I’m tired of watching the same male comedians make jokes about how women can’t be funny. I’m tired of the “ugly but funny girl” trope played out in so many facets of the media. I’m tired of comedians trying to be politically incorrect for shock value.
I love comedy, and I want the humor I consume to challenge societal expectations and stereotypes in a way that isn’t sensationalizing the issues, or making them appear edgy. I want it be fresh and original, and I want diversity! Below are some of my favorite female comedians that I feel hit all these marks.
Aparna Nancherla is awesome. There’s need to fancy it up, since her work speaks for itself. Her humor is witty, self-deprecating, and pokes fun at Millennials without making the same tired joke every comedian makes about young people being on their phones too much.
In October of 2013, Aparna Nancherla performed stand-up on Conan, making her the first Indian-American woman to ever perform stand-up on late-night TV. Nancherla first got into comedy by going to an open mic with friends, and later began writing for comedy series Totally Biased with W. Kamau Bell, as well as Late Night with Seth Meyers. This January, she will also have a role in Hairpin Bender, a comedic short about a ladies’ night out in LA.
Megan Amram is best known for writing for her side-splittingly hilarious tweets, and her time as a writer for Parks and Recreation. Amram is also the host of web series “Experimenting with Megan Amram,” a sarcastic yet educational show on Amy Poehler’s Smart Girls website.
In 2014, Amran also authored the satirical science book, Science…For Her!, which tears apart stereotypes about women in science in the funniest, most tongue-in-cheek tone possible. The book features headlines such as “Sexiest Molecules” and “Organisms vs. Orgasms.” It would probably be a great gift for any of your science-inclined feminist friends.
Franchesca Ramsey, also known as chescaleigh, rose to fame in January 2012, when she posted a video called “Sh*t White Girls Say…to Black Girls”. The video went viral within one day, and was featured on news outlets ranging from The Daily Mail to Anderson Live.
Since then, Ramsay has continued posting tongue-in-cheek videos on all sorts of human rights issues, often involving race (as well as some hilarious song parodies and character sketches). She’s also a writer on Upworthy and host of the MTV web series Decoded, where Ramsay “decodes” hot-button social issues. Part of what I love about Ramsay’s mix of social commentary and humor is that it’s super accessible; she explains everything in such simple terms, you feel like you just read an entire textbook by the time she’s done (minus the boredom).
Do you have any favorite comedians? Are you a comedian yourself? Share below!
Cover image courtesy of the Maui Comedy Festival.