I started watching "Saturday Night Live" (SNL) when I was 12-years-old. Though often the comedy went over my head there was one cast member who always caught my attention: Kristen Wiig. Her various sketches in which she turned herself into a variety of quirky characters resonated with my awkward preteen self, and continue to do so as I have grown up.
Her characters were, and still are, iconic. To name a few, Gilly the afro-haired elementary schooler who's "Sorry" catch-phrase and dance recurred throughout her stay at SNL, the tiny handed Doonese, and my personal favorite Target Lady -- an overexcited cashier -- offered me countless laughs.
Kristen Wiig embraces ordinary people, adding her own comedic twist that takes a common occurrences and makes them humorous. Who else could make a simple encounter with a Target cashier and turn it into a hilarious sketch. Perhaps this is because she came from an ordinary background, and had no inclination to act until a college professor told her to try an acting class. She moved to Los Angeles and worked minimum wage jobs until she got a part in the acting improvisation troupe Groundlings which inevitably launched her SNL career. From there, the rest is history.
But why does she deserve to be recognized? Kristen Wiig is an unapologetic comedic genius. Comedy, a genre dominated by male actors often portrays women as objects of lust, or simply a passive ditsy character within male centered films. Kristen Wiig breaks away from this mold, creating female characters and portraying them in such a way that is real. Her characters are odd, they curse, they make mistakes, and in this way are completely relatable. She also utilizes them in order to mock and discredit the hyper-sexual or over-dramatized depictions of women in film.
This empowerment of women in comedy was seen most vividly in her movie "Bridesmaids" in which she plays Annie, a down on her luck character who's life crumbles when her best friend becomes engaged. "Bridesmaids" was a virtually all female cast, in which comedic powerhouses like Melissa McCarthy and Maya Rudolph worked alongside her creating a film that is not merely a "female" comedy but simply a comedy that is hilarious. Kristen's character isn't afraid to do what she wants, leaving me hysterical when watching the airplane scene or various other scenes within the movie. By creating this box office success in 2011, Wiig set a precedent that female comedians should have the same respect given to male actors within the industry.
Kristen Wiig on "Bridesmaids" and feminism:
With this seriousness aside, Wiig's various characters offer a ceaseless amount of phrases to quote, and idolize. In fact, my friends and I were so enamored with the movie "Bridesmaids" that we dressed as the cast, posing as they do on the iconic movie cover for Halloween. This was by far our biggest Halloween costume success, as well as a tribute to an actress we love. Kristen Wiig lets women know that it is okay to be yourself even if yourself is a little unhinged. For that, along with many laughs, I thank you, Kristen Wiig.