funny women Archives - GOLD Comedy

12 must read memoirs by hilarious women (and even one teen!)

Confession: I hate reading. It’s hard to pinpoint exactly when this hatred began (probably somewhere between sitting with that dumbass in kindergarten who took twenty minutes to read the word “cat” and having to lie on my nightly third grade reading log), but I can’t remember the last time I was able to get through a chapter of a book without taking a 40-minute nap, watching two episodes of The Office, painting my nails, and/or creating a Chinese-Italian meal with the leftovers in my fridge. I rarely seem to find a book that can actually hold my itty-bitty attention span.

Exception: funny memoirs. Ever since I was 12 when I found Bossypants on the floor next to an airport garbage can, the genre has been my go-to for not-so-guilty pleasure. Here’s a list of hilarious books by hilarious women—some timeless classics, some brand new—that helped me fall back in love with reading.

1. Earth Hates Me: True Confessions from a Teenage Girl, by Ruby Karp

16-year-old comedian Ruby Karp takes on teen life. Ruby is just getting started, so be sure to check out her brand new book before the rest of the comedy world catches on.

2. Lea’s Book of Rules for the World, by Lea Delaria

Before she was Big Boo on Orange is the New Black, Lea Delaria was (and still is) an amazing stand up comic, jazz singer—and memorist! As Delaria says, you have to learn all the rules before you can break them.

3. Self-Inflicted Wounds: Heartwarming Tales of Epic Humiliation, by Aisha Tyler

The Talk host Aisha Tyler gets real about all the embarrassing mistakes she made on her way to the top. I find this REASSURING.

4. Dolly: My Life and Other Unfinished Business, by Dolly Parton

No one can combine sass and sentimentality like Dolly Parton, who tells it like it is in this honest, hilarious memoir about her journey to stardom.

5. Seriously…I’m Kidding, by Ellen Degeneres

Ellen Degeneres’ talk show style comedy comes right through in her writing, making this memoir feel more like one long, hysterical monologue than a 200+ page book.

6. Amen, Amen, Amen: Memoir of a Girl Who Couldn’t Stop Praying (Among Other Things), by Abby Sher

GOLD teacher and Second City alum Abby Sher looks back on her music-, love-, comedy-, and OCD-filled past.

7. Suck It, Wonder Woman!: The Misadventures of a Hollywood Geek, by Olivia Munn

Olivia Munn opens up about life in Hollywood in this series of incredibly frank essays, featuring pieces such as “What to Do When the Robots Invade (Yes, When!)” and “Thoughts About My First Agent’s Girlfriend’s Vagina.”

8. Wishful Drinking, by Carrie Fisher

Carrie Fisher, who is much funnier than General Leia, gives an intimate account of her unusual childhood growing up Hollywood royalty and becoming a cultural icon at the age of nineteen.

9. The Bedwetter, by Sarah Silverman

No one is able to deliver crude, filthy, pee-your-pants/bed funny comedy quite like Sarah Silverman, and her memoir certainly delivers all the laughs it promises.

10. Happy Accidents, by Jane Lynch

If you’re a diehard Glee fan or need a dose of sage advice, Jane Lynch’s memoir is for you. It’s filled with tons of great stories on navigating success, sexuality, and high school, but its messages are applicable and hilarious for people of all ages.

11. Yes Please, by Amy Poehler

I know you guys know Amy Poehler is funny. But LISTEN TO THE AUDIOBOOK. Her PARENTS are in it—and let’s just say, you see where she gets it (the humor and, when she turns it on, the Boston accent).

12.  Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns), by Mindy Kaling

Mindy Kaling’s debut book is a quick read and an absolute gem, filled with tons of relatable anecdotes from her stint as a Ben Affleck impersonator to her breakout role on The Office.

Got another recommendation? Give us a shout! 


Kaitlin Goldin is a student, writer, actress, and devout McJew based in the Bay Area. She is currently a junior at Marin Academy in San Rafael, and she is credited with such historic events as creating the modern-day internet, finding the cure to polio, and discovering the classic combination of Oreos and peanut butter. She also enjoys long, romantic walks on the beach and monster trucks and all that crap.

The 10 funniest “Saturday Night Live” sketches starring women

Many a super-famous comedian has been launched into the big leagues by the legendary Saturday Night Live. But our favorite SNL *cough* female comedians *cough* don’t always get the recognition they deserve. From Gilda Radner to Cecily Strong, the women of SNL have set themselves apart as the queens of sketch comedy. Break out the popcorn and rosé for what I think are the top ten SNL sketches starring badass women. (If you think I’ve missed one, throw a piece of popcorn at me and tweet it at @GOLDcmdy!)

