Whitney Cummings, actress, comedian and writer, comes to HBO to join the ranks of Lena Dunham and other comedic woman making plans for the network. Both Sarah Silverman and Issa Rae have pilots under development and we just announced Amy Schumer coming to HBO. And now it is Whitney’s turn.
The network has ordered a pilot for a comedy inspired by Maureen Dowd’s (of the New York Times) novel entitled “Are Men Necessary? When Sexes Collide.” We learned that –
Cummings created, wrote and is starring in the project, described as a comedic portrait of modern relationships that focuses on human nature and social construction using documentary elements and appearances from experts to help the characters understand the biological basis of their behavior.
Amazon gives the following description about the source material:
She may be smart, incisive, witty, and keenly observant but with the release of Are Men Necessary?–a series of pithy (some might say piqued) ruminations on the sexes–Maureen Dowd will never, ever be championed by guys. Not that she cares. Even those who seek to avoid her columns in the august pages of The New York Times are certain to stumble over her invective in syndication. Dowd, it often seems, is everywhere. So those seeking even more via this book should be warned: Are Men Necessary? not only asks the eponymous question; it seeks to answer it with myriad examples (some convincing, some not) drawn from the Toronto Star to Kenneth Starr, from Cosmopolitan to Condoleezza Rice. You can bet a lot of folks aren’t going to relish the answer.
With hands on hips and eyes wide open, Dowd surveys gender relations in contemporary settings such as the workplace, the White House, the mall, and the media, comparing and contrasting as she goes. And while her secondary sources are endless–and, let’s face it, the subject of gender inequality is not exactly new–Dowd manages to produce a fair share of bons mots. To wit, this pearl on the subject of plastic surgery and men: “I have yet to see a man come out of cosmetic surgery without looking transformed into some permanently astonished lesbian version of himself,” Dowd quotes a source as saying. “It’s terrifying. My friend’s father had just his eyes done by the best, most highly sought-after cosmetic surgeon in New York City. And he doesn’t look refreshed or well rested. He looks like he’s being stabbed to death by invisible people.” Dowd’s generously dispersed anecdotes, though seldom as funny, are equally readable. In the end, though, one wishes Are Men Necessary?went beyond simply grocery listing examples of sexual disparity to offer concrete suggestions for change.
We will just have to witness how Whitney turns that into a series. But, Cummings has the experience as she also created Whitney for NBC and 2 Broke Girls for CBS. She also has experience as a standup comic and HBO double dips into her talent to get a comedy special from her as well. It appears Cummings is honing her latest routine and getting ready to tour. Sometime this fall that gig will be filmed for a later HBO Special to air in 2016. She will executive produce with Marty Callner who will direct.
Even if the pilot doesn’t get picked up at least there is the comedy special. What do you think? Should Whitney Cummings join the ranks?