Ladies That Will Make You LOL
Men have always ruled the comedy scene. From dynamic duos such as Laurel and Hardy, Abbott and Costello and Jay and Silent Bob to teams such as the Happy Madison boys (Adam Sandler, David Spade, Rob Schneider, Peter Dante, Allen Covert and Nick Swardson) and the Frat Pack (Will Ferrell, Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughn, Owen and Luke Wilson and Steve Carrell).
There are virtually no female comedic ensembles who can sell movies like these guys can.
In the stand-up circuit, men generally receive the biggest reception. Recently, I went to a stand-up comedy review that featured twenty comics in one night. Of those twenty, only three women took the stage. Three. WTF?
Women are pretty damn funny, so why don’t we get the same appraisal as men get? Films like Old School put the Frat Pack on the map, while the hysterical chick flick The Sweetest Thing flopped at the box office. The Wedding Crashers cast has people rolling in the aisles, while far too many people have never seen Christina Applegate, Cameron Diaz, and Selma Blair sing The Penis Song.
I took this assignment to cover the 5 Funniest Women out there, but quickly realized there is just too much talent to narrow it down so far. That said, what follows is my personal list of five of the wittiest women in the world, along with some honorable mentions. I welcome feedback, comments, and nominations, because I’m sure I’ve missed some ladies that can more than keep up with the boys.
1. Tina Fey
Tina Fey is one of my personal icons, and I give her kudos for becoming Saturday Night Live’s first female head writer. Fey’s writing has earned her a 2001 Writers Guild of America Award for SNL’s 25th anniversary special as well as a 2002 Emmy for the show.
Tina’s script for Mean Girls is distinctive from teen movies in the vein of Can’t Hardly Wait thanks to its satiric critique of high school. I don’t care how old I get; I will probably always find a way to greet someone with “Jambo!”, or a way to work, “Your mom’s chest hair” into a heated argument. Of course, let’s not forget her more recent work on Emmy Award-winning 30 Rock and Baby Mama.
One of my favorite recent Tina Fey bits is the Bitch is the New Black segment from Fey’s recent SNL hosting gig.
2. Wanda Sykes
Some people might equate the sound of Sykes’ voice to nails on a chalkboard, but I think this trait makes her stand out. A longtime colleague of Chris Rock, Sykes served on the writing team for The Chris Rock Show, which was nominated for four Emmys, winning one in 1999. I appreciate Sykes’ ability to add hilarity and sass to supporting roles in films such as Pootie Tang and Down to Earth.
On a personal note, I’ve seen Wanda Sykes’ stand up, and it can hold its own against the likes of male phenom, Chris Rock.
3. Margaret Cho
I think that Margaret Cho is one of the most underrated comedians out there. Her stand up career led to opening acts for Seinfeld and spots on a Bob Hope special and The Arsenio Hall Show. Though she won the American Comedy Award for Best Female Comedian in 1994, this distinction is often overshadowed by her flop sitcom All-American Girl (which I happened to watch religiously for its short cable career). On a side note, I think it’s awesome that Cho has been deputized by the City of San Francisco to perform marriages after same-sex marriage was legalized in California earlier this year. Humor and human rights are a great combination.
If you disagree with my putting Cho on this list, I suggest you watch the video she created with fellow comic Diana Yanez, a viral hit entitled My Puss. Then, Netflix some of her DVDs.
4. Sarah Silverman
I wasn’t impressed with Silverman’s role in School of Rock, but I do applaud her blunt comments at last year’s MTV VMA’s and Movie Awards.
In a couple of days, Paris Hilton is going to jail… As a matter of fact, I heard that to make her feel more comfortable in prison, the guards are going to paint the bars to look like penises. I think it is wrong, too. I just worry she is going to break her teeth on those things
Wow, [Britney Spears] is amazing. I mean, she is 25 years old, and she has already accomplished everything she’s going to accomplish in her life. It’s mind-blowing.
The real reason that Silverman is on this list is… you guessed it: the little gem of a birthday video presented to then-boyfriend Jimmy Kimmel. How do you even think of something like this?
5. Ellen DeGeneres
Part of Ellen’s appeal (for me) is her genuine personality. I know, it’s all about humor here, but Ellen can make people laugh just by dancing around the set of her talk show. In the 1980s, Ellen was dubbed “a distaff version of Bob Newhart,” and won the title of funniest person in America (read: person not just “funniest female“).
In the 1990s, I was a fan of her sitcom Ellen, and of course, in addition to being a great show, Ellen and her show had a monumental impact on the Gay Rights Movement, also earning a 1997 Emmy for Outstanding Writing in a Comedy Series for the famous “coming out” episode. During the 90′s, Ellen was often referred to as a “female Seinfeld.”
I’m not usually a fan of talk shows, but Ellen’s sincere humor has earned 10 Daytime Emmy Awards. So, go Ellen, and congrats on finally marrying Portia DeRossi!
I really wanted to include Amy Poehler and Maya Rudolph in the top five, but thought my obsession with SNL would make for a biased ‘Top Five’ list. Poehler was the first SNL member to be nominated for a Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy Emmy, and has loaned her quirky facial expressions to films such as Wet Hot American Summer, Mean Girls, Deuce Bigalow, Blades of Glory, and, of course, Baby Mama. She was the only one “man” enough to take Jimmy Fallon’s spot on Weekend Update, making her and Tina Fey the show’s first female team to host the segment.
As for Maya Rudolph? Come on! She can play just about any gender and any race. Whether playing Oprah Winfrey, Justin Guarini, Mario Vazquez, Christina Aguilera, Paris Hilton, Latoya Jackson, and Donatella Versace, Rudolph is always both convincing and side-splitting. Besides: she can freaking sing!
*Leslie Hall is probably a name you’ve never heard. But I highly recommend checking out some of the work from this satirical rap artist from Iowa who also operates a “gem sweater museum.”
*Natalie Portman is not someone you’d think of when you think of comediennes, but her SNL rap deserves some praise.
I know I’ve left out a lot of noteworthy women, but hey, it’s all relative. So if you disagree, feel free to let me know who you would vote for funniest female!