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From I Love Lucy to Bridesmaids, the Evolution of the Female Gross-Out Comedy

Some are claiming that with this week’s Bridesmaids, females will finally start playing on the same gross-out comedy field as men. We’ll see if those pronouncements turn out to be true once the film opens, but it is a fact that even as raunchy, boys-will-be-boys comedies have grown exponentially, many have wondered where the girls are. That’s a complicated question, of course (Christopher Hitchens and Alessandra Stanley once traded essays over at Vanity Fair about whether women were funny), but we thought it would be interesting to look at the evolution of the female gross-out comedy over the years, and note the giants and not-so-giants on whose shoulders Bridesmaids now hopes to stand. Searching through the past yielded some fascinating results — which in their own way go toward explaining some of comedy's historical gender imbalance.

Photo: Suzanne Hanover/Universal Studios