Female Comedians: On Laughter and Stigma

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Some reviewers still draw a divide between the rules that apply to male comedians and their female counterparts, as seen in in Brian Lowry’s piece which criticizes Sarah Silverman for being “as dirty as the guys.”

Ann Friedman of The Hairpin created a pie chart to draw attention to comedy’s troubled relation with gender. The question Friedman’s pie chart seeks to address is: Why aren’t we laughing at that female comedian?

“Dislike it when ladies use swear words,” “maintaining stoicism out of respect to Christopher Hitchens,” and “unfamiliar with basic female anatomy and so did not get that tampon joke” are frontrunners in Friedman’s graphic.

What both pieces make clear is that there are still issues with gender in comedy that need to be resolved.


Serena Candelaria is a Rumpus intern, and a self-proclaimed fiction addict. This summer, she worked at 29th Street Publishing and began writing a novella. She is currently a senior at Yale, where she studies Literature. More from this author →