which you can read here, Kunis comes off as every straight man’s dream– the way Cameron Diaz used to come off. That is, she’s gorgeous and “just one of the guys” telling dick jokes and talking esoterically about Star Trek. She even cites all the right female comedy idols: Lucille Ball, Sarah Silverman and Tina Fey.

But then comes the always present double standard, the one that shows up in most mainstream publications that feature a funny and not-ugly female. Kunis says the following:

The bottom line is if you’re an attractive female in this industry, people just take you as that: attractive. People aren’t getting the opportunity to move beyond being attractive. It’s not only with comedy. It could be with drama or action or whatever. People are distracted by looks. It happens. I’m not saying it happened to me, but it happens.

I totally agree with Kunis. But isn’t posing half naked and teething on a straw in a magazine for the pleasure of men (me, not excluded) only perpetuating the problem Kunis describes? Believe me, I’m not judging. I’m only raising the question. It seems to me there will always be this double standard where women are expected to prove their beauty and their talent while guys skate by on their average to well-below average looks and jokes. And features like this ain’t helping to extinguish the situation.

But maybe it doesn’t need to be extinguished. Maybe women like the fact they have the beauty card in their arsenal, whereas guys are basically not-at-all interesting to look at.

I want to know what you think. Is the Kunis cover a good thing for women in comedy or is it quite the opposite?

About the Author

Dylan P. Gadino

Dylan is the founder and editor in chief of Laughspin. He launched Punchline Magazine in 2005 (which became Laughspin in the summer of 2011) with childhood friend Bill Bergmann. Dylan lives in northern New Jersey with his wife and two sons. He hopes the Shire is real.

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  • Matt Holmes

    Mila Kunis is a very funny and talented actress, but she’s not a comedian. She’s on the cover because she’s hot.

  • Jenn Tisdale

    I recently had a “revelation” of sorts that I feel is applicable to this situation. Interestingly enough it occurred because I’m on Twitter.  Yeah, I know, just bear with me for a moment. I’m not immune to the curiosity one has regarding celebrities, so I follow a few celebrities I respect, on Twitter. I came to the sad/disappointing realization that I don’t actually like these celebrities, but rather the various characters they’ve played in the past.  I should really be following the writers of the films/televison shows I’ve come to love.  That being said, Mila Kunis is certainly not a comedian, but she has delivered some very funny lines written by, I assume, some very funny people.  She has comedic timing. I’ll give her that, but she also has time to cultivate that while shooting a film/TV series.  When you’re a standup comic it’s  that moment or nothing.  I can think of at least 10 female comics that are better suited for this cover.  Have you heard of them? Maybe. They certainly aren’t as well-known as Mila Kunis, but wouldn’t it make more sense to have an acccomplished, yet lesser known comedian, on the cover?  Come on GQ…I get that you’re softcore porn who is apparently getting a cut from Starbucks (sorry, we aren’t fooled by the blank cup), but feel free to rise above once in a while. We won’t fault you for that.

  • thebitterlady

    Contrary to Websters definition I believe earning the title comedian requires some experience in stand up.Write your own material and stand alone and read it before a crowd.At the least write something.I dont understand how you bring up Lucille Ball as a comparision.Lucy opened a locked door for female comedians.The only other female I would put in the same category would be Carol Burnette.I’ll even give you Phylis Dillar.How can you compare anyone to those who change the whole worlds veiw of what I believe is a womens movement for female comedians.Kunis is comical in her roles as is Cameron. Comedians? I dont think so.I am glad though that with your way out of line comparisons lets everyone know you dont have a clue.I do love being funny in my panties.It wants me to have an ice coffee and show my belly.

  • thebitterlady

    Contrary to Websters definition I believe earning the title comedian requires some experience in stand up.Write your own material and stand alone and read it before a crowd.At the least write something.I dont understand how you bring up Lucille Ball as a comparision.Lucy opened a locked door for female comedians.The only other female I would put in the same category would be Carol Burnette.I’ll even give you Phylis Dillar.How can you compare anyone to those who change the whole worlds veiw of what I believe is a womens movement for female comedians.Kunis is comical in her roles as is Cameron. Comedians? I dont think so.I am glad though that with your way out of line comparisons lets everyone know you dont have a clue.I do love being funny in my panties.It wants me to have an ice coffee and show my belly.

  • http://twitter.com/JoannaBookworm Joanna Bookworm

    It makes about as much sense as if they had Jennifer Anniston.

    Both are talented actresses associated with hit TV comedies and
    currently promoting comedy films. But their film careers vary from
    comedy to drama. Mila Kunis could have just as easily been on the cover
    of the ‘Ballet’ issue. Or the ‘Hospitali­ty Industry’ issue.

    Was this the “Women In Comedy” issue? No. If it was, would have Amy
    Poehler or Tina Fey posed like that? An absurd play on the cheesecake
    cliche would have been perfect.

    GQ is Playboy Lite, but it tries to keep the same foothold in the male
    psyche where he keeps his mental cufflinks, cologne, keys to his sports
    car, jazz records and ‘artful’ appreciati­on of the female form and features women in various stages of undress.

    Is Kunis ‘funnier’ than Anniston? No, but is she considered ‘hotter’ by GQ’s demographi­c?

    This is just another hot pic of a hot babe on the cover of what just
    might as well been the ‘Toaster’ issue. She has a studio full of
    publicists barking up every media tree. Her movie is a comedy. They
    dovetailed Mila’s latest film into a yearly theme issue. Good for her.
    Bad for any outstandin­g full time comedy writer/per­former (male or female) who should have received this year’s nod.

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