Top 10 Female Stand-up Comedians
When you read about the best comedians of all time, it’s usually a male-exclusive club; no girls allowed unless they’re raunchy enough to hold their own as “one of the guys.” But as you can see from the following list, it doesn’t take a Y chromosome to be a top comedian. The entertainers on this list aren’t popular because they talk about unladylike subjects or cure onstage (although none of these comedians are particularly reserved in their humor); they’re hilarious in their own right.
Remember that scene in “Pulp Fiction” where a young red-headed lady rushes out to help Ving Rhames after Bruce Willis hits him with his car? No? Well, that was Griffin making a cameo. You probably remember her better as that sassy, crass woman from “My Life on the D List.” Her subject matter, which touches on everything from sexuality to religion, has landed her a fair number of controversies and gotten her banned from several “tasteful” TV shows -- but she’s still considered one of America’s best comedians and a groundbreaking female entertainer.
Joan Rivers talked about her boobs -- back in 1974, when it was a big, racy deal. She’s still talking about her boobs, and she’s still one of America’s best comedians. Her work is honest, crude, even self-deprecating, but always hilarious. As she put it, “I succeeded by saying what everyone else is thinking.” With one of the most prolific careers on this list -- more than 10 published books, dozens of film and television appearances, a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame -- it’s no wonder she’s known as “The Queen of Comedy.”
“Are You There Vodka? It’s Me, Chelsea” and “My Horizontal Life: A Collection of One-Night Stands": You only need to look at her published work to get an idea of Chelsea Handler’s comic skills. After all, anyone who discovered her talent for comedy while entertaining a class of fellow DUI offenders is bound to develop a rather unique act. So she went on to make it big in Hollywood with her hit stand-up acts, her talk show “Chelsea Lately,” four New York Times best seller books, and any number of appearances and awards. Aside from one-night stands and drinking, her subject matter mostly consists of making cruel jokes at the expense of A-list celebrities -- which is awesome.
Nine years ago, Sarah Millican’s life sucked: her husband of almost 10 years had suddenly abandoned her. Forced to move back in with her parents, the 29-year-old spent her evenings sobbing face-down on her bed, lamenting what she thought could only amount to a dead-end life as an old maid. But when she realized the pathetic hilarity of her situation, she decided to make a profit off of her ex’s idiocy: she made her story into a stand-up act entitled “Sarah Millican’s Not Nice,” and within a year she was one of England’s top comedians.
It takes serious talent to be hilarious as a singing nun, but Whoopi’s just that legendary. And yes, in case you were wondering, her stage name is taken from the novelty item; as she puts it, “If you get a little gassy, you've got to let it go. So people used to say to me, 'You're like a whoopee cushion.’” An enormously versatile entertainer, she’s garnered accolades for everything from her comedy acts and films to dramatic roles to political activism. And now she’s on “The View” -- which is all that needs to be said on that account.