Bette Midler Talks Women and Funny

by Melissa Silverstein on August 3, 2010

in Ageism,Comedy

I can’t think of the last time I saw a movie starring Bette Midler that wasn’t on a basic cable station.  I remember a time when she was everywhere.  Guess its been over a decade now since her last good movie which I feel is The First Wives Club.  She did play Helen Hunt’s mother in Then She Found Me which I enjoyed.  But her days as the headliner (other than the Vegas stage) are probably in the past.  Sigh.

At least her voice is back onscreen in Cats & Dogs: Revenge of Kitty Galore, so she’s been out on the press circuit giving her opinions on a diversity of issues including women and comedy and getting a gig when you are over 50 (and by the way she is 64.)

We’re not the only ones who have noticed how crappy it is for women in film comedies today.  One of the best has also been paying attention:

There are a lot of funny women out there but they’re not in the movies because there are not that many funny women in movies any more – they’re mostly carrying coffee for the iron man.

Can you imagine Bette carrying anyone’s coffee?

Here are some of the women Bette thinks are funny:  Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Debra Messing, Whoopi Goldberg, Joy Behar and Judy Gold.  (Judy- are you reading?)

And here’s what she had to say about getting an acting gig when you are over 50 if your name is not Meryl Streep.

One of the few 50-plus actresses still hired in Hollywood, Midler isn’t alone on blaming the dearth of work on Meryl Streep. “But, no, we don’t hate Meryl. We just wish she’d turn down a few more things. But she’s a great girl although I do say to her, ‘Meryl, you’ve got to turn some things down.’ But she loves to work and fortunately she’s a genius. And Meryl sells tickets. She’s a proven commodity. And the boys in the front office cannot risk spending that much money on a person who is not a guarantee to put the butts on seats. So they make the same movie over and over again because that’s the same movie like the last time. It’s a vicious circle.

I love when people working in Hollywood say the same things we’ve all been saying.  And I also want to add that both these interviews were in UK papers.  Didn’t see much press about Bette when the film opened here.  What’s that about?  I am always interested in hearing what she has to say.

Bette on ‘lack of funny women’ (Daily Mirror)

Bette Midler – Showgirl still purring with delight
(The Independent)

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Alex August 3, 2010 at 10:55 AM

Bette has a point about seeing the same actresses (and actors) over and over again. It’s getting really boring. I don’t want to see the same people in every single film, even if they are extremely talented. One of the reasons I liked “Winters Bone” so much and also enjoyed “Inception” was because it was nice to see some new faces…Jennifer Lawrence and Tom Hardy. Although Tom’s already known in England. As a director, I’m pressured to find a star. You need Tom Cruise or Julia Roberts to get your indie film made. It’s so f**ck’d up.

Sally Kohn August 6, 2010 at 2:51 PM

Melissa — Great to meet you last night, twice! And great to know about your site. Enjoyable and informative — highest praise I can pay anything! And how awesome to stumble on your piece about Bette Midler, whom I have idolized my entire life. Really. Used to send her birthday cards when I was a kid. But that’s a story for another day….

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