I am a discerning television connoisseur, and yet when Julie Klausner first begins speaking, I find myself surprised that she’s decidedly unlike Julie Kessler, the pop-culture-obsessed, snarky BFF to Billy Eicnher’s grouchy gay doppelgänger on “Difficult People,” now in season 3 on Hulu. First of all, Klausner is extremely kind and aware. Secondly, her humor is a perfect combo of “Curb Your Enthusiasm” meets meta, feminist commentary on everything from Donald Trump to depression to dybbuks. It’s like living inside Larry David’s mind if Larry David was a woman who binged on chicken fingers and knew all about Countess Luann’s divorce, only more subversive, gay-positive and political.
Here’s the thing about ordinary feminism: It’s good for the world but it’s mostly not a laughing matter. Remember WOST in college? It might have been edifying but it wouldn’t have played well in the Catskills.
Back in the fifth century BC, someone decided schlubby white dudes were funny and women were either boring and pretty or shrill, emasculating harpies bent on killing a schlub’s buzz. Of course, there were anomalies: “Lysistrata.” “Mame.” Also the legendary actress Rosalind Russell confounded everyone. She began her career as a model but then legend has it she was a klutz and so they told her to try comedy.
Russell comes to mind when watching “Difficult People.” Her comic timing and celerity. The fear you might blink and miss some sparkling bon mot. This is not the feeling you get while watching a Judd Apatow movie, where the reigning question is why white guys haven’t been canceled yet.
Klausner, on the other hand, seeks to subvert male and female roles using the traditional form of the sitcom: The man drives the action and women reacts and gets annoyed yet mysteriously stays with the guy anyway. Perhaps because he has the health plan? While Klausner herself is an ardent feminist, her TV id is…