Today is Sarah Silverman‘s birthday! While I’m sure she probably has something more clever to say about her expulsion from her mother’s uterus, I decided the best way to honor the birthday of one of my favorite female comedians would be to rank some of my favorite female comedians (comediennes?). Specifically in terms of stand-up comedy. Because if I don’t specify that, I’ll have the world’s longest list of SNL cast members and 10 GIFs of Melissa McCarthy.
For some reason, the concept of women being funny has been debated lately. Stand-up can definitely be a “man’s world” at times, but these ladies prove women are every bit as funny, sharp, and smart as any man in the industry.
1. Sarah Silverman
In short, she’s brave and smart and all things awesome. She’s on a roll lately, with a great comedy special on HBO and a delightfully awkward appearance on Jimmy Kimmel’s show. And she could teach Julianne Hough a thing or two, if you ask me.
2. Tina Fey and Amy Poehler
Yes, I know I’m breaking my own rule here, but I consider their hosting gigs about as close to stand-up comedy as these two will get. So I guess I’m really just making my own rules. Either way, I couldn’t neglect my soul mates on this list.
3. Amy Schumer
I remember watching the Charlie Sheen roast and falling into deep admiration for this girl. She came in as a fearless newcomer and blew everyone else’s insults out of the water. If you haven’t watched her show on Comedy Central, you’re doing yourself a disservice.
4. Wanda Sykes
I love her. Her overall delivery makes her one of my favorite comedians of all time. She’s got a lot of versatility, too. Whether she’s making appearances in movies or making fun of Sally Field’s Boniva commercial, I am a fan.
5. Ellen DeGeneres
With the crazy success of her fantastic talk show, it would be easy to forget that Ellen’s career originated in the stand-up comedy scene. I could go on and on about my love for Ellen, but I’ll spare you. Suffice it to say that she, much like Steve Martin, doesn’t feel the need to be mean or vulgar. I love both of those things, but I admire it more when comedians don’t have to resort to that to be funny.
6. Whitney Cummings
And so we begin the descent into uncharted territory. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve always enjoyed Whitney Cummings when she’s doing stand-up. I did not enjoy Whitney Cummings on her own show. Seems like pretty much everyone in America felt the same way.
7. Chelsea Handler
Okay, I think when she really puts effort into it she’s incredibly funny. I’m a fan of sarcasm and dry humor, which Chelsea excels in. What she doesn’t excel in is her stand-up comedy. I paid $60 to see her a few years ago, and basically all she did was trash talk Angelina Jolie for 45 minutes and quote her latest book verbatim. I thought it was lazy, and I know she’s capable of better.
8. Joan Rivers
Joan is a living legend, and anyone who says differently is ignorant. That being said, her comments definitely crank up the cringe factor sometimes, and instead of being funny she’s just plain mean. But you’ve got to hand it to her, she’s in her eighties and shows no signs of slowing down. If you haven’t watched her documentary, A Piece of Work, I highly suggest you do. There’s a lot of depth and hidden vulnerability there.
9. Kathy Griffin
Her stand-up comedy is more of a catty gossip sesh than actual comedy, in my opinion. I think she’s better suited to projects like My Life on the D List because it was creative, hilarious at times, and endearing. Acting out the latest issue of Us Weekly is not.
10. Lisa Lampanelli
Don’t get me wrong – I actually don’t dislike her. She’s just by far one of the most cringe-inducing comedians out there. I mean, how many times can one person say words like “vagina” and “queer” before we’ve all had enough?
(Lead GIF: Tumblr)