Are Gen Y Women Poised To Take Over Comedy?

Kaling and DeschanelThis Sunday, Rebel Wilson hosted the 21st MTV Movie Awards, becoming the first female host since 2007 when Jessica Alba took on the task.  During the course of the night, she also won “Best Breakthrough Performance” and “Best Musical Moment” awards for her role as Fat Amy in Pitch Perfect. With a slew of movie roles in the last three years, and rumors of a television show being built around her in her future, Wilson could very well serve as a symbol of a larger shift happening in comedy: the takeover of the Millennial female. 

Looking at the past generation, male Xer comedians like Adam Sandler and Will Farrell, who often were born out of the SNL family, would carry huge franchises and movies with huge fan followings. It seems that Gen Y is not following that pattern. Vulture is wondering where our next male comic superstars are, but they might just be looking at the wrong gender. Instead of male comic headliners, we have a rush of Millennial female helmed comedies like New Girl, Girls, 2 Broke Girls, and The Mindy Project taking over the airwaves. Many of the Gen Y female stars in these shows are also writers or producers of their content, setting the stage for Gen Y female comedians to become the major Hollywood power players of their generation.

A quick rundown of recent TV comedies provides evidence that Gen Y female comedy stars are currently building their empires in Hollywood. Polarizing comedian Whitney Cummings had three different shows on the air in 2012, co-creating and executive producing 2 Broke Girls on CBS, creating, exec-producing and starring in Whitney on NBC, and also starring in her own talk show on E!. 2 Broke Girls, of course, stars two more Gen Y female comic actresses. Meanwhile, Zooey Deschanel doesn’t just star in (hugely Millennial popular) show New Girl

 
 

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The Newsfeed

“As a graphic designer, without the arts being available to me in school I would have been lost as a child and where to take my career path. The fact that schools are cutting art programs is heartbreaking.”—Female, 24, NJ

Applebee’s is putting down the sriracha and giving up on trying to appeal to Millennials. The brand has decided their newer menu items—like a “triple pork bonanza” sandwich—and attempt at a “modern bar and grill” reinvention has “alienate[d]” Boomers and Gen Xers. They’re shutting down more than 130 restaurants and bringing back initiatives from before their attempted “pendulum swing towards millennials,” all-you-can-eat specials and 2-for-$20 deals. Other brands are creating new spin off chains to appeal to fast-casual lovingMillennials, that “[lack] the associated baggage of the old.” (Inc, NPR)

Adults-only ball pits, bouncy houses, and giant slides are sweeping the U.K. Millennials seeking a break from adulthood are flocking to places like Wacky World’s “massive bouncy-castle obstacle course,” which started out as a children’s event. The founder received so many requests that now every event has an 18-and-over slot, and has expanded to 19 cities. This “trend for arrested development activities” is caused by nostalgia, but the influx of marketing and branding leveraging the emotion could be popularizing these playgrounds for adults. (The Guardian)

Facebook is responding to the trend of asking for birthday charitable donations by integrating it right into the platform. Users in the U.S. can now trade in all the “HBD”s they get on Facebook for donations to the cause of their choice: well-wishers will be notified of the birthday along with the selected non-profit, and get the chance to donate. Facebook will ask users which charity they wish to dedicate their day to two weeks in advance, allowing them to choose from 750,000 organizations. (TNW)

Appear Here is the Airbnb of pop-up shops, giving brands their perfect temporary store for the new era of retail. The company finds short term retail space, and has worked with big-name brands like Nike and Net-a-Porter to open “experimental activations” or “test new products.” As brick-and-mortar continues to suffer and long-term stores close, Appear Here says physical retail is still needed, but to “tell a story.” The pop-up industry was valued at $50 billion in 2015, and provides a more low-risk, flexible option to avoid the retail wasteland. (Glossy)

Millennials & Gen Z are turning a profit online and on mobile by re-selling their retail. Thredup, Poshmark, and Depop are just a few of the most popular brands cashing in on the resale economy’s $18 billion market, and some shoppers say they are making $300 a week on the platforms. Some are also using social to sell, often in conjunction with apps or sites, including Snapchat, Facebook Groups, and Instagram. College students on a budget are reportedly especially drawn to resale, thanks to convenience, value, and access to luxury at a lower price. (FN)

“Adult means being entirely independent. I pay my own bills, make all decisions in my life, and feel very in control.”—Male, 20, NY

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