WOMEN
11/05/2014 03:18 pm ET Updated Nov 05, 2014

What 'The Comeback' Taught Lisa Kudrow About Sexism

Lisa Kudrow is living a dream come true as her hilarious cult hit "The Comeback" returns to HBO after nine years off the air, but in the years since its initial cancellation in 2005, she learned an important lesson about sexism.

"The Comeback" finds its comedy in the humiliation of Kudrow's character Valerie Cherish, but viewers are often more accoustomed -- and perhaps willing -- to embrace this type of behavior from male characters, such as those played by Larry David and Ricky Gervais. In an interview with BuzzFeed, "Comeback" executive producer Dan Bucatinsky described that response as "a level of misogyny that will never leave this business.”

Kudrow told HuffPost Live's Ricky Camilleri on Tuesday that while she did feel audiences were uncomfortable with a humiliated woman on TV, she thinks the problem expands far beyond Hollywood.

"I'm not sure I'd go as far as misogyny in the business, though, but a lot of people do see it that way. ... I think it's just the world. I don't think it's specific to this industry," Kudrow said.

The actress recalled a conversation with her "Comeback" co-creator Michael Patrick King during the first season in which he expressed unhappiness that entertainment lacks a point of reference for every type of woman, especially a potentially unlikeable one. It wasn't until the series got the axe from HBO that Kudrow realized King had a point.

"I thought, 'I don't know what you're talking about. It's a character. It's a great character.' I wasn't thinking in terms of a man or a woman. What does it matter? It's a great character," she said. "I didn't think it would matter, and then it slowly hit me: Oh, that may have been something there. That may have been what it was."

The second season of "The Comeback" continues to explore what types of behavior audiences deem acceptable, or at least humorous, from female characters -- particularly in an episode in which Valerie is pushed to simulate sex on screen. The series returns to HBO on Sunday, Nov. 9.

See Lisa Kudrow discuss sexism in the video above, and watch the full HuffPost Live conversation here.

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