Rebel Wilson reveals shocking treatment on beloved Aussie comedy in new memoir Rising Rebel

The Nightly
3 Min Read
Rebel Wilson will present The AACTA Awards.
Rebel Wilson will present The AACTA Awards. Credit: Supplied/TheWest

Actor Rebel Wilson has pulled back the curtain on the torrent of derogatory jokes she copped on the set of the iconic Australian television show that helped launch her career.

In an extract from her memoir Rising Rebel, the Pitch Perfect star recalls playing Toula – the overweight girlfriend of a drug-dealing pizza delivery man in the early 2000s comedy Fat Pizza.

“I was the first recurring female character on Fat Pizza who wasn’t a sexy blonde bimbo,” Wilson writes.

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“Cue the many, many derogatory jokes about my size and appearance.”

Wilson said she willingly embraced the role of the “big fat whale” – but was determined to give the character “depth” as she fought to gain a foothold in a male-dominated industry.

“I also tried to hold my own among the guys, mainly improvising my own lines, hoping to get one joke on camera during a twelve-hour workday – because, trust me, no-one’s going to just hand you amazing jokes or material,” she writes.

“Not if you’re a woman in the early 2000s and starting from the bottom in television comedy. You have to push your way through the door and keep it ajar with your fat foot before they close it on you again.

“I felt like the girl who had gained access to a special men’s club. It was very clear to me what they found funny, and I went with it. I was in a boys’ show, so I had to take their fatphobic jokes right on my double chin. All people cared about was that I was fat and funny. And I was doing both of those things very well.”

Wilson writes how she was left doubting her talent and questioning her future in a “world where men called all the shots” after her scripts were repeatedly ignored or rejected on the sketch show The Wedge.

After 29 failed auditions, she eventually landed a role in the hit film Bridesmaids.

The comedy turned Wilson into an international star. She was booked for six movies within a fortnight of Bridesmaids’ release – including Pitch Perfect.

Wilson describes the comments she received as a plus-sized women in Hollywood.

“During my first few years in Hollywood, I recall getting a lot of comments like, “Oh wow, you’re so brave!” These were normally meant as “Oh wow, you in your size-twenty body strutting down a red carpet like you’re hot… That’s so brave!” or “Oh wow, you’re obese and you still get in front of a camera and smile – that’s so brave!”

“I was always really put off by these comments, which 99 per cent of the time came from other women.

“Why am I so f*cking brave? Because I’m just ME?? Because I dare to exist as a plus-size woman in Hollywood? The way women would say this to me also usually had the sense of “I’m glad you’re the one out there doing this… I wouldn’t have the courage to do what you do.”

“The way they kept going on about being “brave” made me wonder – how many negative comments were these women getting about their bodies in their daily life?”

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