Created By: AgProvJune 11, 2012 Last Edited By: AgProvMarch 29, 2015
Nuked

The Carol Cleveland

The token woman in an otherwise all-male comedy troupe

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What it says on the can... you have a group of men who do comedy. They've maybe been at it together since university or shortly afterwards. If they "do" women as part of their sketches or routines, it's generally as grotesques played by the boys in drag. But after a while something is mising. They come to realise it might be glamour, or somebody to play "straight" female roles. So they look around for an (ideally) attractive woman to join the gang, an actress who can do comedy, but not so well that she overshadows the boys...

Named for Carol Cleveland, the ex-Bunny Girl who became the seventh, distaff, Python, and who provided most of the glam when the script called for it. Later on, other female parts were also played by Connie Booth, of course (she was the first Mrs Cleese). And we are talking prolonged speaking parts here: Python did use other female performers, but in silent parts.)

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Community Feedback Replies: 27
  • June 11, 2012
    NimmerStill
    Amy Poehler in The Upright Citizens Brigade
  • June 11, 2012
    Shrikesnest
    So The Smurfette Principle applied to casting?
  • June 11, 2012
    AgProv
    Hmm. Smurfette does seem to cover this ground. So it might be best to discontinue this and just incorporate these details in that trope?
  • June 11, 2012
    MorganWick
    I can see a difference in that this is like the Smurfette Principle applied to Real Life - the one is writers adding a token chick for "balance", the other is almost the opposite, a bunch of boys adding a woman because of a genuine need for one. I'm a little concerned about the title, though.
  • June 11, 2012
    Duncan
    Kerri Kenney in The State, though she was with the troupe from the beginning.

    This trope may have something to do with the social conditioning women get that says being funny isn't ladylike, which led to the incorrect assumption that women aren't funny...
  • June 11, 2012
    HeartOfAnAstronaut
    Usually Jo Brand on QI, but the show has a lot of all male episodes. Never Mind The Buzzcocks occasionally has one, but sometimes has two or none.

    Probs needs a rename though. I actually know who Carol Cleveland is but I completely forgot that until I read the description.
  • June 11, 2012
    peccantis
    The who?! Bad bad trope namer.
  • June 11, 2012
    CockroachED
    The Same But More Specific = Smurfette Principle + Only Applied to Live Action Comedy. Don't throw away what you have just incorporate it into the exsisting page.
  • June 11, 2012
    AgProv
    Interesting that the Monty Python entry lists Ms Cleveland under Ms Fanservice snd Sixth Ranger. This would be the third trope she falls under: add the Smurfette Principle and that's four.

    Ok, so if not Carol Cleveland (is it just that her name is relatively obscure, even to American fans of Python?) then who?
  • June 11, 2012
    lazarus73
    Carol Cleveland is well known as the girl in Monty Python, and she is a perfectly fine name for this trope. Not sure if this is tropeworthy, this seems like The Smurfette Principle, but if it is, the name is fine.
  • June 11, 2012
    MorganWick
    The problem is that "The [Name of Character]" is a deprecated trope naming convention and subtrope of Trope Namer Syndrome. I know who Carol Cleveland is, but there's no guarantee anyone else will, fan of Python or not (or potentially, never having heard of Python).
  • June 11, 2012
    randomsurfer
    • Spear Counterpart: She TV, a short-lived sketch comedy series from 1994, starred a bunch of women and a couple of token males. The males got most of the press attention (what little there was); plus their names came first alphabeically, so you'd see TV Guide listings like "She TV starring Nick Bakay and Carl Banks."
  • June 12, 2012
    NimmerStill
    This place is like the No Homers Club (in-universe) with these trope-namer conventions. Many of the discredited ones are the ones that attracted some of us to the site in the first place.

    That said, in this particular case, I've watched a lot of Python and had never heard of Carol Cleveland. I don't tend to watch credits though.
  • October 7, 2013
    AgProv
    Maybe rename as Token Female?

    Ref. "Spear Counterpart" and She TV - a British ensemble comedy show called Smack The Pony worked on the same principle. it was quite funny, too.
  • October 7, 2013
    Stratadrake
    Who the hell is Carol Cleveland? (Says the non-Monty-Python fan in the room. I have nothing against it, I just literally don't know anything about it.)
  • October 7, 2013
    DRCEQ
    ^ That was going to be my argument too. Just remember, just because someone is "Well known" among the fandom of that series, doesn't mean that people who don't know anything about the series knows who they are. That's Fan Myopia right there.
  • October 7, 2013
    DAN004
    "The Character" is a telltale sign of a Bad Trope Namer anyways.
  • October 7, 2013
    DRCEQ
    Indeed, we still have a few of them floating around that are lucky to have become so popular that, at this point, renaming them would actually harm the website.
  • October 7, 2013
    JonnyB
    Sounds like real-life examples of The Smurfette Principle.
  • October 8, 2013
    Koveras
    @AgProv: Doesn't Token Female already redirect to The Smurfette Principle? Or was that Token Girl?
  • October 8, 2013
    kjnoren
    Yeah, this is the The Same But More Specific, and to a certain media as well.
  • October 12, 2013
    oneuglybunny
    Agreed, this is either The Smurfette Principle, The Chick or at best Action Girl. Regrets, Motion to Discard 2.
  • November 8, 2013
    AgProv
    Revisiting this one and reading the arguments, as well as a close study of The Smurfette Principle, I agree these examples could usefully be incorporated into "Smurfette" under various headings and I propose to close this YKTTW to start moving them there. Are we all in agreement?
  • November 8, 2013
    DAN004
    ^ Page Action Crowner plz.
  • November 9, 2013
    ShanghaiSlave
  • April 23, 2014
    AgProv
    Wow, when was this launched? I honestly thought it was dead in the water and nothing more needed to be said or added! Can't locate it as a trope, though....
  • March 29, 2015
    AgProv
    interestingly, at the bottom of the page it says "this YKTTW has been launched". I'm surprised at that as it was nowhere near launching - no hats, for one thing - and I can't find it on the wiki anywhere but here. I honestly thought this had sunk down to one of the lower pages in the slush-pile of failed YKTTW's!

Three days must pass before this YKTTW is Launchworthy or Discardable