Tal Rabinowitz and Madelyn Pugh Davis

First: neither Tal Rabinowitz nor Madelyn Pugh Davis will be appearing at this year’s LAFF. Tal, we’d love to meet you and ask you a thousand questions someday, and Madelyn, (who has left us to take her place in the Big Comedy Festival in the Sky), you are why we do this thing in the first place.

Tal Rabinowitz is the VP of Comedy at Sony TV and is rumored to be the next head of comedy at NBC. I’d never heard of Tal Rabinowitz before this announcement, but something tells me that she is one of those cool, stealth Women of Comedy, doing nifty stuff behind the scenes, like a superhero. Also, that green ruffly shirt is awesome. Big congrats, Tal, and if you want to be the keynote speaker at LAFF 2012, we can offer you as an honorarium unlimited breakfast tacos and a spot on Val’s couch. (And our eternal gratitude, too) I am excited that a fellow funny lady will be directing the future of comedy on the network that brought 12-year-old me the life-changing show The Days and Nights of Molly Dodd (ripe for a revival, if you ask me).

Madelyn Pugh Davis died last week at the age of 90. She was a head writer for I Love Lucy, as well as Lucille Ball’s subsequent television programs. Her main concern was physical comedy, and according to her obituary in the New York Times, she often tried out Lucy’s stunts herself before handing them off to Ms. Ball.

It’s important to remember women like Madelyn Pugh Davis, a “girl writer” during an era where few women worked as writers, much less as writers of the most popular and enduring television comedy of all time. Not only because they opened doors for other talented writers who just happened to be women, but also because things are such that it is easy to forget them.

Not like you can forget Lucille Ball. She’s pretty much unforgettable. But the next time you see an episode of I Love Lucy, think about Madelyn, another funny woman writing for a funny woman. who created some of the most iconic comedy scenes in history.

–Mo Daviau

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