Women are Funny (too)

First, let’s start off with saying that the Women’s Center is stoked about Hannibal Buress making his way to campus this weekend for Homecoming. We very much enjoy his character, Lincoln, on Broad City. More importantly, he called out the rape allegations against Bill Cosby in his stand-up routine back when very few others were because it was “too hard” and “unbelievable” to simply just believe and support the victims coming forward.

But, we’d be remiss if we didn’t share something we’ve noticed when it comes to comedians coming to campus for the annual Homecoming event. They’re all dudes! Nick Offerman. B.J. Novak. Bo Burnham. Donald Glover. Lewis Black. And now, Hannibal.

Now, this just isn’t a UMBC thing. It’s kind of just a thing we call sexism. For example, check out the hosts of late night television:

From Vanity Fair's October 2015 issue on late-night television.
From Vanity Fair’s October 2015 issue on late-night television.

Then there’s this catalog that was delivered in the mail the other day that shared all the great comedians colleges can book and bring to campus:

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Really?! Just four women out of 24 on this list of options?


So, with that in mind, some of the Women’s Center staff has compiled this short round-up of some of our favorite women comedians. In their own words, staff members write about why these women are funny (too).

Tig Notaro – Kayla’s Pick

hotListTigNotaroxCR_0Tig’s comedy varies from silly, heartfelt, personal, to goofy. She’s made me cry from laughing and actually just made me cry. She’s got a joke where she just moves a stool around the stage for awhile and it might not sound like it but its HILARIOUS.
What you should know: Tig went through C-DIFF (an intestinal infection that can kill people), her mother’s death, a huge breakup, and then got breast cancer. ALL IN ONE YEAR. She is literally one of the strongest people in the world and is definitely one of my heroes (“sheroe” is definitely more apt). Oh and she’s a lesbian which is always a fun and awesome thing to know.
Fun Fact: Tig briefly performed topless in her 2015 HBO special Boyish Girl Interrupted to show her doubles mastectomy scars.

Mindy KalingJulia’s Pick

Mindy Kaling is probably my favorite comedian right now. She started acting and eventually became a writer for The Office, and now she has her own show: “The Mindy Project.” It’s clever, hilarious, and heartfelt. Something interesting about her is that she recognizes her responsibility to young women for representation, but she also points out that she often talks about diversity and representations while other white male writers actually get to talk about their shows. She says:

“There are little Indian girls out there who look up to me, and I never want to belittle the honor of being an inspiration to them. But while I’m talking about why I’m so different, white male show runners get to talk about their art.”

Maya RudolphMeagé’s Pick image

My favorite comedian is Maya Rudolph. She is best known for her time on Saturday Night Live and Bridesmaids. More recently, she has done hilarious impressions of Rachel Dolezal. For a short time she has a self-titled show where she often brought other women of color on to promote solidarity and visibility of women of color in the media.

Janeane Garofalo – Carrie’s Pick

In 1990 there was this funny sketch comedy show on MTV called The Ben Stiller Show.  It is where I first met Janeane Garofalo and fell in love.  She has this amazingly dry sense of humor which I totally latched on to.  After her stint on MTV, she was popping up in movies, usually playing the best friend.  This is what happens to comediennes and actresses who are not considered conventionally attractive by Hollywood standards.  Still, I was lucky enough to make her a coffee one day while I was working at Starbucks and she was in town doing a show and it took all I had not to gush and profess my love for all that she is.  Not only was she kind and funny during our brief interaction, but she was also polite.  A staunch feminist, politically active, this smart woman gets my vote. Now I think I am going to curl up on the couch and watch Reality Bites.

Sasheer Zamata and Leslie Jones – MJ’s Pick 

Both of these women are currently on Saturday Night Live (SNL). I believe this is the first time in 40 years that SNL has had two black women on the show at the same time!!! (Seriously, SNL!?!?) But they are incredibly funny, while tackling racial stereotypes in their skits. They’re amazing!

Leslie Jones
Leslie Jones
Sasheer Zamata

Elahe Izadi – Jess’ Pick

So, I totally had Leslie Knope as my top pick until last night when I went to Creative Alliance to see W. Kamau Bell perform. Elahe opened up the show for him and she was hilarious! She was wonderfully pro-woman and feminist with each and every joke to the point that after every punch line my friends would literally punch me and say “You’re loving this aren’t you?! You love her don’t you?!” I did a little research on her when I got home and this DC-based comedian also writes for The Washington Post, covered Congress for National Journal, and speaks Spanish and Farsi. Funny AND smart! While Leslie will always and forever have my heart (and yes, I know Lesile isn’t a real person), I wanted to give Elahe a shout-out considering she’s right down the road making her shows and jokes very accessible to the UMBC community.

Not an exhaustive list by any means! Who are the funny women you would add to the list? 

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Go Dawgs! Stop by the Women’s Center during Homecoming week to check out all the funny women cheering on the home team!

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