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Daily Helping for May 15th, 2021 – Leading Lady Parts – Jessica Swale

A photo of actors Gemma Arterton, Catherine Tate, and Anthony Welsh from the Leading Lady Parts video. They are sitting in a line, at a desk, facing the camera, with various notebooks, pens, and water bottles in front of them.

Full disclosure. This comedy video, written and directed by Jessica Swale, made me howl with laughter. Especially the ending, but I’m not going to ruin it for you. You’ll have to discover that delightfully hysterical payoff for yourself. But suffice it to say that I loved Leading Lady Parts, and I was laughing from beginning to end. At first watch.

But then you watch it a second time, and it’s suddenly a lot less funny. Not because it is any less brilliant or pointed satire, because it is that. No, it’s suddenly a lot less funny because of the knowledge that this isn’t just satire. Shit like this happens all the time in the entertainment industry, indeed in most industries, and it is heartbreaking to think about how many actresses have had to endure these humiliations over the years. Hell, even the actresses in this video could probably write a book about their real life experiences, and I’m sure it wouldn’t be pretty reading.

So yeah. This video made me laugh. A lot. But it is also almost uncomfortably on the nose about what actresses, especially actresses of colour, face every day in the audition room. I can only hope that someday soon we can laugh at Leading Lady Parts for an entirely different reason, namely how hopelessly out of date it is. I believe that that day is coming. Just not nearly as quickly as it should.

Suggestions for artists I should check out? Please contact me with your ideas. I hope you enjoyed your daily helping of art!