The Female Stand-Up Comedians You Need To Know

There's no shortage of stand-up comedians in the world, but it's the funny women taking over microphones that are most worth your attention. Beyond the Comedy Cellar, unique and powerful women are taking over comedy from every direction. Some dominate Twitter in between gigs. Some have found fame as TV stars who still fit in a set or two on the side. Some are comedians you already love, yet maybe you had no idea they actually got their start in comedy on a lonely stage with a mic. They tackle issues from navigating online dating to dealing with politicians who are constantly spouting anti-women rhetoric.
So use this list as a jumping off point for discovering new shows to see and comedy albums to listen to. Stand-up is still dominated by men, but you could be part of the wave of fans that take these female comics to the next level of fame.
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Catherine Cohen
It's hard to say if Catherine Cohen's comedic genius or musical genius is more impressive, all we know is both are unhinged. This NYC performer brings a hilariously relatable honesty to sex, relationships, and womanhood — all through song.
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Sam Jay

A Boston native and a standup veteran, Jay was hired as a writer for Saturday Night Live in 2017. She recently appeared in Netflix's array of 15-minute specials titled The Stand Ups, and, she debuted a Comedy Central half hour in October.

"I prefer to talk about things from every possible angle," Jay told Paste in October. "If I’m talking about political stuff, I’ll head in a direction you might not expect."
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Emma Willmann
Emma Willmann is from a town in rural Maine of 800 people. 800 people. Naturally, her stand-up includes hilarious stories from her upbringing. Willman will be featured in one of Netflix's new, short stand-up specials.
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Aisling Bea
Aisling Bea, an Irish comic, is one of the comics to be featured in Netflix' upcoming shorter stand-up specials. She's a star on British TV, and is officially coming to America by way of Netflix.
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Sandra Bernhard
She's been critiquing the social order since the '70s, and so was particularly ready — angry rants blazing and all — for the Trump era.
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Tiffany Haddish

Haddish has been all of our radars since her incredible performance in Girl's Trip.
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Negin Farsad

This Iranian-American comedian broaches topics of conservative families, cultural clashes, and Muslim identity with humour and acute honesty.
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Wanda Sykes

Thank goodness Sykes' comedy special, I'ma Be Me, is streamable on HBO and available whenever we want a hearty dose of hilarious real talk. Sykes' delivery is one-of-a-kind.
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Iliza Shlesinger

The winner of NBC's Last Comic Standing in 2008, Shlesinger has gone on to host multiple shows herself, like the dating show Excused, and the TBS game show Separation Anxiety. She now hosts Freeform's first late-night show, Truth & Iliza.
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Shalewa Sharpe

Sharpe was on the latest episode of the podcast Two Dope Queens, and I couldn't stop laughing. Sharpe applies sharp (get it?) insight into race relations in America.
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Morgan Murphy

A writer for 2 Broke Girls, Jimmy Kimmel Live, and Late Nite With Jimmy Fallon, Morgan Murphy somehow managed to find time to write a hit comedy special, Irish Goodbye.
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Bridget Everett

Everett's over-the-top shows are filled with ridiculously raunchy musical numbers and skits. She's a legend in the New York underground scene.
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Martha Kelly

