Celebrating Iconic Female Comedians


TV Insider

Carol Burnett helped pave the way for women in comedy.

  “When you have a dream, you’ve got to grab it and never let go.” -Carol Burnett 


  Burnett is a comedian, actress, singer, and writer whose impressive—and hilarious—career has extended over decades. You may know her from her portrayal of the spiteful Miss Hannigan in the 1982 version of Annie. Her most well known role, however, was in her self-titled show “The Carol Burnett Show”. The variety show aired from 1967-1978 and has 11 seasons. 

  With Burnett’s 88th birthday taking place this April 26, it only seems fit to recognize the contributions she has made to the comedy industry. As we celebrate her, we also celebrate the other fearless women who have never failed to make us laugh. 

  Here are some notable female comedians of the present: 


Amy Poehler: Poehler’s impressive list of credits ranges from acting, to writing, to even directing. She joined the cast of the iconic sketch comedy show “Saturday Night Live” in 2001, and left seven years later to film the series “Parks and Recreation.” In 2004, Poehler proved that she is “not like a regular actress, she’s a cool actress,” in her role as Mrs. George in Mean Girls. After directing 2019’s Wine Country and more recently, the Netflix original film, Moxie, she has proved that she is a force to be reckoned with in the comedy industry. 


Tiffany Haddish: Haddish’s acting career dates back to 2005, but she really made a name for herself in 2017’s Girls Trip. Starring alongside Regina Hall, Queen Latifah, and Jada Pinkett Smith, this hilarious film about four lifelong friends is two hours and two minutes of pure fun. Haddish became the 12th Black woman ever to host “Saturday Night Live” and even won a Primetime Emmy for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series. 


Katherine Ryan: This Canadian comedian, who is based in the United Kingdom, is known for stand-up comedy and is a TV personality. Sanderson senior Mary Frances Vincent of the Sanderson Theatre Ensemble recognizes Ryan as one of her favorite women in comedy. “Katherine Ryan has made a real impact on stand-up comedy. She freely discusses motherhood, and how she chooses to be single,” Vincent says, “Ryan has allowed for women to feel much more comfortable discussing those topics out in the open.”


Tina Fey: Tina Fey’s long list of acting and writing talents makes her an obvious candidate for one of the greatest comedians. Some notable writing credits include: Mean Girls, “30 Rock”, “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt”, and “Saturday Night Live”. Fey has hosted the Golden Globe Awards four times with the aforementioned Amy Poehler. This unstoppable duo has become one of the most iconic celebrity friendships. The pair has viewers laughing non-stop in their movies Baby Mama, Sisters, and more.


Mindy Kailing: As if acting in one of the most well-known sitcoms wasn’t impressive enough, Mindy Kailing decided to go off and make her own. After playing the chatty and dramatic Kelly Kapoor on “The Office” for seven years, she created and starred in her own show. “The Mindy Project” ran for six seasons and was nominated for People’s Choice Awards, a Primetime Emmy, and more. More recently, she helped in creating the Netflix series “Never Have I Ever”, which detailed the life of a first-generation Indian-American teenager.