Throughout the decades, funny women have had a hard time being taken seriously as female comedians. There was an attitude that women weren’t funny and that the only place for them in the comedy-world was as the straight woman who the male comic would use to set up his jokes or bounce his one-liners off of.
However, you can’t stop a focused woman from going after what she wants—especially if she’s told she can’t have it. Female comedians began to channel their inner bad-asses and refused to let the status quo of the comedy world stop them.
They did whatever the male comics were doing including taking the mic at comedy clubs, telling jokes, doing comic impressions and funny comic bits. They were breaking the rules and taking over the comedy world.
Now, not only are women killing it when it comes to comedy; there’s more diversity in comedy than ever before and more voices are being heard. Women are making us laugh and making us think.
Sometimes it seems as if everything is so messed up, that the only thing you can do is laugh.
Never underestimate the power of laughter as it’s a vital part of life. Having a good belly-laugh once a day is an excellent way of practicing self-care. Laughing is a stress-reliever, it teaches us about ourselves, and helps us connect with others. One of the greatest things about laughter is that it’s a natural mood-booster and can make you feel happier immediately.
There are a ton of female comedians and funny women out there like Amy Schumer, Wanda Sykes, Tina Fey, Maya Rudolph, Tiffany Haddish, Sarah Silverman, Kristin Wiig, and Leslie Jones. They’re all incredible and the best thing is that there’s room for even more make-you-laugh-until-you-pee women.
So, we gathered together a list of some of the funniest women around—some of these you probably know, others you may have heard of, and some you might have missed out on.
These women know how to write and deliver punch-lines, how to act out a bit to heighten the visual comedy, and how to use their voices to deliver their messages while connecting with an audience. These female comedians are stand-ups, sketch-comedians, and comic actresses and all of them have the power to make you laugh your ass off.
The subject matter these women use is political, personal, provoking, but no matter what the topic, it always has an element of truth in it. The comic actresses we’ve included are skilled in making the material that’s given to them and making it their own.
12 Female Comedians You Need to Know Right Now
You know her as Kelli on “Insecure,” but did you know she was hired originally as a writer for that show or that she has a very impressive comedy resume? Check out her hilarious characters on Netflix’s “The Characters” where she plays six characters including Ashlee, Carl, Tanisha, and Desiree.
Like so many others before her, Natasha got her start as a drama teacher in the Bronx. Okay, maybe teaching in the Bronx isn’t the normal beginning for a comedian, but it probably inspired her comedy in a variety of ways. She later went to UCB where she learned how to hone her comedy craft writing and performing in sketches.
“Insecure” wasn’t her first professional writing gig, she also wrote on “SNL” and “212: UCB House Sketch Team.” She’s currently developing an original idea for HBO which she’ll executive produce, write, and star in. Check out her Basic Bitch video, to get an idea of her incredible comic timing and range.
If you haven’t seen “Fleabag,” then I envy you because you now get to see this amazingly funny, dark, sad, and sometimes shocking, Amazon series for the first time. Phoebe Waller-Bridge created, wrote, and stars in “Fleabag” which originated as a one-woman-stage play.
She’s also the creator and writer of the always-enthralling and often dark, “Killing Eve,” worked on the next James Bond Movie, and executive produced and has a recurring role in the upcoming HBO show, “Run.”
It seems as if everything she touches is transformed into something unique, unexpected, and brilliant. While it’s tragic that she has no plans for another season of “Fleabag,” it will be exciting to see what she does next.
When not touring the country with her stand-up, Aparna divides her time between performing and writing for television. Rolling Stone called her “One of the 50 Funniest People Right Now.” She’s appeared on “Crashing” and “Corporate,” voiced animated characters in “Bojack Horseman” and recorded a comedy album, “Just putting it out there.” Some of her writing jobs include “Totally Biased with W. Kamau Bell,” “Your Main Thing,” and “Late Night with Seth Myers.” She’s currently at work on her first book.
It may be tempting to forget all the things Alex has done before “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” but her previous work has been consistently brilliant. She started out in a sketch group in Hollywood and was discovered at “The Big Stinkin Improv Festival” in Austin. She went on to create many memorable characters on the sketch show “MADtv,” including the controversial Mrs. Swan (which she created based on her Hungarian grandmother.)
Alex was originally slated to play Sookie on “The Gilmore Girls” but there was a scheduling conflict with MADtv. She did, however, make a few appearances on the show. From there she not only wrote on “Family Guy,” but she voiced Lois Griffin. Her most dramatic work (but still funny) was on the underappreciated “Getting On” where she played the somewhat dim, Dawn Forchette.
