“Women aren’t funny.”
Talk about fake news. For some reason, despite the success of thousands of women whose chosen profession involves making you laugh until your sides split, this idiotic bias persists. In 2011, a study by the Division of Social Sciences at the University of California, San Diego found that participants judged cartoon captions as “funnier” when they were told they’re written by men, proving just how ingrained the notion is.
Yet, as culture shifts and female voices in entertainment become more prominent, we have found zero justification for the bias. In fact, the people who makes us laugh the hardest, loudest, and longest these days are all women. From sharing insights into relationships, gender biases, and motherhood to possessing impeccable comedic timing, these eight comedians are destroying the notion that women aren’t funny – one joke at a time.
Is Tiffany Haddish the funniest person alive? Quite possibly. One year ago, no one knew who Haddish was, but her incredible, scene-stealing performance in 2017’s breakout comedy Girls Trip starring opposite Regina Hall, Queen Latifah, and Jada Pinkett-Smith made her an overnight sensation. In the film, Haddish plays Dina, the wild card of the “Flossy Posse”, a group of four best friends that formed in college. While every group of friends has a wild card, we’re willing to bet none have ever been as crazy, as lovable, or as funny as Dina.
Name one movie starring Melissa McCarthy that didn’t make you laugh until your face hurt. We’ll wait. The actress, who first rose to fame in Gilmore Girls, stole the spotlight in 2011’s Bridesmaids and has continued to dominate the comedy-film scene ever since. From her turns in The Heat, Spy, and Ghostbusters to her many appearances on Saturday Night Live, McCarthy is one of the best physical comedians in the business.
Jessica Williams is as close as we’re ever going to get to a real-life superhero. Not only does she use her platform to speak out against racism, misogyny, and other social ills, but she does so with grace and wit. Williams first rose to fame as a correspondent and writer for The Daily Show, but her podcast 2 Dope Queens is where her personal sense of humor really shines. She also stars in The Incredible Jessica James, a hilarious and heartfelt film about a fiercely independent young woman finding her way through life after a painful break-up.
There are very few female comedians with a career as long and as illustrious as that of Julia Louis-Dreyfus. From her breakout role as Elaine on Seinfeld to playing the acidic Selina Meyer on Veep, the actress has been making us laugh for decades. With 24 nominations and 11 Emmys under her belt, it’s safe to say that comedy is in her blood.
As one of the most likeable women on television, Mindy Kaling makes it hard not to fantasize about having her as a real-life BFF. Not only is she smart and self-deprecating, but she also has pitch-perfect comedic timing as evidenced by her beloved roles on The Office and The Mindy Project. Kaling’s talents extend beyond the television screen – she’s also the author of not one, but two extremely funny, best-selling memoirs.
Kate McKinnon, one of the most adaptable and talented impressionists of our time, is so talented that it’s (almost) scary. As Saturday Night Live’s secret weapon, McKinnon has been tapped to imitate everyone from Hilary Clinton and Angela Merkel to Justin Bieber. The world looks forward to watching her delightful transformations weekly on the show, but she’s also branched out into film lately, with brilliant roles in the all-female Ghostbusters movie and Rough Night.
Longtime stand-up comedian Chelsea Peretti became an overnight sensation when she landed the role as Gina on NBC’s popular comedy Brooklyn Nine-Nine. As an acerbic, dance-obsessed civilian administrator who just cannot be bothered to lift a finger to help anyone, the character’s antics quickly became the highlight of the show.
Competing with an ensemble cast that boasts the incredible comedic talents of people like Amy Poehler and Aubrey Plaza cannot have been easy – and yet it is Retta’s role as Donna Meagle that stole every scene in Parks and Recreation. Not only did the character boast a rich history that involved everything from marrying Keith Sweat as part of a long con to revealing that Pearl Jam’s Vitalogy album had been written about her, but her no-nonsense attitude also afforded some hilarious conflicts on the show. Retta has since gone on to play the sarcastic but lovable Barbara on Girlfriends’ Guide to Divorce, which is currently in its fourth season.
Chelsea Handler’s crass, confrontational sense of humor kept her live audience in stitches throughout the duration of her wildly popular talk show, Chelsea Lately, where an “anything goes” mentality ensured guests stayed on their toes. After Chelsea Lately ended, Handler found success with a slice-of-life formula for her new Netflix documentary series, Chelsea Does, where the comedian explored topics ranging from racism and marriage to Silicon Valley.
An alum of Chicago’s illustrious comedy-proving ground, Second City, and a long-time Saturday Night Live cast member, Amy Poehler’s wit and humor were sharpened by years of dedication to her craft. With a breakout role as Leslie Knope on Parks & Recreation, Poehler’s star rose swiftly, leading to many starring film roles alongside her partner-in-comedy, Tina Fey. She has also authored a bestselling memoir entitled “Yes, Please!”. Poehler now flexes her Executive Producer muscle with shows like Hulu’s Difficult People and Comedy Central’s Broad City.
Tina Fey is a comedy powerhouse. From the writer’s room at Saturday Night Live to co-anchor of Weekend Update to the star of NBC’s 30 Rock to authoring the chart-topping book Bossypants to hosting The Golden Globes with Amy Poehler four times, Fey’s comedy career has been nothing short of meteoric. She also wrote the screenplay for Mean Girls, co-created The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, and has starred in numerous films, both serious and comedic. And did we mention that she’s one of the most highly decorated female comedians in modern history, with nine Primetime Emmy Awards, two Golden Globe Awards, five Screen Actors Guild Awards, and four Writers Guild of America Awards?