• Ketaki Singh

Women & Comedy

Today, the all-pervading patriarchal structure is discussed through strong dialogue and astounding movements. With global connectivity and well-founded networks, we constantly share experiences through such diverse forms, building a reserve which could not have been imagined a few decades ago. Sarcasm, humor and irony are tools used to support opinions and accounts, and get them across in a way that is bold and relatable.


Strong female comics seen early on often leaned on self-deprecating humor, seeing as that was the only way they would have been found ‘funny enough’ to be speaking on stage, catering to a large audience fairly unexposed to the idea of consuming humor not delivered by men.

Stand-up comedy is one such form that is being recognized more and more with each passing day; absorbing people into what is an endearing and brave way to share thinking and experiences. In this facet, too, along with many others, women find themselves quelled; looking for space in an art form considered to be a masculine one. Strong female comics seen early on often leaned on self-deprecating humor, seeing as that was the only way they would have been found ‘funny enough’ to be speaking on stage, catering to a large audience fairly unexposed to the idea of consuming humor not delivered by men. Phyllis Diller, a comic, actress and musician found comfort in comedy, realizing that it was a ‘form of therapy’. Using baggy clothes, big wigs and animated form, she often made fun of her lack of sex appeal, later emphasizing on the fact that with no other women in comedy at the time, she started off with humor finding roots in academia and the use of props. Similar female comics at the time drew on such themes; attracting male comics and audience, and often presenting ‘soft’ and minor views, never coming off as aggressive.


"Actually, even when I was younger, I just assumed that men will be funnier than women. That’s the kind of conditioning we all have."

Kaneez Surka, a well-known comic, told The Telegraph “Audiences are more accepting of men being funny. I think women comedians have to be twice as funny as men to be able to be judged as being good. Actually, even when I was younger, I just assumed that men will be funnier than women. That’s the kind of conditioning we all have”. When I came across this passage, I immediately thought of how quickly we turn to defense; justifying how we don’t hold such biases and are moving in the direction we ought to and not holding archaic, rigid and structured views. But, we must ask ourselves and put it to test, examining what we might have an issue with and why that is; is it women having ambition? Women having a sense of humour? Women actively making life choices? And, why?


-Written by: Ketaki Singh

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