For the most recent episode of Smart Girls at the Party, Amy Poehler had on legendary comedy writer and television producer Irma Kalish who has written for everything from The Facts of Life to Maude to I Dream of Jeannie to 227. (For her full incredible resume, click here.) Kalish is a hero to everyone in the tv comedy business, but especially to women considering the amount of ground she broke for women in the field. Not only is she the first woman to ever be made a producer (and eventually an executive producer) of a series (Good Times), but she's also been shattering expectations of what women can do in comedy since she started working in the fifties.
"When I first started writing," she tells Poehler. "Women were not writing comedy. They said, 'women can't make you laugh. They can make you cry, but they can't make you laugh.' And — now, I could make men cry — that's true, but I can also make them laugh."
Kalish deserves our admiration and, luckily, Poehler is willing to provide it in spades.
"Amy," Kalish says at one point in the interview. "I can't help thinking as I talk to you that you are a descendent of mine so to speak."
"I feel that way, Irma," responds a thrilled and wide-eyed Poehler.
Kalish, who will turn 90 next year, is still quick-witted and sharp as a tack. When Amy asks what she likes best about getting older, the comedy vet responds, "The best thing about getting older is to, I guess, be appreciated by young people such as yourself, I would say. And, in a sense, not really caring anymore. You've been there, done that and if people want to put you down or do something bad — fine. You can live with it and just keep going."
This woman is so incredibly funny, confident and unapologetic. No wonder she's inspired so many.