You might recognize the Austin-based comedian for her role in the FX show Baskets. In this clip, she applies her sharp, deadpan observation to relationship help books.
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Lane Moore
In addition to being a stand-up comedian, Moore is a web writer whose work has appeared on The Frisky, Cosmopolitan, and The Onion. Paste named her Twitter account one of the best of 2015.
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Jackie Kashian
In addition to her stand-up career, Kashian is an actress who has appeared on many TV shows including Murphy Brown, Maron, and Lady Dynamite.
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Jen Kirkman
Kirkman's Netflix stand-up special was released last year. In addition to her stand-up, she also works as a comedy writer with credits on Chelsea Lately and Perfect Couples. She's also appeared on several shows including Chelsea Lately and Community.
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Naomi Ekperigin
Ekperigin has appeared on The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore, Late Night with Seth Meyers and Adam Ruins Everything. She's also worked as a writer on Broad City and has recently recorded her own half-hour stand-up special for Comedy Central.
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Camilla Cleese
Cleese has performed at The Laugh Factory, The Comedy Bar, and Edinburgh Fringe Festival. She's also performed in the Second City sketch show TMI.
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Hadiyah Robinson
Robinson was recently a guest on the popular podcast 2 Dope Queens. She has also appeared on Comicview, The Mo'Nique Show, and The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore.
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Taylor Tomlinson
Tomlinson made it into the top ten on season nine of Last Comic Standing. She has also appeared on Adam Devine's House Party and Hollywood Today Live.
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Mary Mack
Mack has competed in Last Comic Standing and will appear in the upcoming documentary The Girl In The Show. She's also performed at many comedy festivals including Vancouver Comedy Fest and Montreal’s Just For Laughs Festival.
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Anna Drezen
Drezen is best known as the editor-at-large of the women's comedy site Reductress. She will also be working as a writer on Saturday Night Live on the upcoming season.
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Tig Notaro
In addition to her successful stand-up specials and self-titled documentary Notaro has appeared on Transparent and Lady Dynamite. Her autobiographic Amazon show, One Mississippi, premiered on September 9.
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Calise Hawkins
Hawkins has appeared on The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore, Totally Biased with W. Kamau Bell, and The Meredith Vieira Show. She's also worked as a writer on @midnight.
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Priyanka Wali
Like many stand-up comedians, Wali has a day job — as a doctor specializing in Internal Medicine. She's performed at many comedy festivals including Bay Area Desi Comedy Festival and San Francisco's Hella Gay Comedy Festival.
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Corinne Fisher
Fisher has performed at the New York Comedy Club, Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre, and The Stand. Her stand-up show The Comedienne Project was part of 2015's New York Fringe Festival.
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Emily Heller
Heller has appeared on Maron, Inside Amy Schumer and Ground Floor. She's written for Crowded and Surviving Jack, and this winter Paste named her Twitter account one of the best of 2015.
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Maria Bamford
Bamford has voiced characters on Hey Arnold!, CatDog, Adventure Time, and many other shows. This year she starred in her own Netflix show, Lady Dynamite, which has been renewed for a second season.
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Liza Treyger
Treyger has headlined at Caroline's on Broadway and has also performed at the Green Mountain Comedy Fest and the Just For Laughs Festival. In addition to her stand-up performances, she has appeared on the Louis C.K. miniseries Horace and Pete, as well as Chelsea Lately and Adam Devine's House Party.
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Fortune Feimster
Feimster is best known for her role as Colette Kimball-Kinney on The Mindy Project and her frequent appearances on Chelsea Lately. She also worked as a writer for Chelsea Lately and has made guest appearances on Glee, 2 Broke Girls, and Workaholics.
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Jamie Lee
Probably best known for her appearances on Girl Code and Chelsea Lately, Jamie Lee is also a writer, with credits on Ridiculousness and The Pete Holmes Show.
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Rhea Butcher
Part of a comedy power couple (she's married to comedian Cameron Esposito), Butcher has appeared on Last Comic Standing and in several video shorts.
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Jacqueline Novak
Novak is the author of How to Weep in Public: Feeble Offerings on Depression from One Who Knows, which garnered positive reviews from Kirkus Reviews and Publishers Weekly. She's also the host of the RIOT YouTube series How to Weep in Public.
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Jo Firestone
Firestone performs her relatably awkward stand-up routines across New York City, and is a host of R29's RIOT YouTube series Womanhood. She's also appeared on several TV shows including The Characters, Broad City, and Boy Band.
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Lori Mae Hernandez
Lori Mae Hernandez hasn't even reached high school yet, but her stand-up career is already on the way up. After performing for the judges on America's Got Talent, she received a unanimous "yes" from the panel, sending her to the next round.
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Zoe Rogers
Rogers' stand-up often focuses on the challenges of being a mother. She's performed at Edinburgh Fringe and New York's She Devil Comedy Festival, and has been featured on (now defunct).
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Ali Wong
Wong's latest comedy special, Baby Cobra, was just released on Netflix. She's has appeared on Are You There, Chelsea? and Inside Amy Schumer. Wong's also a writer on Fresh Off the Boat.
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Margaret Cho
Cho is basically a stand-up legend. She has many filmed specials to her credit, including last year's Margaret Cho: psyCHO, and she's appeared on series including Drop Dead Diva, 30 Rock, and Ghost Whisperer.
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Carmen Lynch
Lynch's TV appearances include Inside Amy Schumer and The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson. She also co-starred in the web series Apartment C3.
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Michelle Wolf
Wolf has appeared on The Daily Show, @midnight, and Late Night with Seth Meyers. In 2014 she was named one of Time Out New York's "Top 10 Funniest Women in NYC."