1. Gilda Radner as Roseanne Roseannadanna

If only all commencement speeches went something like this…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OlQ9iOir6j8

2. Kate McKinnon in Actress Roundtable

Host Margot Robbie couldn’t even wait until she was off camera to give McKinnon the laughs she so deserved.

3.Tina Fey and Amy Poehler as Sarah Palin and Hillary Clinton

There’s no comedy chemistry like best friends playing worst enemies.

4. Kristen Wiig as the Target Lady

Classic Peg!

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5. Bronx Beat with Maya Rudolph and Amy Poehler

Let’s face it. We all know a few moms like Betty and Jodi.

6. Ana Gasteyer as Martha Stewart

Ana Gasteyer has Martha Stewart’s real recipe for success.

7. Rachel Dratch as Debbie Downer

*Cue sad trombone sound effects*

8. Vanessa Bayer and Cecily Strong in Asian-American Dolls

Vanessa Bayer and Cecily Strong push the envelope in the pushiest way.

9. Molly Shannon as Mary Katherine Gallagher

Aren’t we all Mary Katherine Gallagher?

10. Jane Curtin on Weekend Update

Aaaaaaaaand the buttons come off!

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KAITLIN GOLDIN is a student, writer, actor, and devout McJew based in the Bay Area.  

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What’s your sense of humor?

Just like a fingerprint, no two people have the exact same sense of humor. Humor is a very fluid and flexible personality trait that is constantly changing and adapting to new life experiences. What one person finds hilarious might make someone else incredibly uncomfortable. You know this if you’ve ever seen George W. Bush try to give a neck massage.

This quiz is designed to see which of the 6 main styles of humor—we’ll call them observational, satire, deadpan, dark, surreal, and slapstick—tickles your funny bone. It certainly doesn’t mean that this is the only kind of humor that works. (And it also doesn’t mean that there are only 6 styles of humor!) But it might give you a bit of a clue about what your own comedy style might be, which is can be a key element of your comedy persona. At very least,  it might point you in the direction of some awesome new comedians, movies, and shows to check out.

1. What’s your favorite punchline?

2. Favorite comedian?

3. What’s the deal with…?

4. Favorite SNL sketch?

5. What do you do to lighten a mood?

Find your funny: What kind of humor are you?
Surreal (absurdism)

Surreal humor (also known as absurdist humor) is a form of humor predicated on deliberate violations of causal reasoning, producing events and behaviors that are obviously illogical. Constructions of surreal humor tend to involve bizarre juxtapositions, non-sequiturs, irrational or absurd situations and expressions of nonsense. Comedians we bet you’ll like: Maria Bamford, Monty Python, Dan Harmon, Tim & Eric, Steven Wright, Coen Brothers. Shows and movies we bet you’ll like: Unbreakable Kimmie Schmidt, SpongeBob SquarePants, The Big Lebowski, The Eric Andre Show, Pee-wee’s Big Adventure, Spaceballs, The Good Place, Community.
Dark (black comedy)

Dark comedy (or black comedy) is a comic style that makes light of subject matter that is generally considered taboo. This type of humor often includes topics of violence, discrimination, disease, sexuality, religion and barbarism. Comedians we bet you’ll like: Sarah Silverman, Jim Norton, Anthony Jeselnik, Richard Pryor, Seth MacFarlane, Trey Parker & Matt Stone. Shows and movies we bet you’ll like: South Park, Four Lions, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Rick and Morty, Inglorious Basterds.
Satire

In satire, vices, follies, abuses, and shortcomings are held up to ridicule ideally with the intent of shaming individuals, corporations, government, or society itself into improvement. This style of humor is often constructive social criticism, using wit to draw attention to both particular and wider issues in society. Comedians we bet you’ll like: Gilda Radner, Conan O’Brien, Amy Sedaris, Dave Chappelle, W. Kamau Bell, Sarah Silverman, Samantha Bee. Shows and movies we bet you’ll like: SNL, Blazing Saddles, The Daily Show, 30 Rock, Wet Hot American Summer, Full Frontal with Samantha Bee.
Observational

Observational comedy is a form of humor based on the commonplace aspects of everyday life. It is one of the main types of humor in stand-up comedy. In an observational comedy act the comedian "makes an observation about something from the backwaters of life, an everyday phenomenon that is rarely noticed or discussed." Comedians we bet you’ll like: Amy Schumer, Louis C.K., Joan Rivers, Kevin Hart, John Mulaney, Ali Wong, Phoebe Robinson. Shows and movies we bet you’ll like: Get Out, Brooklyn 99, Seinfeld, Arrested Development, Bridesmaids, Master of None.
Deadpan (dry)

