By Leah Curney
On May 7th, New York Women in Film & Television hosted a virtual panel discussion with filmmakers Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady, creators of the hilarious new documentary, Call Your Mother, which explores the relationship between comedians and their mothers. The panel also included two of the comedians featured in the film, Judy Gold and Bridget Everett, and was produced and moderated by NYWIFT board member Terry Greenberg.
A comedic writer and performer myself, I was thrilled to attend the event. To be expected, you get this many funny ladies in a room (even a virtual one), and you’re bound to have plenty of laughs. However, there were many poignant and surprising moments throughout the conversation as well.
Here are a few of my favorite quotes and top takeaways from the event:
- Both performers in the panel described the empowering nature of comedy and being on stage. Judy Gold shared, “I was very bullied as a kid and I think having control of the laughter was big for me. I wasn’t being laughed at, I was making them laugh… this was my space, this was my home.”
- Both performers also addressed how much they miss performing for a live audience, now that COVID-19 has brought public gatherings to a halt. Technology may allow us to stay connected, but nothing comes close to the real-time energy and feedback of performing live stand-up comedy, they lamented.
- Both the performers and the filmmakers spoke about how their moms, born just a few generations earlier, had far fewer life and career options than they did. They spoke with appreciation of the sacrifices their mothers made, and the ways their moms inspired and influenced their senses of humor.
- Filmmakers Heidi and Rachel pointed out that at some point in the film each of the mothers expressed a similar sentiment about their comic daughters, “She’s doing what I wish I could do.”
- When asked whether the filmmakers thought to include comedians who didn’t have good relationships with their mothers, Heidi and Rachel were quick to respond, “Of course!” Seeking to capture depth and diversity in their film, they approached a number of comedians who had challenging or strained relationships with their mothers… but all of them declined to participate. Apparently it was just too painful.
These are a few of the highlights from the panel, but you can watch the full recording, and hear these talented women in their own words, on the NYWIFT Facebook page:
You can also hear an interview with Judy Gold on a recent episode of NYWIFT’s Women Crush Wednesdays podcast. Click below to listen and subscribe:
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