I always try and write a themed post around International Women’s Day, but for some reason, I struggled this year to come up with an idea. Thankfully, my brain saved the day at the last minute (for once) and I decided to write a post on my favourite female comedians. If you’ve been with my blog for a while, you’ll know that going to see stand-up comedy is something that my husband and I do quite a lot, so it certainly plays a large part in my life. 2019 was a year that we really smashed through the shows, so much to the point that when we attended the two shows we could in 2020, I was done. It probably didn’t help that the final one we saw before the ‘Rona hit properly involved me crying during the interval because there was a woman two rows in front of us who had a HORRIFIC cold. Coughing, sneezing, taking the cold and flu pills so it was 100% obvious she was sick. Obviously, this sort of thing pisses me off anyway, but the fact there was, you know, a deadly virus going around that’s most commonly known symptom was a cough, I was a little bit more sensitive than usual. I don’t want to go too much into it, as I’ve already talked about it in a previous post, but my point is, it sort of cemented the exhaustion I had with going to comedy shows by that point.
However, as 2020 went on and everything got cancelled, it meant that so many industries ended up struggling – the hospitality and the arts in particular. Even now, as we’ve gone into 2021, shows that had been rescheduled from last year have been rescheduled again – I’ve had two moved to 2022 and one to October so far, and undoubtedly there’ll be more. While I’m certainly nervous about the idea of going back into a theatre with the likes of Miss-Fuck-Everyone-Else-I-Paid-Twenty-Quid-For-a-Ticket-So-I’m-Going-To-Sit-and-Cough-and-Wave-My-Snot-Riddled-Tissues-Around, I’m also excited, and I know that the live comedy industry (among the other arts of course) has taken a hit as a result of the pandemic, so I think it’s important to go back and support it where we can. So many British stand up comedians have felt the impact of the pandemic so it’s more important than ever to support live comedy.
Anyway, this is how I came up with my idea for today’s post. I wanted to combine my love of the comedy industry while also celebrating International Women’s Day by paying tribute to some of my favourite funny women. While we’ve seen more of them on the scene over the years, female comedians are still few and far between, but actually, some of the best stand up comedians out there are women. That’s just a fact. I think there’s still a reputation with female comics that all they talk about is vaginas and periods – Sara Pascoe mentioned in a stand-up show once that a man referred to her comedy as “a bit tampon-y,” for example – and that’s not the case. Yes, it can be a topic in many a routine, but why shouldn’t they talk about it? Male comics talk about their dicks all the time so you know, deal with it.
So, in honour of International Women’s Day, I wanted to highlight some of the funniest female artists in the comedy industry and encourage you to check out their work properly if you haven’t already.
Flo & Joan
If you’re in the UK, you may recognise Flo & Joan from the Nationwide ads, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to how bloody funny they are. Flo & Joan are a musical comedy act consisting of sisters Nicola and Rosie Dempsey, and you can watch their comedy special Alive On Stage on Amazon Prime. Not only are their songs rather catchy (Carol being one them), they’re also rather relatable too – Drank Too Much basically sums up a pre-covid night out of mine. Lady Crisps is also another favourite of mine, as it pokes fun at all of the unnecessary shit that’s been marketed towards women, the lyric summing it all up being “and please, if we ask you nice, can you make it pink and double the price?” One of my favourite Flo & Joan performances though, has to be Little Flo & Joan, in which they give advice to their younger selves, and it’s just the most adorably poignant song that always gets me.
You can watch Alive on Stage on Amazon Prime, or you can listen to the music from their live shows on Spotify.
Finally, completing the list of my favourite female British comedians is Rachel Parris. She has this incredible positive energy with her stand-up, and in addition to being a brilliant comedian, she’s also a really talented musician and singer. Both of her stand-up shows have involved musical comedy, and she’s written some hilarious songs such as Hen Do on a Train and I Don’t Like Your Child. Her most famous routine probably has to be from The Mash Report, where she did a whole bit about sexual harassment in the workplace featuring Nish Kumar, which subsequently went viral, and rightly so – just watch the clip below.
We’d only seen snippets of Suzi Ruffell’s stand up prior to seeing her live show in 2019, but when we saw her live, she had to be one of the funniest comedians we’d seen all year. Her show, Dance Like Everyone’s Watching, focused on how she found happiness with her girlfriend, and her relationship with her parents, and it was both hilarious and heartwarming, ending with a story about her and fellow comedian Tom Allen going on a trip together to New York Pride. Her stories are incredibly funny and her show was one that kept me laughing the whole way through. She hosts a podcast called Out With Suzi Ruffell, in which she chats to fellow LGBTQ+ comedians and other celebrities, and it’s recently become a regular listen of mine, so definitely check it out if you’re a fan of hers.
I’ve been a fan of Sarah Millican since I first saw her on an episode of Michael McIntyre’s Comedy Roadshow. I instantly fell in love with her Geordie accent and how she just chats to an audience as though you’re a friend of hers. Over the years too, I’ve found that her comedy has just gotten better and better. Her stand-up shows especially are absolutely filthy in places and I’m completely here for it, and she talks so openly about sex, periods, and having IBS. One of my favourite routines of hers was from her Outsider show in which she was emailed by an old school bully, and she reads out the email she sent back to her and it’s just bloody gold. She’s one of those comedians that’s genuinely funny without being mean, and her material is incredibly relatable. Another thing I love about her, is that one Christmas, she started up #JoinIn on Twitter, where people who are on their own, want a bit of company, or just find the festive season a bit difficult, can chat with each other and connect with others in similar situations. It takes place every Christmas and I believe 2020 was its 10th year. My favourite thing about her though, is that she doesn’t give a shit about what people think, and I think in a world where people are such assholes, we could all use some of that attitude.
Sarah’s DVDs and her book, How to Be Champion are available to buy on Amazon and all other good book/DVD retailers. You can also watch a number of her stand-up shows on Amazon Prime.
Katherine Ryan is one of my favourite funny women because again, she just doesn’t give a shit about what people think. She calls out the haters, and she’s not afraid to speak her opinions. I mentioned recently that I’ve been loving her podcast, Telling Everybody Everything, which, if you’re a fan of hers, I would definitely recommend you check out. She gives her views on current events while also answering listeners’ problems in her own un-sugar coated way. It also features her 11 year old daughter, Violet from time to time, whom, despite being such a young age, gives some incredible advice on listeners’ problems. While it was panned by critics, Katherine’s show The Duchess on Netflix was one of my favourite watches of 2020, not just because it was bloody funny, but because I loved the whole mother-daughter relationship between Katherine’s character and her daughter too.
You can watch Katherine’s stand-up specials, In Trouble and Glitter Room, on Netflix, along with the first series of The Duchess. You can also listen to Telling Everybody Everything on all podcast platforms.
There are so many more female comics out there who you should check out if you fancy a laugh. Here’s a few more:
- Jayde Adams
- Ellie Taylor
- Sara Pascoe
- Rosie Jones
- Aisling Bea
Who are your favourite female comedians? Let me know in the comments!