Deadpan (or dry humor) describes the deliberate display of a lack of or no emotion, commonly as a form of comedic delivery to contrast with the ridiculousness of the subject matter. The delivery is meant to be blunt, sarcastic, laconic, or apparently unintentional. Comedians we bet you’ll like: Tig Notaro, Steven Wright, Mindy Kaling, Mitch Hedberg, Aubrey Plaza, Bob Newhart. Shows and movies we bet you’ll like: Portlandia, The Office, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Documentary Now!, In Bruges.
Slapstick (physical)

Slapstick is a style of humor involving exaggerated physical activity which exceeds the boundaries of normal physical comedy. Comedians we bet you’ll like: Melissa McCarthy, Buster Keaton, Jim Carrey, Lucille Ball, The Three Stooges, Martin Short, Molly Shannon. Shows and movies we bet you’ll like: Laverne and Shirley, Naked Gun, Airplane, Family Guy, There’s Something About Mary, Modern Family.

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CARSEN SMITH (intern, branding and content) performs standup and improv in New York City. She co-created the improvised cooking show “I’ll Have What She’s Having,” which ran at Nashville’s Third Coast Comedy Club. @carsenasmith

15 perfect answers to “What’s it like to be a woman in comedy?”

by GOLD staff

Hoo boy, do female comedians LOOOOVE this question. Almost as much as they love the word “comedienne.”

(Answers below without links are from GOLD interviews.)

Aparna Nancherla

What is it like to be a woman in comedy? I would say it’s 1% jokes & 99% answering this question.”

Cameron Esposito

On Take My Wife: “I think it’s a lot like being a woman in any profession, except maybe less dick jokes?”

In real life: “What’s it like being a woman in comedy today? To start, it’s being asked that question in every interview, and occasionally interpersonally, like at a party or something. ‘What’s it like being a woman in comedy and do you know where the bathroom is at this apartment?’…

To be a woman in comedy is to be pitted against the only other female comic in the city you came up in for every booking in town and to never share a bill with her. It’s to walk out onstage after this intro: ‘We’re really glad this next comic isn’t raped and dead in an alley.’ (That is an actual intro I have gotten.)…To be a woman in comedy is to look a little bit off standing in front of a brick wall telling jokes, only because we have seen and continue to see statistically more men standing in front of brick walls telling jokes.

I’ll speak for myself specifically to finish up. For me, to be a woman in comedy today is to want to be recognized as important to the field, because of my talent and because of my diversity. It’s hoping that comics who happen to be in the demographic majority realize the dominant position they hold and are stoked to have comics like me for running interference on sameness. Perhaps most importantly, it’s wanting to be seen as a comic.”

Ophira Eisenberg

“Very lucrative.”

Photo credit: Mindy Tucker

Wendy Liebman

“I’ve never been a man in comedy, so I don’t know the difference.”

Joanna Briley

“What’s it like to be able to breathe?”

Carole Montgomery

“Yawn.”

Amy Schumer

What’s the hardest part about being a female comedian? The rape.”

Jen Kirkman

“This question is the hardest part – it’s yet again another opportunity for guys to say that I’m complaining or to retread the same old stories. There is sexism in the world so of course it bleeds into every single area of life. I don’t answer this particular question anymore.”Faith Choyce

Getting put on pink flyers. Being asked to do shows that are marketed in such groundbreaking ways as ‘Chicks Are Funny Too,’ ‘Broads, Beer, and Belly Laughs.’ Being introduced as ‘a lovely lady.’”

Suzy Nakamura

“I don’t know that we’ll shake the idea that there are People in Comedy, and then there are Women in Comedy.”

Beth Stelling

“I’ve been called a “female comic” so many times, I’ll probably only be able to answer to “girl daddy” when I have children.”

Clare O’Kane

My gender shouldn’t matter when it comes to what I want to do as a profession. It’s only used as a way to say, ‘Hey so this next comedian is a WOMAN, so now you know what to expect! Period jokes and sh*t!’”

Phoebe Robinson

“I don’t want to validate that stupid-ass question. People get so hung on gender, sexuality, and race, and they don’t see you as a creative as they might, say, Jerry Seinfeld.”

Michelle Collins

“I find it annoying that funny women always have to talk about being a funny woman. I’m a funny person. We’re not charity cases. We’re talented. It’s done.”

Eden Dranger

Let’s be clear about this: Male comedians are never asked what it is like to be a guy in comedy. They might be asked what it is like being a comedian, but that is because comedian almost always defaults to “male” in people’s minds, just like doctor, astronaut, and assless chaps model. But the landscape is changing, and stand-up comedy is no longer the total sausage fest it used to be. That’s why when I get asked about being a woman in comedy, I can honestly say, “It’s f*cking great!” Because you know what, it IS! Walking on stage and making people laugh and forgetting about your own issues for a while is an awesome job to have.”



“What’s it like to be a woman in comedy?”

Tweet @GOLDgirlscomedy YOUR favorite answer!

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Read Lynn’s bio here.