Let’s not start this one off with the traditional “some people say women aren’t funny, but these lovely ladies prove those people wrong” schtick, all right? That’s old hat and we need to stop giving any credence to the crotchety chumps who would say something that stupid in the first place. Instead, we’ll just show you ten female stand-up comics – some you may have heard of, others you might not have, in no particular order – and give you some good ol’ fashioned rib-ticklin’ yuks and some weird new-fangled amusing curiosities to spice up your day on the internet.
1. Ellen DeGeneres
She cut her stand-up comedy chops in the era when it was still the making of a comic’s career to get called over to the couch by Johnny Carson on “The Tonight Show” after a set – which she was, by the by. Her approach has always been an interesting mix of the observational and the surreal. One minute, she’s an everywoman sharing your complaints about mundane things, and other times she’s unraveling into a crazy person with a long, sprawling and ever-maddening tale of weirdness and careening tangents. She’s so easygoing about it that her brilliance sneaks up on you and just makes you happy.
2. Nikki Payne
This woman comes at you like a freight train of entertainment. Born with a cleft palate, she speaks with a pronounced lisp, but she bulls and cackles her way through that setback and all her other personal issues every time she’s on stage. She’s brazenly sexual and seems to revel in her alcohol-soaked lasciviousness to the point that she’ll even drop trou on stage for a laugh. As she says in this clip, crazy is her favorite outfit.
3. Maria Bamford
With a shapeshifting voice and a seemingly near-broken outlook on the world, she quietly savages everybody’s conception of normalcy with her instantly vivid characters. Wonderfully weird and entirely unpredictable, one never knows where her bits are going or what she’ll say next, be it political mockery, familial angst or completely deflating hacky “stereotypically female” comedy.
4. Kathy Griffin
No matter how polarizing the gossip queen is, through the Herculean amounts of work she’s churning out, she has to be respected. Four hour-long specials in one year is unheard of for a comedian. She’s carved out this amazing niche for herself by caustically mocking airhead celebreality culture while reveling and even participating in it. With no filter at all, she lets it all fly out no matter how ruthless it gets, and there’s definitely something to be said about that kind of fearlessness.
5. Margaret Cho
Right beside Griffin as a one-two punch for gay advocation, Cho is openly bi, fiercely political and often gets full-on strident. She’s got a loyal cult following and a long-lasting career, taking full advantage of her rights to make a caricature of her mother and bluntly expose every intimate detail of her sex life and emotional journey to self-discovery.