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Ophira Eisenberg
Eisenberg is probably best known as the host of NPR's Ask Me Another, and for her memoir, Screw Everyone: Sleeping My Way to Monogamy. But she's still performing stand-up, most recently on the podcast 2 Dope Queens.
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Beth Stelling
Stelling recently performed stand-up on the comedy podcast 2 Dope Queens. She has appeared on Chelsea Lately, @midnight, and Last Call With Carson Daly.
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Emmy Blotnick
In addition to performing stand-up, Blotnick has an impressive writing résumé, with credits on Best Week Ever, @midnight, and Not Safe with Nikki Glaser. She's also appeared on Comedians Crashing Couches and Nikki & Sara Live.
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Megan Gailey
Featured on Conan this past October, Gailey has also performed at many well-known comedy clubs, including the Laugh Factory in Chicago and the Knitting Factory in NYC.
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Dulcé Sloan
Sloan recently appeared as a featured stand-up comedian on Conan. She has several comedy festival awards on her résumé, and has also appeared on Resurrection and Meet the Browns.
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Cristela Alonzo
Alonzo is probably best known for her self-titled sitcom, Cristela, which ran from 2014-2015. This year, she'll lend her voice-acting skills to the upcoming animated film adaptation of Angry Birds.
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Nikki Black
Nikki Black performed this hilarious set about facing a breast cancer diagnosis, just a week after receiving the news. In addition to her stand-up, she also writes for the humour site Reductress.
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Jenny Zigrino
In addition to appearing as a stand-up guest on Conan, Zigrino's screen credits include Fifty Shades of Black and the upcoming Bad Santa 2. She performs live frequently and has made appearances at UCB, The Knitting Factory, and The Laugh Factory so far this year.
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Sasheer Zamata
Zamata is best known as an SNL cast member (she's been on the show since 2014). She's also written and directed several comedy videos, and appeared in films like Yoga Hosers and Sleight.
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Shelby Fero
In addition to her stand-up, Fero has an impressive comedy-writing résumé, with credits on @midnight and Robot Chicken. But you might know her as Denise.
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Vijai Nathan
Vijai Nathan's hilarious stand-up focuses on dating woes and parental expectations. Her jokes have been well-received — she's gotten great press from Washington City Paper and the Los Angeles Examiner.
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Gina Yashere
Yashere delivers great material about her experience as British woman living in America and visiting her parents' home country of Nigeria. She was also a contestant on season 5 of Last Comic Standing, where she made it to the top 10.
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Francesca Martinez
Martinez, who has cerebral palsy, finds the humour in her daily struggles living with a disability, weaving them into her stand-up routines. Her book, What the **** Is Normal?!, has received warm reviews from The Sunday Times and The Telegraph.
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Chelsea Davison
Davison appeared on @Midnight this January, where she coined a solid Harry Potter pickup line. She's also appeared in UCB digital sketches, and was selected for the NBC Late Night Writers Workshop.
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Ashley Barnhill
Barnhill is a woman of many talents. She's a law school graduate, was a finalist for Project Greenlight, and taught the world a little more about Muhammad Ali (kind of) when she appeared in an episode of Drunk History.
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Sarah Millican
Millican's jokes on everything from body image to dating can be self-deprecating, but she always gives herself (and the audience members who can relate) a break. Her U.K. "Outsider" tour is currently running through September.
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Cameron Esposito
Esposito made internet headlines last February when she told a gross, but incredibly accurate joke about periods. Her Twitter account is also well worth checking out, with 40,000+ followers enjoying her thoughts on Star Wars, her family and Elf on the Shelf cakes.
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Mae Martin
Mae Martin is a pro at weaving pop culture references into her sets in a way that doesn’t alienate some audience members. In recent routines she's dealt with whether she wants, as a comedian, to be labeled and boxed in by her sexuality.
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Maggie Maye
In addition to her appearance on Conan, Maggie Maye has performed at SXSW and dozens of other comedy festivals. She also performs improv comedy, and her humour pieces have appeared in The New York Times and Variety.
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Leslie Jones
Leslie Jones has blown up as an amazing addition to SNL and one of the four female Ghostbusters. But her incredibly physical stand-up is what launched her comedy career. Watch this set with friends, and I promise for days you'll be saying, "It's not a kitchen lion."
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Aparna Nancherla
You might have seen Nancherla on @midnight with Chris Hardwick reminding us all exactly what state Walt Disney's head is. She has also appeared on Conan and Late Night with Seth Meyers.
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Chelsea Peretti
You know her as the endlessly entertaining Gina on Brooklyn Nine-Nine. But Peretti's latest stand-up special, One of the Greats, premiered on Netflix last year to fittingly great reviews.
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Phoebe Robinson
Robinson has made a brief a appearance on Broad City, where she works as a consultant. She also works as a writer for Fuse's late night White Guy Talk Show.
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Nicole Byer
Best known for the hilarious viral sketch "Be Blacker," Byer has also made appearances on 30 Rock and Comedy, Bang Bang.
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Megan Kelly Dunn
Trained in improv at the legendary Groundlings, Dunn has also written for a CBS comedy pilot and has appeared on several web series.
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Sabrina Jalees
Jalees has an impressive résumé — that includes a role in a "cautionary tale" Lifetime movie. She also has a weekly podcast, My Sexy Podcast, which features her musings on stand-up, among other subjects.
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Suzi Ruffell
A comic from the U.K., Ruffell has the perfect riff on when it's actually okay to use the phrase "that's so gay." Her stand-up has gained rave reviews from The Guardian and Time Out.

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