It’s difficult to make it as a comedian. It’s not enough to just get up there and act silly. Anybody who wants to succeed needs to come up with fresh, creative ideas that help them gain a following. For a long time it was a real challenge for women in particular to break through. But fortunately times are changing and the list of funny women is growing. Here are 10 women who have made it big in the entertainment industry.
As a former cast member on Saturday Night Live, Fey made history when she became the show’s first-ever female head writer. She also wrote the quintessential high school comedy Mean Girls. But what really brought her a huge amount of attention was her hilariously dead-on impression of Sarah Palin, the ditzy governor of Alaska who had been chosen as Senator John McCain’s running mate during the presidential 2008 elections. She was later the creator and main star of the long-running comedy 30 Rock. Tina attributes her success in comedy to her parents exposing her to funny movies and TV shows as a child.
It’s impossible to discuss Fey without mentioning her partner-in-crime Poehler, a fellow SNL cast member who co-hosted the show’s Weekend Update segment with Fey until Tina’s departure. What really elevated Poehler to stardom was when she played Leslie Knope in the comedy series Parks and Recreation. She’s won a Golden Globe and PrimeTime Emmy, and has been nominated for dozens of other awards for her work on TV and in movies. In 2015 she received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for her efforts.
An extremely underrated comedian, Notaro is known for her laid back, likeable personality and her conversational style of delivering jokes. Her 2014 standup album Live won that year’s Grammy Award for Best Comedy Album, and from 2011 to 2015 co-hosted the popular podcast Professor Blastoff, which blended humor and psychology-related topics. She has also produced two comedy specials for Netflix.
Silverman’s start as a writer and cast member during one of Saturday Night Live’s worst periods didn’t stop her from eventually making it big. From 2007 until 2010 she starred in The Sarah Silverman Program on Comedy Central, for which she was nominated for two Emmy Awards. She has also won a pair of Emmys, one for a song she penned for Jimmy Kimmel Live! and another for her standup special Sarah Silverman:We are Miracles. Her sarcastic and crude humor isn’t for everybody, but it ought to be.