Beatts, who died at the age of 74, also created the ’80s sitcom “Square Pegs” and was the first female contributing editor to the revered humor publication National Lampoon.
She paved the way for women in comedy, a road that has been — and continues to be — rocky for many.
That’s the theme of the new FX/Hulu documentary “Hysterical,” in which female comics talk about what life is like in the business of being funny.
Here are just a few of the women upholding Beatts’ legacy:
Nikki Glaser: The stand-up comic is featured in the doc and recently spoke to my CNN colleague Marianne Garvey about moving back home to her parents’ house in St. Louis during the pandemic. Glaser also dug into her career and latest venture, “The Nikki Glaser Podcast.”
The digital audio project, produced by Will Ferrell and iHeartMedia’s Big Money Players Network, has really helped her, Glaser said.
“It turns out I like myself for the first time in my life, like, I really have self-esteem, which is kind of kryptonite for a comedian, but this podcast is not just comedy, I kind of look at it as self-help,” she told CNN. “And by that, I mean, I hate to say it’s like a therapy session because it’s not, but I am an open book on this podcast in ways that I am not even with my closest friends.”
Ali Wong: The native San Franciscan has used stand-up as a springboard for a career in TV shows like “Big Mouth,” films like “Birds of Prey” and “Always Be My Maybe,” as well as some extremely successful Netflix comedy specials.
She also has written a book of essays, “Dear Girls.” Wong talked to The New York Times in 2019 about almost quitting the biz early on after a comedy club host got racist by introducing Wong as someone who “does your nails” and “does your laundry” and she got booed.
“Of course I thought about quitting at times, but I just kept going because I liked the process so much,” Wong said. “Your attitude after bombing distinguishes the comics who are the real deal from the comics who aren’t the real deal.”
Issa Rae: What isn’t the creator of the hit HBO series “Insecure” doing these days?
She recently signed a five-year deal with WarnerMedia, HBO and CNN’s parent company, giving it exclusive rights to her shows and a first look at films from her production company Hoorae.
Rae also launched a record label, Raedio, in 2019 and starred in films “The Photograph,” “The Lovebirds” and “Little.” She seems well on her way to fulfilling a dream she talked to me about last year during an interview.
“I want to write and produce my own feature film,” Rae said. “It’s been cool being in other people’s stuff, but I want to try my hand at my own feature.”
Even with all the strides women have made in comedy, there is still room for progress.
A woman still has yet to enjoy the level of success men have had in late night despite Chelsea Handler, Samantha Bee and Lilly Singh cracking the ceiling with their own shows.
Likewise, there have been plenty of female buddy comedy films. For every “Bridesmaids,” there is the female version of “Ghostbusters.” (Sorry to the cast of the latter, as y’all really did all you could to make a go of it.)
What better tribute to Beatts and others like her than to keep rising in what traditionally has been a boys club?
For your weekend
Three things to watch:
‘Fly Like a Girl’
Since we are celebrating women, “Fly Like a Girl” is billed as more than a film, but rather “a movement of young girls and women relentlessly pursuing their passion for aviation. A field currently dominated by men.”
The film’s description reads, “Hearing first-hand stories from girls and women who dared to aim higher. From a (Lego)-loving young girl who includes female pilots in her toy airplanes, to a courageous woman who helped lead shuttle missions to space, ‘Fly Like A Girl’ shows us that women are in charge of their own destiny.”
It’s currently streaming on Hulu.
My personal Netflix guide, aka my CNN colleague Chloe Melas, has been on me to watch this crime drama and why, oh why, did it take me this long?
This dramatization of the crimes of real-life serial killer Charles Sobhraj (Tahar Rahim) is so intensely bingeable that if true crime is your jam, you may want to order in takeout.
“The Serpent” is streaming on Netflix.
‘Luis Miguel – The Series’ Season 2
Speaking of taking real life to the small screen, Latino singing superstar Luis Miguel’s life story has been turned into a Netflix series.
Season two finds Miguel (portrayed by Diego Boneta) struggling with his family life amid a string of betrayals, heartbreaking revelations and a crushing loss as his career skyrockets.
The new season starts streaming on Netflix on Sunday.
Two things to listen to:
Come away with Norah Jones again.
The singer is releasing her first live album Friday.
“‘Til We Meet Again” was recorded between 2017 and 2019 as the Grammy-winning singer performed around the globe in the US, France, Italy, Brazil and Argentina.
“Whether we’re musicians or fans, we all miss sharing the experience of live music,” Jones said in a statement on her official site. “I’ll be highlighting a different charity every week on my Facebook page to send some love to the folks who have worked tirelessly behind the scenes in the live music industry and have had their jobs put on hold. I can’t wait to all be together again.”
Is there anything better than a podcast that mixes true crime with the paranormal and is hosted by beauty gurus and internet sleuths?
Welcome to “Internet Urban Legends,” a new series from Spotify’s Parcast studio, in collaboration with Wheelhouse.
Hosted by Loey Lane and Eleanor “Snitchery” Barnes, the pair “scour the web for the most chilling unsolved mysteries that have plagued the curious with endless questions.”
Keep the lights on with this one!
One thing to talk about:
Elections have consequences, as do how you treat elections.
Georgia is learning that as it finds itself at risk of losing millions of dollars after passing restrictive voting legislation.
“Emancipation” director Antoine Fuqua and its star actor/producer Will Smith announced this week they were moving production of the forthcoming film from the state.
“At this moment in time, the Nation is coming to terms with its history and is attempting to eliminate vestiges of institutional racism to achieve true racial justice,” the pair said in a joint statement obtained by CNN. “We cannot in good conscience provide economic support to a government that enacts regressive voting laws that are designed to restrict voter access.”
Critics say the new legislation is the latest form of voter suppression, while supporters say it’s simply a way to make voting more secure.
Let’s be clear: Despite claims from former President Donald Trump and his supporters, there was no widespread voter fraud in last year’s presidential election, according to national, state and private election officials. And legislators who say they are looking to support and protect Georgia residents may want to keep in mind the billions of dollars and thousands of jobs Hollywood has brought to the state.
Something to sip on
My obit about rapper DMX last week upset some people because I opened with mentioning his “troubles.”
The death of a celebrity can sometimes hit us harder than we realize, and losing DMX after he had suffered a heart attack at the age of 50 has been tough for his family, friends and fans.
But it also opens up the discussion about how we often don’t want to grasp who an accomplished person was in their totality because it feels disrespectful to some.
In the case of DMX, a man who openly talked about his struggles with mental health, substance abuse and relationships, it takes nothing away from his legacy to acknowledge and discuss that, especially since so much of that shaped the art for which he is revered.