Women in Comedy: Why Were Your Favorite Female Comedians Snubbed by the Golden Globes?

It ain't easy being queen.

Mindy Kaling, Amy Poehler, Zooey Deschanel Golden Globes
(Image credit: Getty Images)

The Golden Globe nominations are officially in, and I have many thoughts—specifically on the female nominations for Best Actress In a TV Series. While the pool is rich with talent (including Girls's Lena Dunham, Veep's Julia Louis-Dreyfus, and Nurse Jackie's Edie Falco), there are a few notable names missing from the list. Not only was Mindy Kaling denied recognition for her much-beloved Mindy Project, but Amy Poehler wasn't nominated for her work in Parks and Recreation (slightly awkward considering she's hosting), and award-season darling Zooey Deschanel didn't get a nom either. So what do these ladies have in common? They all star in broadcast network shows, which are most certainly not the new black.

Both the Golden Globes and the Emmy Awards are embracing cable and streaming shows with open arms (shoutout to Amazon's Transparent for scooping up two nominations in its first season), but where does that leave the talented actresses on basic cable? Largely unrecognized, that's where. With the exception of a well-deserved nomination for Jane the Virgin's Gina Rodriguez, the awards powers that be are clearly favoring female comedians who are lucky enough to be on networks that allow them to push boundaries. 

Lena Dunham's character on Girls wouldn't be nearly as laudably groundbreaking had the show aired on CBS. Nor would the colorful language that defines Julia Louis-Dreyfus's performance in Veep be in the picture had it aired on ABC. So what I'm saying is: Maybe it's a little unfair to begrudge the female comedians on broadcast networks who are no less impressive but are much less able to drop an F-bomb or casually chat about sex. In fact, the confines of basic cable make the subversive comedy in shows like The Mindy ProjectParks and Rec, and New Girl all the more impressive.

Look at The Mindy Project: This witty and lovable Fox comedy recently aired broadcast television's first-ever anal sex scene in an episode aptly titled "I Slipped," which took on a totally taboo topic in a hilarious—if subdued—way. Thanks to the show's time slot and network, writers weren't able to use the A-word in the episode itself, but watching  Kaling & co. dance around Fox's PG-13 restrictions and say things like "my office only has one entrance" was what made the episode so fantastic in the first place.

While Kaling has never been nominated for a Golden Globe (I'm working on a change.org petition to fix that as we speak), fellow Fox star Zooey Deschanel was honored with nominations in 2012, 2013, and 2014, but failed to nab a nod this year despite the fact that her show consistently breaks the mold of broadcast network comedy. This season alone fans were gifted an entire episode dedicated to Jess's encounter with a "micro-penis," which—like "I Slipped"—forced the writers to get seriously creative (a "ghoulish raisin" and "tiny pigeon's egg" were among my favorite euphemisms).

And yes, less boundary-pushing broadcast shows like The Big Bang Theory and Modern Family were also rejected by the Golden Globes, but their family-friendly style may be a little passe for voters who want a side of Louie with their main course of Orange Is the New Black. Makes sense, but if the Globes want to reinvent themselves by recognizing fresh, groundbreaking talent, maybe they should take another look at the totally un-basic comedians on basic cable. Amy Poehler, Mindy Kaling, and Zooey Deschanel won't be starring in an Amazon scripted series any time soon, but their talent is just as spot-on as ever, and their shows might be even more cutting-edge.

Mehera Bonner
Entertainment Editor

Mehera Bonner is a celebrity and entertainment news writer who enjoys Bravo and Antiques Roadshow with equal enthusiasm. She was previously entertainment editor at Marie Claire and has covered pop culture for over a decade.