Phyllis Diller died.
She was a very funny woman.
She was also considered "ugly" and "homely" when she was starting out. Was she?
By the standards of those days, she was.
A woman had to look like Sandra Dee basically. A man could look like crap and often did and it was no big deal.
Phyllis' looks were something to overcome back then.
And she did.
Being a woman was something to overcome.
And she did.
And she blazed a trail that allowed women to have a much easier path.
If, like Roseanne, you were overweight when you became famous, they never let you forget it.
But they stopped lumping in "plain" with "ugly."
And, in time, they'll stop obsessing over women's looks period.
Right now, the culture's mood is to attack beautiful women.
Whitney Cummings, for example, was attacked for her looks.
The woman's hysterical. Her sitcom was a laugh out loud must-see.
But she got insulted and trashed and it had to do with her looks and with her gender.
I don't think a man's ever been trashed -- a comedian -- for being too good looking. But then men have never had to be good looking in the field of comedy and you can count on one hand probably the number of male comedians who are even f**kable.
Phyllis Diller was a TV fixture. I can remember, in the early 70s, seeing her while I was stoned and watching Scooby Doo and then, a few days later, on Merv or Mike Douglas. She was all over the dial. She was on the game shows, she was on the talk shows.
And she had her signature rat-tat-tat laugh.
She could be and often was hilarious.
She could also talk straight off the cuff and that's why she was such a great talk show guest. She'd surprise you with her honesty.
My two favorite films she made -- live action -- are Boy Did I Get A Wrong Number and Eight On The Lam. Both are with Bob Hope. In the first, the jokes are about how homely and unattractive she is. She's the maid for Bob and his wife. She's very good in the role. But I like her as Golda in Eight On The Lam when she babysits the kids. She shows up with a boyfriend (fireman) in the first scene and there's a cop who's crazy for her (and he ends up in the last half of the film and is played by the great Jonathan Winters). They are two different types of roles and she is really good in both films.
June 5, 2011 we picked one of her films as "Must Stream" at Third. Which one?
It's the sixties stop-motion classic Mad Monster Party.
Closing with C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"