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Amy Poehler, Sarah Burns named two of 'The 25 Funniest Women in Hollywood' by Entertainment Weekly

Mar 7, 2015

The 25 Funniest Women in Hollywood 

Here are the ladies -- newcomers and veterans alike, from Tina Fey to Sarah Silverman -- whom we can count on to make us laugh

AGE: 37
CATCH HER ON: Parks and Recreation
SCHTICK: Chameleonlike transformations (from Hillary Clinton to Dakota Fanning on Saturday Night Live); indomitable perkiness.

AGE: It's a trade secret
CATCH HER IN: I Love You, Man, as Rashida Jones' confidant, who crushes hard on Jason Segel.
SCHTICK: With a hyper-expressive face reminiscent of Molly Shannon, Burns steals scenes from Jones and Jaime Pressly by gagging at the thought of Pressly and her husband (Jon Favreau) making a baby.
LA General

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Charlyne Yi & Abby Elliott named on Venus Zine's "25 Under 25"

Mar 6, 2015

Abby Elliott
25 Under 25 
From scaling Mt. Everest to topping the charts, the women on Venus Zine's first ever "25 Under 25" list have each packed a lifetime's worth of achievements into a handful of years.

Charlyne Yi: Funnier than you

Comedian and actress Charlyne Yi's fate was revealed to her through a sign -- literally.  Before becoming a performer and actress in films and television shows such as Knocked Up and Miss Guided, Yi had comedic aspirations.  But it wasn't until seeing a sign outside a comedy club that read, "You can do comedy, too!" that she decided to pursue them.

Though not a household name just yet, Yi made her starring debut this year in the feature film Paper Heart, a half-documentary, half-narrative film starring herself and real-life love interest Michael Cera.  The film premiered earlier this year at the Sundance Film Festival.

Venus Zine talked to Yi about her new film, her real age, and why women are definitely funny.

VZ: You were chosen to be in our "25 Under 25" issue, but your MySpace page says you are 32.  Care to clear up that misconception?

CY: I don't know how it started. I think someone after a show asked me how old I was as a joke, 'cause they were like, "you're so cute" or something, and they go, "How old are you?"  I don't know how old they said I was, like 18, and I was like, 'No, I'm 32.'  It was just kind of like a joke at first ... somehow it spread around.  I think my agent said that she saw on IMDB that I was 32, and I thought that was really funny so I changed it on my MySpace.

VZ: Around two years ago, Christopher Hitchens wrote an essay for Vanity Fair entitled, "Why Women Aren't Funny."  Why do you think they are?

I think that there so many men out there doing comedy there so few women that the ratio of funny women is very slim compared to the men.  I think women are funny and guys are funny too, and I don't think either of them is better than the other.

VZ: What can you tell us about Paper Heart?  You and Michael Cera are both well-known for your comedic styles -- will this film follow suit?

: It's about the meaning of love and I interview all sorts of people like bikers and an Elvis impersonator and a couple that's been together for over 50 years.  I think the purpose, to me, was that everyone is searching for love and hopefully people can connect with us. I don't think we're ever searching for laughs. I think if it is funny, it's not like we're making fun of the people we're interviewing, it's not like Borat or anything ... if the laugh comes, it comes genuinely.

VZ: You are pretty well-known for your brief role in Knocked Up. Katherine Heigl came out and said that was sexist. What is your perspective on this comment as one of the film's female cast members?

I definitely thought were funny in it.  I'll tell you that. I was like, 'Wow, Katherine Heigl is so good, I'm so glad she's playing this part.' And same thing with Leslie Mann, I thought was extremely funny.  But as far as it being sexist?  I don't know, I'm not sure. I definitely think they were the naggy in the movie, that's true, but I don't know if that qualifies as being sexist or not.

