All-Female 'Ghostbusters' Stars Land Elle Covers

ELLE July Leslie Jones H 2016
Courtesy of ELLE

Comedy rules.

On July 15, Sony will release the Paul Feig-directed reboot of the classic supernatural comedy Ghostbusters. Maybe you've heard a bit about it? Yes, of course you have (or you can refresh your memory here and here). Controversy aside, you definitely know the names of the film's stars, Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Kate McKinnon and Leslie Jones. 

Elle snagged the four leading ladies for a series of July covers as part of its inaugural Women in Comedy issue, which is packed with features and photos starring some of the biggest (and fastest rising) names in the funny business. 

Pret-a-Reporter caught up with Editor-in-Chief Robbie Myers for an exclusive Q&A session about Elle's new comedy package, what makes the Ghostbusters quartet so appealing and why women in comedy are having a moment right now. 

Hi Robbie! Your four covers are gorgeous. It’s your first Women in Comedy issue ever. The easy question is: Why now?

With the announcement that four women were going to play the iconic Ghostbusters in Paul Feig's remake, we thought this is a big moment in the culture for female comedians, and women who make the culture are at the core of what Elle is about. But first we had to get those four amazing actresses locked down for our covers! This issue is full of hilarious women, and we cover almost all the major players making an impact right now. There are so many female comedians who have broken out in the past decade alone. And Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, Leslie Jones and Kate McKinnon are certainly among them.

The first all-female Ghostbusters does seem like the perfect opportunity to launch such a franchise for Elle. And now for the tough question: Did you get to see the movie? If so, what can you say?

What I can say about the movie is this: Wiig, McCarthy, Jones, and McKinnon are the comedy dream team — and, of course, we love that this “remake” features new characters with an almost all-female cast.

What did you learn about what it takes to be a top female comedian today from your interviews with McCarthy, Wiig, McKinnon and Jones? Has there been any throughline to their success?

They each talk about how they are so committed — or as McCarthy put it, "psychotically attached" — to the characters they create, which is what I think makes them stand out among other women and men across this industry. Whether it’s Wiig's Target Lady or Jones' Naked and Afraid spoof, they've found success in how believable, and of course, how funny, they make their characters.

I love that you put Wanda Sykes, Margaret Cho, Abbi Jacobson, Ilana Glazer and Rachel Bloom in a room and hit record for a very funny, no-holds-barred discussion. For you, what was the most surprising thing to come out of that conversation?

It’s so interesting that as comedians they all feel that feminism in their act is sort of a given, even if simply by their presence.

And if you could sit in a room with any comedian — a living or late legend — who would you pick and why?

Um.... Have you heard of this great comedian Melissakristenlesliekate? Hilarious!

For the Riot Girls feature, you and your team selected the "latest and greatest" female comedians on the rise. What characteristics were you looking for?

These women are 14 of the most audacious stand-ups currently selling out clubs across the country. They’re in the industry as club mainstays, podcasters, writers’ room wunderkinds, best-selling authors, TV leading ladies and for some, all of the above.  

You snagged Tina Fey, too, one of the America’s most-loved stars. You call her “divine,” in your Editor’s Letter. Good call. What makes her so appealing to every demographic?

I think because like all great comedians, she knows just how far to push us into looking at our own ongoing ridiculousness and does it with such a light touch, you don't even feel the blade. But I also think she's a real humanist.

Tina recently mentioned the challenges women still face in the comedy business, as they are paid considerably less while their male counterparts are putting out not-so-appealing fare. After pulling together this issue, what are your takeaways for what it means to be a woman in comedy today?

Comedians are our reporters; our id and super-ego fighting with each other out loud. And if half the population is not getting their news, that's a problem. It's shocking to me that there's still so much not just sexism, but misogyny. But I'm heartened by how big the audiences are for female stand-up performers and for female-led comedies that break the box office, and for both there are lots of men in the room, laughing their heads off. 

Thanks for doing your part to help level that lame, age-old debate of whether women are funnier than men. Now about that White House …

Oh they're really funny in Washington; this election is hilarious. But check out Elle's Women in Washington power list... 

Scroll down to check out the Ghostbusters ladies on their individual covers (all photographed by legendary lensman Mark Seliger and reprinted courtesy of Elle magazine).