It’s neither original nor astonishing to point out that there are lots of people who don’t think women are as funny as men. There are countless stories of women being passed over for jobs in comedy, whether writing or performing. A friend of mine has told a story about finishing a performance in Chicago and being approached by an audience member who was amazed because “women aren’t usually funny!” – and, sadly, that audience member was a woman herself.
It’s so ingrained in our culture that when I did a Google search for “funniest women of all time,” in your first two pages of results were 20% links about “hottest women,” 10% links to sexist jokes about women, and 5% links to an article titled “Why Women Aren’t Funny.”
I don’t think I’ve ever understood this opinion. For one thing, “funny” is a completely subjective term. What I find funny and what anyone else finds funny may be completely different things. There’s not even a question about that – it’s just generally accepted that humor is very personal.
When I was a kid, I developed some comedy heroes. The two biggest ones in my mind were Carol Burnett and Mary Tyler Moore.
I remember sitting enraptured by their timing and delivery of some of the greatest lines – in fact, many of those lines have long-since drifted out of my mind, but the feeling of I want to make people laugh like that was permanently seared into my mind.
Over the years, my pantheon of comedy performers I admired grew, and women were always part of it. Every single one of the pictures in this post are of women who have at one time or another managed to make me laugh so hard that my sides hurt.
In fact, I never even realized that there were people out there who thought women couldn’t be as funny as men until I was in college. To my utter astonishment, this was said to me by someone who had just finished interacting with some of the funniest women I ever met – Ann (my wife), and a friend named Deborah Craft (who often can be seen in Chicago’s Piccolo Theatre and LiveWire Chicago Theatre, as well as in the independent film D.I.N.K.s). Of course, that guy was an all-around idiot, so, you know, consider the source.
Now, I’m the father of a tiny little girl whose laugh is already the most magical sound in my life. The last thing I want is for her to grow up with the idea that women can’t be funny.
Fortunately, I don’t think I’ll have to worry about that. Not only is Sage’s mother really funny (although she will tell you she’s not), but I have the good fortune of working with ComedySportz Indianapolis.
Erin Carr Adams. Lauren Ahlwardt. Bethany Arrington. Lorne Batman. Mia Lee Bauman. Frankie Bolda. Eryn Bowser. Lynn Burger. Ashley Chase. Kristin Katsu. Caroline Loy. Rebecca McConnell. Aili McGill. Meghan McNulty. Laura Palmer. Ella Raymont. Kari Stamatoplos. Kelsey VanVoorst. Allie Vollmer. Kendra Wilcox. Claire Wilcher. (I’m hoping I haven’t forgotten a current member of our roster, but I very well may have…)
That’s 21 comedy role models right there. 21 ladies willing to put themselves out there to entertain people and make them laugh.
She’s in good hands.