Why Paul Feig prefers female over male humour

Gregory Wakeman
Contributor
Director Paul Feig poses at the premiere of "Office Christmas Party" in Los Angeles, California U.S., December 7, 2016. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni

Paul Feig’s career as a director has seen him repeatedly work with some of the finest female comedians in recent Hollywood history.

After starting off life as a feature film director with the inauspicious I Am David and Unaccompained Minors, Feig really announced himself with the Oscar-nominated smash-hit Bridesmaids, which starred Kristen Wiig, Maya Rudolph, Rose Byrne, Ellie Kemper and Melissa McCarthy.

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He then followed it up with The Heat, Spy, and his attempted Ghostbusters reboot, all of which starred McCarthy, before he mixed thriller with comedy in the Anna Kendrick and Blake Lively led A Simple Favour.

But why is it that Feig repeatedly turns to female rather than male comedians to lead his films? There’s a simple answer actually, as Feig has now admitted to the Guardian that he prefers “joking around” with women because “male humor devolves.”

Paul Feig previously directed Bridesmaids

“I was an only child. I grew up next to a family of eight kids, six of whom were girls. I liked the humour of joking around with my female friends because male humour devolves, eventually, into homophobia, punching and name-calling. I’d rather just have goofy fun.”

Feig has been integral in raising the profiles of numerous female comedians over the last decade, something that he is obviously very proud of, because before that point he had grown increasingly frustrated at just how underused they’d been.

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“I had [female] friends who were actors and comedians, and they would show up in movies and I’d be, like: ‘Oh yay, they’re going to be funny. And, what, they’re not funny?’ I love School of Rock, but I remember thinking: ‘Sarah Silverman is one of the funniest people on the planet. Why is she just being this mean girlfriend who’s not funny?’”

Feig’s next movie, Last Christmas, which sees him working with Game Of Thrones alumni Emilia Clarke, who stars as Kate, a department store elf that falls for Henry Golding’s Tom, will be released on November 15.