Will Leitch: Comedic sisterhood brings gags for Clinton

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Amy Schumer
Amy Schumer

Hillary Clinton will never, never, ever be confused with a natural performer on a debate stage, at a rally, or in front of a camera.

Even in the context of politicians, she's not much of a thespian.

President Barack Obama could comfortably banter with Zach Galifianakis on Between Two Ferns, Donald Trump acquitted himself just fine in a Saturday Night Live Drake parody video, and Al Gore hosted a full SNL and anchored an extremely clever sketch in which he pretended to interview potential veep choices like an episode of The Bachelor.

It's hard to imagine Hillary pulling off any of those sketches. We've had 30 years of her in the public arena, and she's never had a memorable off-the-cuff pop culture moment. But she does have one advantage in this presidential campaign: This is the best time to be a woman in comedy in decades, maybe (probably) ever.

Clinton is likely to become the first major-party female presidential nominee of our times, and happens to be running when women are ruling comedy.

It shouldn't be a surprise that they are on her side.

On Thursday, Clinton made her long-awaited cameo on Comedy Central's Broad City. If you haven't been watching Broad City, now in its third season, it is your loss: It's one of the funniest, most revolutionary shows on television, starring Ilana Glazer and Abbi Jacobson as stoner best friends in New York.

The greatness of Broad City is its distinct and unmistakable sensibility, one that often seems an explicit rebuke to every male comedian who ever stood in Glazer's and Jacobson's way. It's a show about two women, but it's really about women, in a way that the Wall Street Journal called "Sneak Attack Feminism". The sneak attacks have already found their way into the campaign. A scene in which a man stops them to say, "You girls are so pretty, you should smile" - and they respond in the most perfect way possible - was widely circulated after a broadcaster encouraged Clinton to "smile" on stage during her victory speech on Wednesday.

But the show doesn't have time for your think pieces: It's too busy being anarchic and hilarious. Into this world steps Clinton, who visits her offices in Brooklyn when Ilana and Abbi are there. (Slacker Ilana thinks an invitation to volunteer for the candidate is a job offer.)

The scene requires very little heavy lifting from Clinton. She doesn't have to deadpan, dance, or be wacky. She just has to be herself. The professionals take care of the rest. That these are extremely talented, confident women who have a hit Comedy Central show has nothing to do with Clinton, but it's still not something that existed 10 years ago, and that benefits her now. You also saw this on Clinton's SNL appearance late last year, when Kate McKinnon, an avid supporter, essentially carries Clinton through a whole sketch.

Other ascendant comedians who have endorsed Clinton and helped her have included Ellen DeGeneres, Amy Poehler and Amy Schumer, who, one suspects, has something big planned if this turns out to be a Clinton-Trump matchup. There's never been a better time to have the brightest minds in comedy on your side. Because right now: They're all women. And they're all for Clinton.

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