12 lesbian and bi comedians who smash the “women aren’t funny” myth

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Has anyone ever told you that you’re funny “for a woman” or that women can’t be funny? There’s a persistent myth (lie) that men are the only ones gifted with a sharp wit and comedic timing but this obviously isn’t true – not in the slightest.

In fact, here are 12 women who prove that women are hilarious and much, much funnier than men. This list contains a mixture of lesbian and bi women stand-ups, sketch comics, and everyone in between.

1. Kate McKinnon

It’s pretty much common knowledge that I love Kate McKinnon. I think that she is the funniest woman to grace SNL since Amy Poehler and Tina Fey (but they’re straight, so we’ll ignore them for now) and her very presence can liven up even the most rushed or flat of skits.

In fact, I’ll go as far as to say she’s one of the funniest women – and one of the funniest lesbians –  in the world right now, from sketch comedy satirizing the Drumpf administration to playing a kickass mad scientist in Ghostbusters, she can do it all.

Catch her on SNL every Saturday.

2. Margaret Cho

Margaret Cho has a unique comedic talent that blends observational comedy with political satire. Through her comedy, she tackles issues that are important to her as a bisexual Asian-American, like equal marriage and dispelling racial stereotypes.

See Margaret on her worldwide Fresh off the Bloat Tour until mid-December.

3. Mae Martin

I first saw Mae Martin in an ad on Comedy Central talking about how her friend had introduced her as her “lesbian friend”. Mae asked if we were allowed to start describing people based on how they sleep with i.e. “This is Sophie, she mainly sleeps with people who look like her dad”. I remember because I’d missed her name while channel surfing and attempted to Google the joke to find out her name (side note: Don’t Google it. Learn from my mistakes).

Mae is actually bi and explores this identity prominently in her comedy, from friends who were confused about her wanting to date men as well as women because of her hairstyle, to a guy she was making out with her asking if she wanted him to stop because she was gay.

She’s going back on tour in the UK in February, so check her out if you get the chance.

4. Rosie O’Donnell

I grew up watching lesbian icon Rosie O’Donnell hosting the Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Awards and playing Betty Rubble in The Flintstones Movie but her stand-up career began all the way back in 1979. This may be surprising for younger readers who remember her movie and TV roles (including as one of the women on “The View”) but it was Rosie’s biting wit that first got her noticed.

Although her comedy was never mean, her years on daytime TV have softened her comedy somewhat- don’t be fooled by the media (or Drumpf’s) portrayal of her- to make her comedy more family-friendly but still incredibly funny.

Catch her in SMILF on Showtime.

5.  Tig Notaro

In 2012, Tig Notaro performed at the Largo, Los Angeles, and opened with the line: “Good evening. Hello. I have cancer. How are you?” That entrance- which has since gone viral- is evidence of her famous deadpan styling.

Since her diagnosis, Tig has shifted more to personal comedy, reflecting on her life and childhood, rather than the observational comedy that she was known for.

Catch Tig on tour until mid-December.

6. Sandi Toksvig

Danish-British comedian Sandi Toksvig is a busy woman. As the presenter of comedy quiz show QI and the new Great British Bake Off, co-founder of the Women’s Equality Party in the UK, and a Chancellor at Portsmouth University in England, it’s surprising that she has any free time at all.

She began her comedy career whilst at Cambridge University (at the same time as Stephen Fry, Hugh Laurie, and Emma Thompson), before moving on to a career in improv, comedy writing, and appearing on various comedy panel shows.

Not afraid to ruffle a few feathers, Sandi once joked that the Conservative Party had “put the ‘N’ into cuts”  when talking about their austerity measures relating to child benefits, and about how similar Nigel Farage, leader of right-wing party UKIP, was to Hitler.

Catch her on GBBO and QI this winter.

7. Shappi Khorsandi

Iranian-born Shappi Khorsandi’s comedy is all about identity. Immigrant, Comedian, Humanist, Mother, Feminist, Author, Bisexual: these are all labels that have been applied to her (or that she has applied to herself) over the years.

In 2016, she came out as bi but stated that she didn’t act on her feelings as a teenager because of her conservative upbringing. She notes that maybe, if the culture had been different, she would have pursued meaningful relationships with women.

Catch her on I’m A Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here this fall.

8. Zoe Lyons

Zoe Lyons has been a regular on the UK stand-up circuit since 2004, and regularly appears on British comedy shows like Mock the Week and Michael McIntyre’s Comedy Roadshow. She favours observational comedy, specifically based around her experiences as a lesbian.

Her Little Misfit Tour has ended for this year but check here for new dates soon.

9. Sue Perkins

If you’re a fan of the original Great British Bake Off (before it moved from the BBC) then you’ll already know about Sue Perkins and her unique brand of light-hearted humour. Seriously, Sue doesn’t have a bad bone in her body.

In fact, you may know Sue as the woman who convinced your conservative relatives that lesbians can be family-friendly viewing (or was that just my family?). However, as Sue has pointed out, “being a lesbian is only about the 47th most interesting thing about me”.

Watch her on Mary, Mel and Sue’s Surprise Party with her former bake off co-presenters this December.

10. Wanda Sykes

If you don’t already know who Wanda Sykes is, I feel sorry for you. This badass funny gay woman has a filmography that goes back to when I was just a little kid and her stand-up career began in the late 1980s.

Wanda- a former NSA employee!- got her first big break after opening for Chris Rock and eventually joining the writing team for his show. Never afraid to stir up a bit of controversy, Wanda joked that she hoped Rush Limbaugh’s kidneys would fail, during the 2009 White House Correspondents’ Dinner, after he said that he wanted Barack Obama to fail as president.

Catch her on Broad City and A Bad Moms Christmas right now.

11. Lea DeLaria

You may know Lea DeLaria best as Carrie “Big Boo” Black on Orange is the New Black but her stand-up career began in San Francisco in 1982. On her stand-up performances, Lea says that she is truly able to be herself on stage.

One of the most fascinating things about Lea is that she actually directed a musical revue that contained many songs talking about being gay and taking pride in being lesbian and butch all the way back in 1986, before starring in a musical comedy about two lesbians who lived together in 1988.

Catch her live in Missouri this December.

12. Ellen DeGeneres

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UI0iIUUCs2s

I don’t think that we could get through a list of hilarious women on this site in particular without mentioning the one and only Ellen DeGeneres. While most people know her now for her talk show, she actually started as a stand-up comic in the 1980s and was named Showtime‘s funniest person in America in 1982.

And I have good news for you, Netflix has recently commissioned a new stand-up special with our favourite lesbian.

So that’s my list of the funniest women who also happen to be lesbians or bisexual,  but I’d love to hear your thoughts. Who’s your favorite? Who have I missed? Also, would you like to see a list of emerging lesbian and bi comedians? Who would you pick? Let me know in the comments below.

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