The World Is Filled With Funny Women
I vaguely remember someone once told me that women are not as funny as men. I don’t recall anymore who told me this, but they must have been someone I regarded as “authority figure” because I believed that statement at the time.
It’s odd that I did not even question that statement — given that already then I knew a lot of funny and smart women, both personally and from the media. I guess I thought they were an exception to the rule and I counted myself lucky.
“Men love jokes, women don’t. Men tell jokes, women can’t. Men have cocks, women don’t. End of story. “ - Nora Ephron wrote in a 2006 essay Take My Secretary of State, Please.
Life experience has finally taught me to distrust authority figures, which is why I came back to re-examine that piece of wisdom I received as a rosy-cheeked youth.
I now know that the world is absolutely filled with funny women.
So in case someone out there still believes, like I did in a not-so-distant past, that women aren’t that funny or that the few that are are an exception — here’s a list for you.
It’s by no means a Complete and Conclusive List of All Funny Females Ever. It’s rather a collection of writers, actresses, and comedians whose work made me laugh out loud. Arranged alphabetically.
In case it’s not already obviously, I’d like to point out that being funny goes hand-in-hand with being smart, which makes all of these women also smart. And which is another reason I deeply admire the people on this list and would like to share it with you.
Amy Schumer — who hasn’t laughed at her standup videos? I’m yet to read her new book The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo, but her show Inside Amy Schumer is funny, ditto any interview I’ve ever watched of her.
Betty White — her book “If You Ask Me (And of Course You Won’t)” made me laugh and chuckle and wish she was my grandma.
Caitlin Moran — I initially avoided her book “How to be a woman” because of its title. Who are *you* to tell me how to be a woman, Caitlin? Once I got over that and read the book, I laughed out loud both at the book and at my own stupidity for avoiding it for so long. Caitlin Moran is funny and smart, honest and very raw in her writing. Her sitcom Raised by Wolves ran for 2 seasons on Channel 4 in the UK and they’re now running a crowdfunding campaign for season 3. I can also recommend her coming-of-age novel “How to build a girl”.
Felicia Day — her book “You’re Never Weird on the Internet (Almost)” is as funny as it is heartwarming.
JK Rowling — don’t think she’s especially funny? Follow her on Twitter, then think again. Also, go re-read any Harry Potter book and try not to laugh at least once. You’ll fail.
Joan Rivers — arguably one of the trailblazers for women in comedy. There’s plenty of YouTube videos of her standup that made me laugh.
Lena Dunham — her show Girls made me laugh (self-consciously) as well as cry (melancholically), her book Not That Kind of Girl is a mix of humour, reflection, and irony, while her podcast series Women of the Hour is pure gold. I also like her Instagram.
Mindy Kaling — I’m mostly familiar with her wit through her writing: “Is Everyone Hanging Our Without Me? (And Other Concerns)” and “Why Not Me?”. I have to admit guiltily that I haven’t watched her show The Mindy Project, even though I heard that it’s really good and funny.
Nora Ephron — discovering her work only recently made me feel like I’ve been missing out for YEARS! If you’ve seen When Sally Met Harry, You’ve Got Mail, Sleepless in Seattle or Julie & Julia, you’re familiar with her work. I recently finished reading a collection of her writing, and now I wish that book never ended. It’s so good!
Samantha Bee — she was my favourite reporter in The Daily Show. I laughed at her inserts even more than at John Oliver’s at the time, which is saying something because he is also very funny. I recently discovered that she now has her own show — Full Frontal with Samantha Bee.
Sarah Cooper — office humour at its best! If you don’t already subscribe to The Cooper Review, you should; if you haven’t yet checked her book “100 Tricks to Appear Smart in Meetings” — you should. Also watch her YouTube channel and follow her on Twitter — she’s really funny.
Sarah Silverman — her standup is really funny.
Shonda Rhimes — you might not know her by name but if you’ve ever watched Grey’s Anatomy, Private Practice, How to Get Away with Murder or Scandal you know her work. Shonda Rhimes is the brain behind all of those shows — better known as ShondaLand for the converted. I recently listened to the audio version of her book “Year of Yes” and found it funny, inspiring and filled with great advice!
Tina Fey — it’s always tough to choose in which order to mention her and Amy Poehler (unless you arrange them alphabetically) because they’re equally talented and funny. I fell in love with Tina first when she acted as Sarah Palin in an SNL sketch, then devoured her book Bossy Pants, and binged on her show 30 Rock.
Who are you favourite funny women? Leave a comment — I’m desperately curious to expand my worldview.
P.S. I only included English-speaking funny women in this list, which is of course unfair. There are funny women who speak other languages. All the Swedish actors from Solsidan, for example, and all the people in Russia’s Comedy Woman.
P.P.S. If you’re hating on the fact this list is about women only — women are just people! why didn’t you write a list of just funny people, men *and* women?! To you, I’d like to point out that is *my* list and I do what I want to. Go write your own list if you like.