Funny Females on Film

By Steven Libowitz   |   April 12, 2018
In focus: professor Patrice Petro, director of Carsey-Wolf Center

It’s not accurate to term the new film series at UCSB’s Pollock Theater “#MeToo at the Movies”, but there’s also no denying that the increased attention on women in Hollywood played a part in the Carsey-Wolf Center’s “Women in Comedy” screenings that get underway this week. Five different films will be shown during the series, and the post-screening discussions will feature a number of big names among the special guests, including actresses Gwyneth Paltrow, Mindy Sterling, and Laraine Newman.

“We wanted something for the spring that would draw audience and be fun for students and the public,” explained Patrice Petro, professor of Film and Media Studies and the director of the Carsey-Wolf Center, who curated the series. “Comedy has long opened up possibilities for women as a means of expression. But also there has been a new scholarship on women in comedy, so the series is exploring those successes of women as performers, writers, and producers in comedy.”

To that end, the series launches on Thursday, April 12, with a selection of highlights from Saturday Night Live with commentary from Newman, a member of the legendary original cast. On Tuesday, April 17, Sterling will be on hand to talk about the mockumentary Drop Dead Gorgeous, while UC Irvine professor Bambi Haggins dissects the history of early African-American star “Moms” Mabley via Whoopi Goldberg’s 2013 documentary on Thursday, April 19. Following a month-long hiatus, the series returns on May 19 with The Royal Tenenbaums with star Paltrow as the special guest to talk about Wes Anderson’s work, before the series closes May 22 with a pair of classic short films from the silent period: Won in a Cupboard (1914) and The Oyster Princess (1919), with live piano accompaniment by Michael Mortilla.

“The series is intended to dispel the myth that women aren’t funny, or that funny women is a new recent thing, or that they were only important with the greats like Lucille Ball or Carl Burnett,” Petro said. “As an academic research center, we’re wanting to show people things they may not have thought about before. But it’s going to be a lot of fun.”

(The “Women in Comedy” screenings take place at 7 pm and feature free admission, though advance reservations are recommended. Visit

Faculty Foursome Featured

Robert Koenig, keyboard professor and head of performance at UCSB, collaborates with new faculty colleagues violist Jonathan Moerschel – who is a member of the renowned Calder Quartet, a recipient of the 2014 Avery Fisher Career Grant, plus violinist Ambroise Aubrun and cellist Jennifer Kloetzel for a program featuring George Enescu’s Aubade in C Major for violin, viola and cello, and Antonín Dvořák’s Piano Quartet in E-flat Major for violin, viola, cello, and piano, Op. 87. The rare faculty chamber music recital takes place Thursday, April 12, at Lotte Lehmann Concert Hall…. The UCSB Department of Music has also announced that it will host famed film composer Michael Giacchino (Up, Inside Out, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story) for an afternoon event on Tuesday, May 1, in Lehmann Hall. Giacchino will speak about his career and lead a Q&A session. Admission is free, but guests should reserve seats in advance online at


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