Abby Elliott: Live from New York

The latest in the Elliott linage to take the stage with the "Not Ready for Prime Time Players" -- her father Chris Elliott was a cast member for the '94 and '95 seasons and her grandfather was featured on the show in '79 -- 21-year-old Abby Elliott is the youngest woman ever to grace the illustrious late-night cast of Saturday Night Live.  She and fellow newbie Michaela Watkins are charged with the daunting task of filling the comedic chasms formed by the departures of Amy Poehler and Tina Fey.

It may seem that Elliott's screen credentials are a bit too slim for such a weighty endeavor: prior to joining the SNL cast, she played a bit part on You've Reached the Elliotts and did voice-over work for King of the Hill, The Goode Family, and Minoriteam.  But it isn't her IMDB page that excites us, it's the young Elliott's improv work with the Upright Citizens Brigade and LA's Groundlings.  We're hoping that the signature quick wit of these legendary troupes, combined with Elliott's youth, will finally breathe some life back into this comedy dinosaur.

Elliott made her SNL debut on the November 15th Paul Rudd-hosted episode of the show.  Her major contributions thus far have included impersonations of teen-mom Jamie Lynn Spears and Rachel Maddow, host of MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show.  As 2009 seems to be shaping up as "The Year of Maddow," we can't help but wonder how brightly Elliott's star will shine.
LA General

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June Diane Raphael featured in Venus Zine

Mar 6, 2015

An Upright Citizen

June Diane Raphael, Venus Zine's favorite new funny lady, takes success in stride

It is almost impossible to avoid developing a girl-crush on June Diane Raphael. She's got it all: brains, beauty, a knack for writing -- not to mention her contagious sense of humor, which has at least once led to the shitting of her pants (check out her video, Caffeine: A Love Story on

New to the Hollywood scene, the emerging writer, actress, and viral video star doesn't have a phony bone in her body.  She believes success is a result of hard work, an undying willingness to try anything, and a light heart. "The work that I really love is when you can see someone laughing and crying. Comedy with heart," she tells us -- and that's exactly what she's about.

VZ: Most people would jump at the chance to work with their best friend.  When you and Casey (Wilson, from SNL) were writing Bride Wars, was it difficult to get down to business?

It very difficult. That's the problem. We have too much fun with each other and call a lot of things "research" that aren't. If we can't think of something, we'll go shopping or just talk and wait for something to come to us. One of us has to say, "Seriously, it's time to start now!"

VZ: For The Year One, you're working with some of the funniest actors in Hollywood (Jack Black, Michael Cera, and David Cross).  Is this an intimidating cast to step into?

On paper, yeah, totally. I was so nervous at first, and the thought of it kept me up at night. But in reality, they were incredibly kind, and I never felt uncomfortable. I was really amazed ... especially with Jack.  He set the tone to be really playful and fun. It was insane how fun it was.

VZ: American Tragic appears to hold a mostly somber tone.  What challenges do you face filming a drama vs. a comedy?

: I'm not really approaching it in a different way. I don't approach comedy as "this is going to be funny." I don't like to think about what people are going to laugh at.  Some stuff is heavy serious at times, and that's the reality of life. You find serious moments in comedy and funny moments in drama.  Don't have an expectation of what a moment will be.

VZ: Do you have a preference between the two?

In a way, you know when a comedy is working -- if it's not working, people aren't laughing. With drama, you can't always tell by their reaction. Comedy is very clear, and people love to see it, but it's underrated, and that's bullshit. It's such a hard medium to work in. It takes so much skill and timing.  It's incredibly difficult work, but it is so worth it. High brow or low brow, it's amazing to hear someone laugh.

VZ: How has being a part of the highly respected Upright Citizens Brigade affected your career as a writer and actress?

: It's an incredible community where people are talented and work really hard at their craft. I still perform at their LA theatre an amazing outlet for any performer ... the audience always tells you what they do and don't like.

VZ: What's the best piece of advice you can offer aspiring actors and writers?

: I'm still trying to figure it all out. We didn't set out to write, but once we got the opportunity, we didn't say 'no' to anything.  Say yes to anything that comes your way, unless it's like a porno -- that'll open another kind of door.
LA General

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