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Women In Comedy That Have My Heart (And They Should Have Yours Too)

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Queen's U chapter.

In a world of Netflix stand-up comedy specials, I’ve carved out my unique tradition. After each grueling exam I write, I treat myself to takeout and a stand-up special. It’s a delightful way to switch off my brain briefly before the inevitable plunge into my next study session. Yet, the comedy landscape remains heavily saturated with male performers, as is the case with many other industries. Shockingly, as of 2016, only 14% of stand-up specials featured female comedians. While I do enjoy the humour of male comics like James Acaster, Hassan Minhaj, and Jo Koy, I’ve noticed that women’s perspectives and experiences are often overlooked. This gender imbalance not only discourages aspiring female comedians but also restricts the platform for women to share their unique stories and life lessons.

With that in mind, here are three of my favorite female comedians who tackle important topics with their routines, all while making me laugh:

Taylor Tomlinson

Taylor Tomlinson embarked on her comedy journey in humble settings, from church basements and coffee shops to college campuses and cruise ships, all by the age of sixteen. In a candid conversation on Conan O’Brien’s podcast, she shares her experiences performing in churches and on cruise ships, which became a springboard for her career. Tomlinson’s popularity skyrocketed after an appearance on Conan’s late-night talk show, leading to two Netflix specials and a tour.

In her special “Look At You,” Tomlinson bravely delves into her personal experience with bipolar disorder. She tackles the challenges of living with bipolar disorder with sincerity, all the while managing to poke fun at societal perceptions of mental illnesses without taking herself too seriously. What truly sets Tomlinson apart is her remarkable ability to engage in crowd work with wit and grace. While some comedians’ interactions with the audience can be uncomfortable to watch, Tomlinson effortlessly maintains respectful banter with audience members, weaving clever remarks into their shared stories. Her commentary on dating and growing up religious is not only side-splitting but also deeply relatable. I highly recommend checking out clips of her crowd work and her reflections on having a stay-at-home husband.

Ali Wong

Ali Wong, a multifaceted talent who’s graced the big and small screens in titles like “Harley Quinn: Birds of Prey,” “Always Be My Maybe,” “Beef,” and “Big Mouth.” She has also left her mark as a writer for three seasons of the sitcom “Fresh Off The Boat.” She’s renowned for her stand-up specials, including “Baby Cobra” and my personal favorite, “Hard-Knock Wife.”

Wong’s comedy orbits around the challenges of motherhood, but she doesn’t shy away from the gross, painful, and uncomfortable aspects of giving birth and raising a newborn. Her storytelling is unfiltered and detailed, making her narratives both hilarious and amusing. In “Baby Cobra,” Wong bravely jokes about her miscarriage, aiming to destigmatize discussions around this sensitive topic and foster connections with other women who’ve faced similar experiences. My absolute favorite segment of her “Hard Knock-Wife” routine is the one that never fails to make me giggle.

Nicole Byer

Nicole Byer has left her comedic mark on various television shows, including the 2013 MTV series “Girl Code,” and guest appearances on “Brooklyn Nine-Nine,” “The Good Place,” and “The Simpsons.” Her podcast, “Why Don’t You Date Me,” offers a candid window into her love life and explores a wide range of topics related to romantic relationships through engaging conversations with her guests. Byer’s openness about her dating experiences and her unapologetic confidence make her a charismatic figure in the comedy world.

In her routines, she fearlessly tackles issues related to being plus-sized and the double standards that society places on plus-sized individuals. Byer’s experiences, which she shares with her audience, are a captivating mix of the bizarre and intriguing, told in a manner that feels like a delightful brunch date with a friend you haven’t seen in months. My personal favorite bit of hers revolves around a memorable story involving a blanket she found on a first-class flight.

These three talented female comedians are reshaping the comedy landscape, breaking barriers, and inspiring countless others to find their own voices in the world of humour. Their fresh perspectives, unfiltered storytelling, and unapologetic confidence make them must-watch comedians for anyone seeking a good laugh with a dose of relatability.

Emma Rychliwsky

Queen's U '25

Third-year environmental studies/education major and writer/editor of the Queen's HC chapter. I love to write about mental health, academics, music, and whatever I am thinking about that week :)