It’s her work as Susie Myerson on “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” that has brought her the fame and awards she deserves. Alex will sometimes do live shows and if you get the opportunity to see a comedy genius work her magic live, don’t miss it!
Cameron Esposito is a stand-up comedian, actor, podcaster, and social- justice warrior. Jay Leno referred to her as “the future of comedy.” With Buzzfeed, she created a series of videos called, “Ask a Lesbian,” which featured her then-wife, Rhea Butcher (also, an amazing writer and comic in her own right). The pair went on to co-create and star in the TV show “Take My Wife.”Cameron currently has two podcasts, “Put Your Hands Together,” and “Queery,”
In 2018, Cameron released “Rape Jokes,” an hour-long stand-up special about sexual assault from a survivor’s perspective. The special was free to stream, but people were given the option of downloading a copy with the proceeds going to RAINN (the nation’s largest anti-sexual violence organization). Her full-length album, “Marriage Material” is available now.
I noticed Nicole Byer on her MTV show “Loosely Exactly Nicole” which ran for one season and then went to Facebook for its second and last season. Now, she’s the host of the Netflix series “Nailed it.” When not acting, writing, performing stand-up, or hosting, she has a podcast called, “Why won’t you date me?”
She’s real, funny AF, and tours the country doing her act. Her humor is raw, sometimes raunchy, but completely relatable and true.
Lilly Singh became a sensation on YouTube with her sketch-comedy videos that dealt with subjects such as combating her depression, racism, and relationships. Her very successful channel, “IISuperwoman II” has over 15 million subscribers. Her book, “How to Be a Bawse: A Guide to Conquering Life” was a New York Times bestseller.
This fall, she becomes the first woman of color to host a late-night talk show on a major network with her show “A Little Late With Lilly Singh.” She’s committed to empowering women and said in a Time article, “If I can have an impact, it seems like a waste not to use it to have some kind of positive influence on the planet.”
Ali Wong does it all—acting, writing, and standup. Her standup special, “Ali Wong: Baby Cobra” was hugely popular on Netflix, as was her film “Always be my Maybe.” With all that, you have to wonder how she has time to be a series regular on the ABC show “American Housewife.”
Her first book, “Dear Girls,” is a collection of hilarious and insightful letters written to her daughters, and is coming out in the fall. As she points out in “Baby Cobra,” most of the time pregnant stand-ups don’t perform, but they’re not Ali Wong and they don’t have her talent for not pulling any punches when it comes to comedy and speaking her truth no matter how uncomfortable it may make people.
Carole Montgomery proves that age is just a number when it comes to being funny. A long time, stand-up comedian, she’s the creator and one of the stars of “Funny Women of a Certain Age” on Showtime, and she also tours the country with the show. For years, she headlined clubs in Las Vegas and was frequently referred to as a Las Vegas star.
She’s had over two dozen television appearances, and also helps actors and comedians develop their own solo shows.
Not only was Negin Farsad named one of the “50 Funniest Women” by Huffington Post, and one of the 10 best feminist comedians by Paper Magazine, she’s also given a Ted Talk. Her book, “How to Make White People Laugh” is a memoir that encompasses her social-justice ideas with humor and was nominated for the prestigious “ Thurber Prize for Humor.” She’s the host of “Fake the Nation,” and a regular panelist on NPR’s “Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me.”
She’s written, directed, and starred in projects for MTV, PBS, IFC, and was the director/ producer of the film “The Muslims are Coming,” and she doesn’t appear to be slowing down anytime soon.
Hannah Gadsby changed the way we think of stand-up forever with her thought-provoking special “Nanette.” This special,which was equal parts comedy and tragedy brought up topics not often used as material for stand-up such as sexual assault.
Since the beginning of 2019, Hannah has been touring the United States and Australia with her new show “Douglas.” She refers to her ADHD and autism diagnoses in her act as a way to help people understand neurodiversity as a regular part of the human condition.
Stand-up, storyteller, actress, and writer, Vijai Nathan has been killing it on the page and the stage. Her stand-up and storytelling feed into each other.
Her “Like a Virgin” story on the podcast/live storytelling show “Snap Judgement” slays every time. She writes for the “Date Lab” column on The Washington Post, and tours the country doing her storytelling and stand-up.
It’s not just her unique perspective that makes Vijai so captivating, it’s the way she uses her voice, body, and words to create living characters before our eyes.
This list of female comedians and funny women just scratches the surface of all the great talent out there. The best things you can do to support female-driven comedy and female comedians is to watch their shows and specials, buy their books and albums, listen to their podcasts, and go see them perform live. You’ll learn not only about them but yourself as well.