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Women in Comedy

Women in Comedy

Women in Comedy

According to the stereotypical media, women just aren’t supposed to be funny. In a lot of traditional pop culture, women who tell jokes are regarded as either awkward or as overly surly. Luckily, there’s a multitude (but there’s still a gender imbalance in the industry) of female comedians who regularly defy gender stereotypes and routinely knock our socks off!

Let me throw out some names you’ve probably heard before: Amy Poehler, Tina Fey, Mindy Kaling, Sarah Silverman, and the list goes on. These women have completely revolutionized comedy, not just for women, but comedy as an industry. Their amazing and they each have their own unique, frankly amazing stories. The one thing that all these women have in common though, is their pure sense of ambition. Mindy Kaling details her professional startings with a startling sense of clarity and in a relatable way in her book, “Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns)”, she talks about her babysitting gig in Brooklyn and her job as a production assistant for a TV psychic. Of course, Kaling later goes on to work at SNL, act in  and produce The Office, she owns her own network TV show, and has written a book. Every famous woman that you know of, whether she’s a comedian or not, has probably gone through something of this sort. It’s really reassuring to think that these women, who’ve accomplished so much, went through something similar that you’re going through currently.

Comedy is subjective, and because of that, it’s pretty hard to be extremely good at it. After all, how good the show is based on the viewer’s opinion on it, and the truth is that different people like different things. Unfortunately, because of those sorts of factors, it becomes really difficult for women to break into comedy, and for them to rise to prominence. Lisa Lampanelli, in an interview with Forbes, says that it’s still especially hard for women comedians to win over some male dominated audiences. Even though there are tons of amazing female comedians, a list of the highest paid comics is still dominated by men. Even though progress is being made, it’s going slowly, and a strong sense of resilience is essential to creating an industry based on equality.


As stated earlier, the highest paying comedians are mostly men, a really big reason for that is there just aren’t as many women in comedy as there are men. Reports say that only about 20-25% of comedians are women, and these women don’t really stick out as the ones are paid the most. It’s really important to remember that there should be more women in the industry, many people protest the fact that there aren’t nearly enough women in STEM, and in the same way, there really aren’t enough women in comedy either.


Prathusha Yeruva hails from the Great Lake state and is currently a sophomore at Troy Athens High School. She has an interest in biology and journalism, as well as in female empowerment. She founded a She's the First chapter at her high school (an organization that sponsors girls' education in the developing world), and that opportunity has definitely given her a more developed lens on women's issues globally. In addition to writing for Her Culture, she also writes for the women's issues column at She Speaks Media. She challenges herself academically with AP classes, participates in a wide variety of clubs, and values her Indian culture. In her free time, Prathusha drinks an abundance of coffee, listens to indie bands, and uses ampersands & parentheses excessively. She's so excited to be writing for Her Culture! 


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