opinion / video

Guide to your new favourite female comedians

Words by Brodie Lancaster

Last week, while giving an interview, Adam Carolla said that he doesn’t think women are funny, or that they can hold their own in TV writers’ rooms. This means two things; firstly, that Adam Carolla is now as widely despised as Christopher Hitchens was after he said the same thing in a 2007 Vanity Fair article. Secondly, it means that Adam Carolla, who was previously best known to me as Jimmy Kimmel’s even less funny BFF and co-host of The Man Show (remember when Freddie Prinze Jr dreamed he was being emasculated on live TV in ‘Down To You’? The ball-squeezing was being done on that show by Adam and Jimmy — or, as I’m sure they refer to their duo, “Jimmy”) is now a worldwide topic of conversation for the first time since he was born.

Of course Carolla — just like the Hitchenses and other headline-seekers that came before him — are misguided in their opinion; Tina Fey didn’t become the first female head writer of Saturday Night Live because of a diversity scheme, Sarah Silverman didn’t win a Webby for writing and starring in hilarious viral videos because none of the male nominees showed up, and Amy Poehler’s career didn’t skyrocket past those of her three male co-founders of the UCB theatre because she was too tiny and fast for them to be able to grab her and hold her back.

The internet’s response to Carolla’s remarks have done a pretty good job of proving him wrong already, but to drive the point home further, I’ve assembled this list of the funniest ladies you’re yet to see in a film or on a major network show. I want you to feel free to whip out any or all of these names if you ever find yourself in the unpleasant company of an aspiring Carolla.

Megan Amram
I first discovered LA-based comedian Megan Amram when she posted her Glee audition video on YouTube. After sitting through all of that, it’s an upward joy spiral through her Twitter feed (highlights include “I don’t get why they call it a ‘test’ when Rorschach just painted my mom as a Jew-spider over and over again…” and “When it comes to public policy and gross immigration reform, I’m a TOTAL Samantha”) until you arrive at her blog. If those 1,500 hilarious tweets weren’t enough, here you’ll find gems like Quiz: Do You Have Cancer? (“Do you have cancer? Find out with this fun, flirty quiz!!”), Paula Deen’s Health Food Cookbook and Ed Hardy: Art Historian.

Alison Rich
Watching Alison Rich perform at the UCB theatre in New York made me feel as though I were there in the mid-90s watching a then-unknown Amy Poehler blow audiences away with her deft skill to create comedy on the spot. Alison is physically tiny, with a Jim Carrey-esque elastic face and an ease for adopting accents to make the silliest lines sound even sillier (not unlike Maya Rudolph). Now that I’m back in Australia and unable to see her perform in the improv team Creature and the sketch team Charlemagne, I have to tide myself over with watching her on YouTube. She and her writing partner Andrew Law have recently launched a brilliant new web series called Incognito under the moniker Deaf William.

Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer
Most of the ladies on this list are still on the up-and-up, and becoming fans of them now will ensure you’re able to be that d-bag who brags about “knowing them before they were big” (who doesn’t want to be that guy!?). Sadly, if you’re only jumping on the bandwagon of Broad City now, you’re already a little behind the 8-ball. But that’s okay! I’m here to catch you up and only make you feel moderately shitty about yourself in the process!­­­ Separately, Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer are excellent comedians—Ilana hosts a regular stand-up night called Fuck Buddies and co-starred with her brother Eliot in the viral sensation Shit New Yorkers Say, while Abbi’s one-woman sketch show Welcome to Camp was one of the first and best shows I ever saw at the UCB– but when they’re together they are able to contrast and play off one another’s insecurities. In the season 2 finale of their stellar YouTube web series Broad City (standout episodes include Do The Right Thing, The Dream, The Things They Carried and Instant Karma), the ladies invited The Ms Amy Poehler to be a guest star. A mere six months later, it was announced that Broad City was in development as a TV show for the FX network with Amy as executive producer (a title she shares with the show’s creators).

Noel Kristi Wells
As I get older, I realise more and more that the world just isn’t fair. It isn’t fair that cashiers at supermarkets earn more money than I do, it isn’t fair that girls who are objectively less great than I am date the boys I want to, and it isn’t fair that LA comedian Noel Kristi Wells didn’t earn a spot as a featured player on Saturday Night Live solely on the basis of her impression reel. She perfected Miley Cyrus’ bizarre blend of Valley Girl and down home Texas gal accent long before Vanessa Bayer did, and the theme song for her web series The Zooey Deschanel Show existed before Fox had even pitched New Girl. She’s versatile enough to be political, play stupid, pour hot sauce on her head and impersonate every female singer whose songs you ever included on hand-drawn mixed CDs in high school.