14 of our favorite female comedians
Knock ’em dead
You don’t need us to tell you that ladies bring the laughs. Whether they’re behind the scenes writing hilarious moments and characters for TV shows and movies or in front of a crowd performing side-splitting stand-up routines, there’s no doubt when it comes to making the crowd crack up, these gals know their jokes. Ahead, just a selection of the wittiest women around.
Whether she’s starring in and writing game-changing rom-coms, publishing a best-selling memoir, or performing Grammy-nominated stand-up shows, Schumer never scrimps on her signature sass. She might play a train wreck on screen, but Schumer’s comedy is always on track.
With her breakout Netflix special Baby Cobra, Wong proved herself capable of doing something no male comedian ever could: Performing an excellent stand-up set while visibly pregnant. Then, in her follow-up special Hard Knock Wife, she did it AGAIN. More than just a visual gag, Wong has used her pregnancies to underline her hilarious jokes about the grisly, bodily realities of sex and everything around it. Wong does more than just stand-up (she's a writer on ABC's Fresh Off the Boat and also plays a supporting character on American Housewife), but Baby Cobra stands out as a comic masterpiece for the way Wong's closing revelations turn the entire set on its head.
Sykes first garnered acclaim as a writer on The Chris Rock Show, even winning a Primetime Emmy Award in 1999. Since then, she’s played Barb Baran on CBS’ The New Adventures of Old Christine and had hilarious turns playing herself on HBO's Curb Your Enthusiasm. In 2018, she served as the head writer for the Roseanne reboot, but quit after Barr's controversial tweet. Then there’s the movies! Sykes’ film career includes appearances in Monster-in-Law, My Super Ex-Girlfriend, Evan Almighty, and License to Wed. But her roots are in stand-up. In 2009, Sykes knocked 'em dead with her brutal jokes as the featured entertainer for the annual White House Correspondents Association dinner,
The Emmy-award winning comedian never shies away from tackling the tough stuff. From racism to sexism to politics, Silverman uses satire to get her audience cracking up while also coming to important realizations.
Notaro first broke through into mainstream consciousness because of the worst day of her life. Her 2012 special Live was a recording of a set Notaro recorded shortly after being diagnosed with breast cancer and mourning the death of her mother. Notaro earned a lot of attention for her clear-eyed humor amidst such a dark abyss, but her journey back to happiness and health in recent years has been even more rewarding to watch — and arguably even funnier. After two more stand-up specials and two seasons of her Amazon Prime show One Mississippi, Notaro now has her sights set on producing new films and TV alongside her wife Stephanie Allyne. One of the first projects on the docket is the Netflix comedy First Ladies, in which Notaro will live the dream as the wife of President Jennifer Aniston. On top of her own comedic performances, Notaro has also been a vociferous champion of the sexual harassment victims of famous comedians (including her former collaborator Louis C.K.).
Kaling first brought the laughs (and catchphrases: Who doesn’t chant, “Fashion show! Fashion show! Fashion show at lunch!” when they try on new clothes?) as clueless Kelly Kapoor on The Office, and also as a writer on the acclaimed comedy series. Then she wowed and wooed us creating, writing, producing, and starring in The Mindy Project, while also bagging a bunch of movie roles along the way.
There’s no denying that Whitney, the sitcom Cummings wrote and starred in, was canceled way too soon. But that wasn’t enough to dampen this funny lady's comedic spirit! Cummings’ career has seen the comedian create the CBS sitcom Two Broke Girls — which ran for six seasons on the network — and, although it didn’t end well, serve as a writer and executive producer on the 2018 revival of Roseanne. She also possesses some serious roasting skills.
You can’t get much better than a comedian whose message is based in kindness. DeGeneres is equally at home on the couch during her talk show or doing skits with celebrities, and her ease at taking lighthearted aim at her guests not only makes you laugh, but also makes you feel the love.
A cast member of Saturday Night Live, Jones has kept weekend watchers entertained since 2013. During her time on the venerable sketch show, she's been nominated for two Emmys for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series. Perhaps more notably, Jones is an Olympics superfan, tweeting up a storm during the 2016 Rio Games. Her social media presence was so well received that NBC flew her to Brazil to cover swimming, track and field, gymnastics, and beach volleyball — and she returned to cover the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang earlier this year. Give Jones the gold already!
Okay, so she created some controversy with that photo of her holding a facsimile of President Trump's decapitated head back in 2017, but she bounced right back — and we love determination. Since that hiccup, Griffin has gone on the road with her Laugh Your Head Off World Tour… so really, when you think about it, who got the last laugh?
We’ll always remember Poehler as the beloved Leslie Knope on NBC’s Parks and Recreation, but her list of accomplishments is much longer. An improv master, the SNL alum got her start as one of the original members of the sketch comedy troupe Upright Citizens Brigade. Other career highlights include movie roles in Mean Girls, Blades of Glory, and Baby Mama. Most recently, she co-hosted and produced the charming reality-competition series Making It.
Haddish will always be remembered for her iconic performance in Girls Trip, but she quickly proved she’s more than just a one-trick pony by starring in countless comedies since (including Night School and Nobody’s Fool). Also, her episode of Drunk History will go down in, well, history.
Moviegoers fell in love with Wiig (another SNL vet) for her very real portrayal of the friend who doesn’t quite have their s— together in 2011’s Bridesmaids, but Wiig's IMDB page of comedic roles is even more impressive than somehow managing to befriend Helen Harris III (played by Rose Byrne in the flick). Some of her most famous titles include Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Date Night, and Ghostbusters.
A contributor and writer for Late Night With Seth Meyers and The Daily Show With Trevor Noah, Wolf is probably best known for her 19-minute routine at the 2018 White House Correspondents' Dinner, which took aim at the Trump administration, Democrats, and the news media alike. Wolf received some criticism for her remarks (apparently complimenting someone’s smoky eye makeup is sacrilege), but honestly, if they didn’t make it so easy, she wouldn’t have had so much material.