Women do it best

Female success in the modern comedy business


“Girls aren’t funny,” said the stereo-typical, old-fashioned macho man of the 20th century.

But a wave of women like Lena Dunham, Chelsea Handler and Tina Fey are taking the world of comedy by storm, and they won’t rest until they’ve had it all.

Some say it started with Phyllis Diller, a housewife who made her debut in the comedic industry in the game show You Bet Your Life. Her humorous appearance on the show sparked national recognition. She was coined as one of the first female comedians.

The impact of Saturday Night Live on female comedians cannot be overlooked. SNL gave birth to some of the greatest women to ever impact comedy, such as Gilda Radner and Jane Curtain, original SNL cast members.

Not only did SNL star some of the most popular comedians we know and love today, but it also gave women an opportunity to showcase their talents and show off the fact that they weren’t just pretty faces.

The real difference these women and the humorous dolls such as Marilyn Monroe is the idea behind their words. Although they still made an impact in the industry, women like Monroe were given funny things to say and funny characters to be. They didn’t write the scripts themselves or improvise hilarious scenes.

One of the most influential women in comedy is Tina Fey, who made SNL history when she became the first female head writer of the show. She went on to write Mean Girls and create 30 Rock. She also wrote her own cheeky autobiography, paving the way for female comedians to come.

A common challenge female comedians face, besides trying to be funny 24/7, is trying to make it in a business largely dominated by men.

According to Fey, many people wondered if she could handle being the “big boss” because of her sex. But Fey’s success proves that whether you wear skirts or trousers, anyone can do it.

In addition to Fey, Mindy Kaling and Lena Dunham write and star in their own comedic TV shows, The Mindy Project and Girls, respectively. They are only a few of the many female comedians making their mark on comedy today.

Women have to fit a small mold to make funny work. They have to know the amount of raunchy that works, the amount of cute that sets the standard, and the amount of attractiveness that keeps the audience coming.

These influential comedians have redefined this mold, what it means to be a comedian and what it means to be woman.