“I am not funny. What I am is brave.” ~Lucille Ball
If you never saw the episode with Lucy stomping the grapes, are you even an American??? Even though it’s been almost sixty years since I Love Lucy was on the air, it continues today to be one of the most watched and beloved sitcoms. So take that Keeping Up with the Kardashians, I doubt the Sunday reality show will ever experience that kind of longevity, unless our world descends into one of Dante’s level of hell where the show is played on loop and everyone is forced to eat baby kale and go juicing, but that’s another story.
Too often our culture elevates women beca
use they have “empowered” themselves through their bodies and sex appeal, when really we should be diverting our attention through the other ways
in which women can empower themselves, through their: intelligence, ingenuity, strength, creativity, or oh yeah, by being one of the funniest comedians EVER and the first female to own a production company. Lucille Ball may not have trademarked her butt, but she did brand her famous vibrant red hair , which is pretty badass if I do say so. So let’s talk about what is really means to be a “Female Hustler” , before there was ever such a thing and what it really means to leave your legacy on film…
Lucille Ball paved the way for comedians like Tina Fey and Amy Schumer by doing physical comedy at a time when hollywood starlets were only portrayed as docile, coy or sultry. She was a real pioneer in comedy and proved that women did not always have to appear “lady-like.” Lucy in her scheming was laughable and at times ridiculous , but we admired her for being assertive. You could never say no to Lucy that was just one way to ensure that in the next scene, she would be up on stage singing in a hula skirt at Ricky’s club. Lucy was not just an actor but the co-owner of Desilu Productions, with fellow I Love Lucy co-star and husband Desi Arnaz. When the couple split in 1960, Ball had full rights to the company which later became Paramount Pictures(major alert). There, she would oversee the company air shows like Star Trek and Mission Impossible.
But any who, Lucy was also ground breaking in a few other ways. Her and Desi were the first biracial couple on air. Ball was hard with the network to have her husband as her co-star, despite CBS’s comments that the actor , Arnaz, was too”ethnic” for the American public. Lucy was also pregnant on the show, which was unheard for TV and a bit risqué. And if that does not make Lucy enough of a rockstar of her era, she was also married to a man six years her junior and had her break out moment on the show at age forty, practically unheard of even by today’s standards.
So when Lucille Ball says she was not just funny but brave, we know a bit better what she really meant. It is sometimes easier to play into people’s hands. It takes courage to break barriers and stereotypes. Lucille Ball will always have a soft place in my heart. I always think of the scene in Pretty Woman where Julia Roberts is vegging out on the carpet watching I Love Lucy re-runs; there is just something timeless there, another classic moment in and of itself.