As I mentioned on the UK versions of this list, which you can check out here and here, I have always profoundly enjoyed comedy, not just because of its capacity to make people happy, but for its powerful social impact, and it’s ability to engineer real change. I am from the UK so of course the comedians on my previous lists resonate with me a little more because of shared culture and sense of humor, but I also think comedy can be universal, and that at the end of the day we all face the same issues. So here we have it, my hand selected picks, my Top 10 picks for female comedians in America, oh and check out the male version here.
1. Sarah Silverman
Is exceptionally funny, exceptionally beautiful and also practically ubiquitous with the term female comic in America. I think my first exposure to Silverman wasn’t actually as a comedian however, instead it was as an actress in Star Trek: Voyager (as Rain Robinson) during the Season 3 two-part episode ‘Future’s End’, it was here I grew to appreciate their talent, although I have also enjoyed her roles in School of Rock and the Wreck-It Ralph series. In terms of comedy, I’ve really enjoyed their stand-up routines Jesus Is Magic and A Speck of Dust (which is available on Netflix).
2. Ali Wong
Ali Wong is super funny, in a raw and unapologetic way, she never fails to make me laugh, but her comedy is also very real. I thoroughly enjoyed her voice acting role as Roberta “Bertie” Songthrush, one of the title characters in the former Netflix, and Now Adult Swim, animated television show, Tuca & Bertie. In terms of stand-up, you should check out her specials, Baby Cobra and Hard Knock Wife, both of which are available on Netflix. I also recommend you check out her routine on Late Night with Seth Meyers.
3. Sara Schaefer
I first heard Sara Schaefer when I stumbled across the podcast she hosts with fellow comedian Nikki Glaser called You Had To Be There, which I strongly urge you to check out. Since then I’ve enjoyed several of their routines, two of which you can check out here and here.
4. Catherine Cohen
Catherine Cohen was actually recommended to me by someone who attended one of her performances at the Edinburgh Fringe in 2019, and I was glad I did because she is a talented and not to mention very funny performer who adeptly blends music into her comedy. I look forward to seeing more of her in the future. For now though, you can check out some clips of her routines by clicking here and here.
5. Tiffany Haddish
Tiffany Haddish first came to my attention after I watched and fell in love with her character, Tuca in the Netflix/Adult Swim animated series Tuca & Bertie. Since then I’ve also enjoyed her vocal talents as Cindy in Legends of Chamberlain Heights, which despite airing before Tuca & Bertie, I saw afterwards. I also strongly suggest you check out her stand-up specials, Tiffany Haddish: She Ready! From the Hood to Hollywood and Tiffany Haddish: Black Mitzvah which are available on Netflix. You should also check out this compilation of her performances at Laugh Factory over the years, by clicking here.
6. Amy Schumer
Amy Schumer is an incredibly talented and vibrant comedian, often described as salacious or risque because of their honest and fun take on more adult topics such as sex and relationships. I strongly urge you to check out her Netflix stand-up shows, The Leather Special and Growing, which are both fantastic. Also while you’re at it, check out her routines on Saturday Night Live and Conan.
7. Tig Notaro
Tig Notaro is another entry on this list, who I came to from something other than comedy, I actually first saw them as Denise “Jett” Reno on Star Trek: Discovery. Their character on Discovery, very much like their stage persona, is very deadpan, and delivers quick, acerbic one liners. So once I discovered, and please forgive the poor attempt at a joke, that they did comedy, I checked them out. I watched two of their appearances on Conan, which you can check out here and here, and thoroughly enjoyed her material. You should also check out her stand-up special, Tig Notaro: Happy To Be Here over on Netflix.
8. Iliza Shlesinger
I first came across Iliza Shlesinger after binging on comedy over on Netflix, I discovered her show, aptly named ‘The Iliza Shlesinger Sketch Show’. It was incredibly entertaining, and very fresh, it had a surprisingly strong first season and I am eager for more. I also recommend you check out their Netflix specials Confirmed Kills and Elder Millennial, both of which are hilarious. I also suggest you watch her routines on The Late Late Show with James Corden and The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.
9. Michelle Wolf
I was first introduced to Michelle Wolf when she appeared on Frankie Boyle’s American Autopsy and later The Big Fat Quiz of the Year 2018, I enjoyed her energy and personality, on both shows, and have since then kept an eye out for her. I also thoroughly enjoyed her web series, Now Hiring, which you can check out here. I also suggest you check out her appearance on Late Night with Seth Meyers, Live at the Apollo and her Netflix special, Joke Show.
10. Taylor Tomilson
I first came across Taylor when I was looking for new podcasts and discovered her podcast, Self-Helpless which she hosts alongside Delanie Fischer and Kelsey Cook. After that I happened to find some of their routines on YouTube, I particularly liked her appearances on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon which you can check out here and here. I also strongly recommend you check out her Netflix special, Quarter-Life Crisis.
Honourable mentions go to Sam Jay, Aparna Nancherla and Cameron Esposito who I also really enjoyed but didn’t quite make the top 10 list.
First Published on: https://offtherecordblog.org/