The Hollywood Reporter’s annual gathering of Emmy-contending comedy actresses brought together Amy Schumer (Inside Amy Schumer), Ellie Kemper (Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt), Kate McKinnon (Saturday Night Live), Gina Rodriguez (Jane the Virgin), Lena Dunham (Girls), and Tracee Ellis Ross (Black-ish), in a roundtable discussion that’s sure to anger and/or arouse everyone from Hollywood power players to right-wingers to Hillary Clinton’s campaign manager.
So pop on your “Everyday Pantsuit Tee,” fill up your Scandal-sized wine glass, and enjoy the most shocking excerpts from this tell-all lady symposium.
Hard/Soft Limits in the Entertainment Industry
SCHUMER: I would never suck a dick for a laugh.
DUNHAM: I would never f— someone.
RODRIGUEZ: I’m a brown girl, so I have to cross all the lines.
Sex Scenes, Et Cetera
KEMPER: I’ve never done a sex scene. I am so prudish that when I’ve had to kiss someone in a scene, I think for the next hour that we’re in love! It’s a middle-school frame of mind.
DUNHAM: I never understand when people say, “Sex scenes are so mechanical; it doesn’t feel like anything.” It feels like someone f—ing you! It’s confusing.
ROSS: On network shows, there are a lot of instructions: “Close the mouth. You can move, make the sounds, but no tongue.” I had some incidences on Girlfriends. This guy’s tongue jammed in like a lizard out of nowhere.
Downtown Lena Dunham
DUNHAM: I stopped wearing the nude patch after the first season of Girls. There’s not one guy who works on that show who hasn't seen the inside of my vagina.
Relevant Race Commentary
ROSS: There aren’t many [roles in film]. That’s why I say no to all the offers! (Laughs.) Working on a film is one job where you look at a casting breakdown and I’ll think, “That's me!” But she’s not supposed to be black.
RODRIGUEZ: One hundred percent.
ROSS: But I go for them anyway. Gina, what’s been your experience?
RODRIGUEZ: I remove myself instantly if something’s perpetuating a stereotype. But the only way to stop stereotypes is to say, “I'm going to wait for a journey that suits me”… It’s also about what Hollywood finds financially beneficial. So when we show them shows like Jane the Virgin and Fresh Off the Boat ...
DUNHAM: And Shonda Rhimes owns the entire television mainstay. (Laughter.)
RODRIGUEZ: Show them it’s all a good investment. And it’s not about race. When you vilify it, people shut down.
Less Relevant Race Commentary
DUNHAM: There was a lot of dialogue about race when Girls started. I’d been thinking so much about representing weirdo, chubby girls and strange half-Jews that I had forgotten that there was an entire world of women being underserved.
Systemic Sexism With a Side of More Sexism
DUNHAM: The idea of risk-taking is terrifying. I love Stephen Colbert, he’s a genius, but CBS [couldn’t] take the David Letterman slot and hire somebody who represented even an ounce of diversity? Also, when they got James Corden—another guy I love—there was this joke, “We’ve run out of white men here, we have to import them from England.” There is no shortage of established women who’ve been on the comedy circuit for years. It bums me out that someone like Kathy Griffin was relegated to Fashion Police.
ROSS: There’s a plethora of female talent, and it’s not just about moving someone into a late-night slot.
KEMPER: But it’s back to that thing—until you show a new formula can work, people are too scared to take a chance.
SCHUMER: I think people hate women. I don’t think they want to hear a woman talk for too long. A lot of people project their mom yelling at them. My [career] has been about tricking people into listening. I’m not saying all men hate women, but there’s such an aggression.
DUNHAM: The way women are spoken to in social media is truly shocking. It’s how you imagine people screaming at prisoners in Guantanamo.
RODRIGUEZ: I was up for a role and auditioned in character. They’re like: “We love her. But can she come back in with a tight black dress?”... I said, “That doesn’t make any sense for the character.” They were like, “We need to know if you’re pretty enough to be on the cover of a magazine.”
KEMPER: I once heard an exec say, “If you don’t ask for it, we can’t give it to you.” We can’t go through our lives just being grateful for everything.
SCHUMER: I noticed when I had a suggestion for [Trainwreck director] Judd [Apatow] on set, I would say, “Um, sorry but …” I started all my sentences with “sorry.” I’ve made an effort to not do that now.
ROSS: I was raised by a woman [singer Diana Ross] who has high standards for what she’s worth, which has been called “diva behavior.” I have witnessed flagrant, disgusting behavior, and that is not my mother. There is a way to be a woman, ask for what we deserve and be able to negotiate.
DUNHAM: When it was leaked how much I was getting for my book [a reported $3.7 million for Not That Kind of Girl], there were 39,000 articles asking, “Is she worth it?” Then it came out what [comedian] Aziz Ansari was making on his book [a reported $3.5 million]. No one says a goddamn word.
Ideas For Hillary Clinton’s New Campaign Strategy
SCHUMER: “Snitches Get Stitches.”
MCKINNON: “Guys, Come On.”
DUNHAM: I love that people are like, “She’s not qualified to be president.” Then everybody else they bring in, they’re like, “He managed a Ben & Jerry’s for a while.” (Laughter.)
SCHUMER: “He’s the night manager at Petco.”
KEMPER: I want to hear other slogans!
DUNHAM: “Blondes Have More Foreign Policy Experience.”
Further Girl Domination
RODRIGUEZ: I gave my grandmother a fat f—ing check. I was like, “This is for you.” And she’s like, “Ah, no, no puedo” [I can’t]. I was like, “Just take it.” She opens it, sees the amount and “All right!” (Laughs.)
ROSS: I’m driving a really fancy car now. An SL550 Mercedes, and that shit is brilliant. I don’t have a two-car garage. So my best friend now has my car.
KEMPER: There it is!
DUNHAM: I want women to have all the things.