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.
“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.
Challenging racial stereotypes by, very often, being blatantly racist, nothing is off-limits: “People are surprised at the depth of resentment against Asian Americans, but it never shocks me. We are the object of hatred not only for the things we do but just being who we are, ching chong chinamen.” Totally open about everything from substance abuse and eating disorders to her bisexuality, Cho is a strong advocate for LGBT and women’s rights. Oh, and she’s really funny.
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.”