Earlier this month, Elizabeth Banks launched a new website, ironically and terribly named WhoHaha, which offers a digital platform for women in comedy. WhoHaha features original videos by women, both well-known and newly starting, as well as curated videos. “This is an opportunity,” Banks recently told AdAge. “There are people doing it really well for boys. I just felt like there was not a place that was doing it really, really well, and specifically, for girls and women.”
WhoHaha (which AdAge unnecessarily points out is a play on a nickname for lady bits) will host Banks’ popular YouTube series, “Really Important Questions,” where the actress/director answers burning questions like when to eat a sandwich. She will also host a series on the site called “Ask a Badass” where Banks will interview other women in comedy, as well as famous co-stars like Jennifer Lawrence. Right now the site has a handful of original videos by YouTuber Megan MacKay, who went viral last year with her satirical Ray Rice-inspired makeup tutorial. Comedian Akilah Hughes also has her own sub-blog on the site featuring comedic lifehacks (like how to bail on going out) and some product placement.
In addition to providing a showcase to often overlooked female comedians, Banks hopes to also “nurture” the women on her site. AdAge reports:
“WhoHaha intends to be more than just a content play, aspiring to be a holistic media company that creates movies, TV shows, podcasts and books, and also prepares new-media talents for Hollywood.”
And Banks herself seems to have been driven by the difficulty that women in comedy face, particularly when it comes to bridging that gap between online popularity and Hollywood. In the interview with AdAge, she was quick to point out that women in the entertainment industry are particularly in need of the support of other women:
“Believe us when we tell you that it’s not equal and it’s hard and you will be held to higher standards and you have to work hard and you have to stay committed. I was told growing up, ‘The world is your oyster and you can be whatever you want.’ The fact of the matter is, that is empirically untrue for most women. We need those barriers to be broken down by young people, as well as us seasoned pros.”
The site is certainly seizing on the film and television industries’ very recent discovery that women can sometimes be funny. Between the success of Melissa McCarthy, Amy Schumer, and Tina Fey, it’s nice that female comedians have finally been deemed worth an investment. At any rate, despite its unfortunate name (which Banks described as “It’s about the ‘who’ behind the ‘ha-ha.’”), WhoHaha looks like a promising all-woman rejoinder to sites like Funny or Die.
Image via AP.