Women With Wit: 6 Ladies Changing Comedy
I remember as a pre-teen falling victim to the lie that…well, women just weren’t that funny. The boys at camp always got the most laughs on skit night (even though they mostly just dressed as girls). Funny YouTube sensations always seemed to be those cute, over-confident guys hurting themselves (or, once again, imitating women). Even the comedy section at the video rental store (remember those!?) was basically made of of aging dudes— Ferrell, Sandler, Carrey.
But then, slowly, something started to change. A few ladies finally seemed to get their break. Hollywood started making movies with lead female comedians, running shows written by women, making comedies produced by women. And people laughed. Suddenly, the floodgates of crazy hair and witty writing opened up. And oh the glory!
Now, I’m happy to type, there are more witty women than I can even include in a short blog post. I chose to feature gals keep it pretty positive and generally not too raunchy, but still deliver a belly laugh when I need it. Here’s my take on these comedic geniuses plus some little factoids from the interweb to keep it classy.
If you don’t know Tina, well, we probably can’t be friends. There is no one quite like this leading lady of comedic lore. She’s the whole hilarious package, plus a wife and mom. Get it girl!
What I love about her: She has this amazing creativity in her silliness and it comes out in her shows. Give me a good evening binge session of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, and I don’t even need a glass of wine. Her book, Bossy Pants, had me nearly crying/peeing while my husband shot me “she’s-finally-lost-her-sanity” glances. Whether you watch one of her shows or pick up her book, do your kegels and get ready to claugh (cry-laugh).
Notable accomplishments/awards: SNL; created the NBC comedy 30 Rock, and starred in several comedies (Baby Mama, Sisters, Whiskey Tango Foxtrot…) Most recently, she created and produced Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.
There is simply no show quite like Parks and Rec, and we have Amy Poehler to thank for that. It’s the ‘modern day’ The Office, with a tribe of lovable characters and laugh-until-tomorrow one-liners. This is my winter blues show, and I will unapologetically watch it every year until something can match its wily glory.
What I love about her: Poehler is beyond an amazing award-winning actress--she brings a truth to the characters she plays and is as versatile as she is hilarious. She has a kind, musical voice but can still deliver with sass and spunk, so I highly recommend listening to her read her book.
Notable accomplishments/awards: Golden Globe for best actress on Parks and Rec; co-star in several comedies (Baby Mama, Sisters); given a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame; executive producer Welcome to Sweden, Broad City, and Difficult People
Books: Yes, Please
Where would we be in television today without The Office? Though she may not have had a major acting role in the show, Kaling can be credited with writing 25 episodes, and she didn’t stop there.
What I love about her: As the sole woman starting out on The Office team (and only 24-year-old!) I have mad respect for what this lady has accomplished. She’s taken risks, worked her booty off, and kept her humor and drive along the way.
Notable accomplishments/awards: Named one of Time magazine’s most influential people in 2012; nominated for Outstanding writing in comedy series; executive producer, writer and lead actress for The Mindy Project.
Books: Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns); Why Not Me?
A quick google images search of “Kristen Wiig characters” and you’ll know why she made this list. Even better, a Google search of “tiny hands Kristen Wiig” and you’ll believe in happiness again.
What I love about her: I don’t know of a lot of ladies, famous or not, that willingly contort their faces in such strange (and even alarming) ways all for the laughs of others. But Kristen has been brave enough to go there again and again. At the same time, she’s so much more than just a silly face, and has this understated humor she carries into her more complex roles.
Notable accomplishments: Cast of SNL from 2006-2012; co-wrote and starred in Bridesmaids; co-starred in several other films; several Emmy nominations.
Oh Melissa, I remember when you were the sweet and eccentric Sookie on Gilmore Girls, and look how far you’ve flown.
What I love about her: She’s simply hilarious. Whether her characters are sweet and naive, or loud and bossy, this lady knows comedic timing and dives into each role so entirely you can’t help but watch. Amidst criticism of her weight, she’s risen above, and kept the momentum of her career going even going against the pressure to be thin and creating a fashion line for plus-size women.
Notable accomplishments: co-star in several movies (Bridesmaids, The Heat, Identity Thief, The Boss) Golden globe nomination, film producer, co-founder of production company On the Day
This lady is who I turn to when I need a clean, hearty laugh. I don’t have to feel weird or cautious with her, because though her humor has a healthy dose of sass, it’s never discolored.
What I love about her: She’s honest about her journey, her kids, her faith, her struggles—but her natural aptitude for humor is always close by. She calls out our culture on things like excess and overalls, because ‘Lord come quickly, we’ve made those mistakes before.’ I have laughed out loud (and loudly) each time I sit down to read her words, and have shared her witty wisdom with many friends.
Notable accomplishments: New York Times bestselling book: For the Love; presenter of reality series Your Big Family Renovation.
Books: Of Mess and Moxie; For the Love; 7, An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess, Interrupted: When Jesus Wrecks Your Comfortable Christianity.
I’m hoping this listicle is more than just Clickbaity access to witty movies, shows and books—but a sweet reminder of how funny, talented and driven women can be in even the most male-dominated industries of old. Tech industry, we’re coming for ya!