Jane Curtin dressed as the Wicked Witch of the West while smoking.
© Laura June Kirsch
Nope. This isn’t weird at all….
Oprah: Don’t you think, though, that SNL really created this ground for women comedians and we saw women comics in a way that we’ve never seen them before?
Chevy Chase: Very tough, the first year at least. Because they were always fighting, particularly the women writers, for their material to get in, which generally applied to women’s issues—
Jane Curtin: I don’t think it applied to women’s issues, I don’t think that was the problem with the— I think it was primarily a mysoginistic environment and in 1975, it was, again, a very different time. Women’s Liberation happened in the ’60s and so women were going out in the work force and challenging men, you know, saying, ‘I can do this job too.’ Well, it was not necessarily embraced by the male population; understandably so. They were threatened by the fact that there were all these women that were going out in the workplace and they were going to have to compete with them, as well as the other men.
Oprah: Yeah. Isn’t it amazing that young women at this time don’t even— They’re like, ‘Whaaat? When was that?’
Jane: I know, yes. I mean, I couldn’t get a credit card in 1975 because I was a self-employed female. So things were very different, women were not treated equally.
Oprah: So did you consider yourself and Gilda as ground breakers? Pioneers?
Jane: No, because we were working too hard to get on the air, so we never thought about it in a philosophical sense. I think the women writers did because their battle was constant. And they were working against John [Belushi] who said women are just fundamentally not funny. So you’d go to a table read and if a woman writer had written a piece for John, he would not read it in his full voice. He would whisper it. He felt as though it was his duty to sabotage pieces that were written by women.