Why women aren’t funny (And 10 reasons why that statement is simply untrue)

Why women aren’t funny (And 10 reasons why that statement is simply untrue)

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I just recently saw the 2014 documentary Women aren’t funny by Bonnie McFarlane and I’m afraid I have to apologise. I, along with the rest of the world, have been guilty of exclaiming: “Women just aren’t that funny”. It was a long time ago and yet this still shames me.

Women ARE funny. Maybe not all women, much like not all men are cut out to do stand up. The fact is that there are way fewer women in the comedy scene than there are men. And that these small groups in turn get even more marginalised because of their gender. Because who wants to see a female headliner? According to the club owners, no one. McFarlane tackles this injustice in her, as she likes to call it, “cocumentary”. A documentary about comedy, what were you thinking?

We have to do away with horrible generalisations like this. And that’s why we’ve prepared this list of extremely funny females, for you to enjoy. Grab a blanket, a coffee/tea (whatever your poison) and let these lovely lady voices tickle your funny bone.

1. Tina Fey

Is there anyone in the world who is not in love with Tina Fey? I first got to know her on SNL, where she’s probably most known for her impeccable Sarah Palin impression. I read Bossy Pants and wanted more, more, MORE. She passed onto her own show, 30 Rock and won me over for life. It is a wacky series about an SNL-type show, that doesn’t take itself too (at all) seriously, full of meta- and showbiz references and the most insane guest stars. I want to go to there!


2. Amy Poehler


For me, Tina and Amy should be on this list on the same bullet point, but I decided get them each their own. They met way before they played on SNL together, and all the sketches they did together were gold. They were the best Weekend Update-team SNL has ever seen. Together they hosted the Golden Globes twice already. Poehler went on to do Parks & Recreation, a very tongue in cheek political extravaganza. However much you try, you canNOT hate Leslie Knope.



3. Sarah Millican


With her lovely high-pitched voice and adorable accent, Sarah Millican is representing the UK. Voted best newcomer at Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2008, she went on to be one of the 100 most influential women in the UK in 2014. Last year she was nailed to the cross on Twitter, by people who disapproved of her wardrobe choice for the Baftas. Millican set them straight in an extremely funny, yet eye-opening letter.



4. Caitlin Moran


Luciously locked Caitlin Moran taught me how to be a woman. Or at least, helped me appreciate being a non-typical part of the female race. She writes herself directly into your heart with her witty and off center views on life. She is entirely self-made and became a rock journalist from age 15 onwards. She is the best kind of feminist, the one who realizes we can still have a sense of humor towards being female.


5 All female guest stars on QI


I know this is cheating, but QI is a wonderfully weird quiz show with crazy facts and figures, presented by the ever-so-lovely Stephen Fry. It is at times a pretty male dominated show, if it weren’t for all the strong ladies who brought a smile to my face over the years. Jo Brand, Sue Perkins, Sandi Toksvig, Sarah Millican are but of few of the ever-growing list of funny as hell ladies who quiz. I picked Jo brand as the representative of the ladies, because she’s one of the funniest and most adorable women on tv. Ever.



6. Kirsten Wiig


Kirsten also got her big break on Saturday Night Live. She was always one of my favorite actors on the show and made for some very epically funny Saturday nights. Every time I see her face on TV, be it in a movie or in a recent guest appearance on SNL, I giggle a little. She recently made the extremely dirty and funny Bridesmaids and is on to star in the all female version of Ghostbusters alongside Melissa McCarthy. (Is this the real life? Or is it just fantasy? No! An all female cast for Ghost Busters.)


7. Melissa McCarthy



I have adored this woman, ever since she played the scatterbrained cook Sookie St. James on Gilmore Girls. She is the only reason I watched Samantha Who? And Mike and Molly. She was fantastic in Bridesmaids and is always a great guest in talk shows. You just never know what this lady is going to do next! (All female Ghostbusters movie apparently)


8 Kristen Schaal


That voice. That horrible, terrific sound she expels from her vocal chords. The inherent crazy in all the characters she plays. You just got to love Kristen. She’s perfect as the Senior Women’s Issues Correspondent on the Daily Show. She plays a crazy 5 year old on Bobs Burgers. She’s the insanely close stalker-fan from Flight of the Conchords. She goes in overdrive as a page on 30 Rock. She is the best guest-star any comedy show could ask for.


9. Samantha Bee


Bee has been with the Daily Show since 2003 and has made the most cringe-worthy yet epically funny TV I’ve ever seen. Her face alone is comedy gold; her facial expressions say so much more than any word she utters. I cannot help but smile, every time her face appears on my idiot box.



10. All of the women I have forgotten


I had a longer short list for this article than the aforementioned amazing women. So here I give a BIG shout out to Chelsea Handler, Chelsea Peretti, Sarah Silverman, Bonnie McFarlane, Julia Louis-Dreyfuss, Aubrey Plaza, Rashida Jones, Jane Krakowski, Vanessa Bayer, Aidy Bryant, Jessica Williams, Rachel Dratch,… And you can just fill in whomever I have mistakenly forgotten in the comment section!

Or better yet, post a video of your favourite comedienne online with the hashtag: #womenarefunny

And remember: let me NEVER again hear you say, “Women aren’t funny”. Because we are. Now go watch that documentary and tweet about it!


Noot van de redactie: dit is een van twee artikels die ik schreef voor een online magazine. Vandaar de Engelsche taal dus. Ik heb hem wel stiekem opnieuw in Brits Engels gegoten, dat US English voelde maar vreemd.