“Baroness Von Sketch Show” Challenges Comedy Norms
Good comedy is like porn. You know it when you see it. And sometimes, it’s also naked. “There’s an ongoing tradition that male nudity can be hilarious, but why can’t female nudity be hilarious?,” asks Jennifer Whalen, co-creator of IFC’s new comedy series “Baroness Von Sketch Show,” which premiered this month. Adds co-creator Meredith MacNeil, who stars in a sketch depicting a gym that puts women in a separate locker room when they turn 40: “You can see women’s bodies in all of their glory and shapes and sizes,” she says. “It doesn’t always have to be in a sexual way.”
Of course, nudity isn’t really the point of Baroness Von Sketch, whose humor comes from a decidedly female perspective but also resonates across genders. Who doesn’t have annoying co-workers? Who hasn’t accidentally ordered a “Grande” at an indie coffee shop? And who hasn’t progressed from using dry shampoo to eating a bear? Okay, maybe not that last one but still… “The thing that keeps the show burning in the writer’s room is making sure that we’re telling the truth,” says MacNeil. “And that everything we’re pulling from has relatable moments in it.”
The show, which ran for 2 seasons in Canada before IFC picked it up for the states, already has a following for its “Red Wine Ladies,” whose wine habits and TMI-inspired conversations know no limits. “Especially as you get older, and you’ve got careers and family and partners or whatever, to find the time to get together with your favorite people that you don’t see very often—you make a date, and you are going to get drunk,” says showrunner and co-creator Carolyn Clifford-Taylor, who with other co-creators, including the hilarious Aurora Browne, painstakingly whittle down concepts into their relatable cores. To be sure, these gals know when to end a sketch. “It’s being ruthless that way and knowing whether all the information is there—or is it too much,” Clifford-Taylor says. Yep. You know when you see it.