If you’re thinking that comedy is a man’s world, then it’s time you think again. While being a male-dominated profession, the stand-up comedian is no longer a game merely for males. It appears that women have managed to climb to the top of the ladder–and it’s where they’ve belonged all along. The ladies are ruling the comedy scene, ranging from stand-ups like Susie Essman, Lisa Lampanelli, Sarah Silverman, Kathy Griffin, and Maria Bamford to comedic actresses such as Amy Sedaris, Kristen Wiig, Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, and Melissa McCarthy. I have had the pleasure of speaking with Maria Bamford for over an hour and I can assure you she is one of the funniest people I have ever talked to. [lead image via Bridgetown Comedy Festival]
Jerry Lewis was once quoted saying women aren’t funny. And Judd Apatow famously (and recently) responded by giving out a humorous “F*ck You” to Mr. Lewis after winning the Critic’s Choice Award for Best Comedy Film for Bridesmaids—a comedy starring all women and written by the team of Kristen Wiig and Annie Mumolo. The praise of the female sex in the respectable world of comedy has taken quite some time. Sure, there have been those who have stuck out over the years like Joan Rivers, Gilda Radner and Carol Burnett, but nothing like the number today. More and more shows are starring women along with more being created by them, successful ones such as Weeds, Nurse Jackie, 30 Rock, The Middle, and many more. Even a show such as Saturday Night Live—heavily male-dominated in the past—has had an uproar of hilarious female comedians and performers over the past fifteen or so years.
So why the change? Is it simply more acceptance in the business? Is it a trend in the society? Or is it that women have actually been through psychological changes in which the result is that they have gotten funnier? Well—no, they’ve always been funny. However, for some reason we’re noticing it more these days. It could have something to do with the sheer honesty that some of them bring to the stage. You used to go to comedy clubs and watch men deconstruct themselves to the bone with their comedy. But the honest woman has now risen up. That’s why we laugh when Maria Bamford speaks of her insecurities through a manifestation of characters, we laugh at Sarah Silverman’s use of stereotypes, and we sometimes even cry at Lisa Lampanelli’s insults.
How could one really determine that a person lacks the skills to be funny simply because of their sex? Who didn’t nearly lose themselves laughing at the sink scene in Bridesmaids? Who didn’t find Rachel Dratch’s ‘Debbie Downer’ sketches ingenious? Hilarious female comedians have always been around and will continue to be around. I feel that we’re coming very close to the day where interviewers quit asking the question, “Do you feel that being a woman helps or hurts you in comedy?”
It doesn’t matter. If you’re funny, you’re funny. And that’s that. For more of the funniest females in comedy,