It’s a good time to be Regina Hall. In 2018 alone, she’s delivered an Oscar-worthy performance in Support the Girls — which is streaming on demand and demanding your attention right now — and played emotional anchor as mom Lisa in YA adaptation The Hate U Give. The latter film, which is currently in limited release and goes wide Friday, is just the latest reminder of what a reliably excellent actress Hall is.
So why don’t gay men stan her?
Yes, obviously, there are gay men out there who already stan Hall. We see you, we appreciate you. But what we’re talking about here is not individual standom. We as a collective need to add Hall to the ranks of the collectively beloved — the contemporary actresses who are so adored by gay men that they become easy to reference as gay icons. The Laura Derns. The Meryl Streeps. The Julianne Moores. Hall deserves her place in that hall of fame (pun absolutely intended).
If you spend a good deal of your time online, chances are you primarily encounter Hall as Brenda in the Scary Movie franchises. This is thanks to a particularly memorable and memeable scene in the original Scary Movie, when Brenda loudly reacts to the movie she’s watching. “Oh, this is some scary shit!” is the most oft-GIF’d and oft-Vined line, thanks to Hall’s exuberant delivery and pronouncing “scary” as “scurry.”
That the moment is still so frequently used online 18 years later is a testament to how good Hall is as Brenda. She’s one of only two characters to appear in the first four Scary Movie installments (Anna Faris’ protagonist Cindy being the other), and is reliably the funniest part of each movie. Brenda is a broad, energetic character, and Hall plays her to the hilt every time.
It’s wild to think of Hall as both the wild Brenda and the even-keeled Lisa in The Hate U Give, but that’s how strong Hall’s range is. Just take a look at her résumé: She can go from romcoms like the Best Man series and Love & Basketball, to a thriller like When the Bough Breaks, to a phenomenon like Girls Trip. And she feels at home in all of them! She’s even done extended stints on TV shows like Ally McBeal and the short-lived Law & Order: LA.
Let’s take Girls Trip as a singular example. Ostensibly, Hall is the straight man as Ryan — the stable and sensible friend of the Flossy Posse whose professional connections are what make the trip to Essence Fest possible at all. But Ryan is also thrilled to zipline across Bourbon Street, and when she accidentally drinks absinthe, Hall wrings every possible laugh out of the subsequent tripping scene.
Yet not long after those scenes, Hall has to flip a switch back to serious when the Flossy Posse looks ready to break up. In just one sequence, Hall has to balance Ryan’s concerns for her marriage and brand with her pain at feeling betrayed by a friend — all while making her seem like the same character who was screaming while ziplining shortly before. And don’t get us started on how she makes us cry during the final speech scene. It’s a deceptively difficult role, one Hall positively crushed. The lack of Golden Globe nomination for Best Actress in a Musical or Comedy still stings.
Support the Girls and The Hate U Give make for a spectacular double play this year, but Hall isn’t letting up. Next year, she’ll star alongside Don Cheadle and Andrew Rannells in the Showtime series Black Monday. She’s also got several films in the pipeline, including — hopefully! — a Girls Trip sequel. That is Hall’s greatest strength as a star: She may not be the biggest one, but she so consistently works that you never have a chance to forget about her.
Regina Hall has given us far too much for us to not stan in return. Now is the time to add her to the canon of gay-beloved actresses. Now is the time to support this girl.
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