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“I think racism usually trumps [sexism],” said Black-ish star Tracee Ellis Ross during an uncensored, very candid conversation among six top comedy actresses as part of The Hollywood Reporter‘s Roundtable series. “I think very often in comedy, a lot of the sexist stuff or racist stuff happens behind the scenes. We’re all playing roles and we’re all outspoken women who would, I imagine, speak up.”
The actress praised her work on Girlfriends for giving her a solid foundation in the industry, having worked on a show run by a woman, with an all-female leading cast.
Ross did recount one memorable auditioning experience where she felt objectified, and demoralized, all while testing to play a Harvard-educated lawyer. “I remember thinking, ‘Thank God I didn’t get that role,’ because I would have died every week being tarted up, in a way. And it was my last experience doing that.”
She also touched upon “where funny comes from,” saying, “It’s such a stunning thing, what makes people laugh.”
Ross joined Lena Dunham (Girls), Kate McKinnon (Saturday Night Live), Amy Schumer (Inside Amy Schumer), Gina Rodriguez (Jane the Virgin) and Ellie Kemper (Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt) for the Roundtable, where some the year’s hottest television actresses discussed weighty topics such as racism and sexism in Hollywood while remaining unfiltered, frank and funny.
The full Comedy Actress Roundtable aired on Close Up With The Hollywood Reporter on Sunday, Aug. 16, at 11 a.m. EST on Sundance TV. Tune in this Sunday for the next episode.
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William Jackson Harper