These Are Our Favorite Black Women Comedians

Photo: Will Heath/NBC.
You might be surprised by how many assumptions women still have to debunk about ourselves in 2017. From refuting accusations that we're not able to make decisions about our own bodies and families, to defending ourselves against more trivial charges, like women not being funny. To the latter point, there are a whole host of lady comedians who are dispelling that myth every day.
Although I’m not sure the “not funny” label applies to Black women in quite the same way, as we always seem to end up the butt of jokes. In films and TV shows, including The Hangover, Napoleon Dynamite, and The Office, Black women often show up to represent an obtrusive “other” whose very presence prompts a giggle. And notable Black comedians like Martin Lawrence and Jamie Foxx have profited from performing low-key offensive caricatures of Black women. These men have gone on to accomplish mainstream success, while the Mo’Niques and Adele Givens of the industry are often passed over.
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But all is not lost. Black women don’t exist solely at the tail end of the joke. There are some amazing Black women comedians who are making our sides hurt with their wit and humor. Check out some of our favorites, ahead.
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Photo: Virginia Sherwood/NBC.
Maya Rudolph

The daughter of a famous singer, Rudolph joined an improv troupe in the ‘90s and later joined the cast of Saturday Night Live, a post she enjoyed for seven years. She will go down in history for playing the bride in Bridesmaids. Her impersonation of Beyoncé will forever be one of my favorites.
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Photo: Greg Doherty/Getty Images.
Wanda Sykes

The desire to abandon a serious day job and explore more creative outlets is not a phenomenon that started with millennials. Wanda Sykes worked for the NSA when she first started doing stand-up in the late ‘80s. She got her big break as one of the writers on The Chris Rock Show and has since become a distinctly recognizable voice in comedy.
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Photo: Will Heath/NBC.
Sasheer Zamata

This relative newcomer to SNL is a true child of the internet. After performing at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater, Zamata also went on to star in the Pursuit of Sexiness web series and has frequently graced CollegeHumor skits.
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Photo: Will Heath/NBC.
Leslie Jones

Long before she was a writer and cast member on Saturday Night Live, Jones was boo’d off the stage while opening for fellow comedian Jamie Foxx when he was still doing stand-up. Given that she has since been personally invited to provide coverage of the Rio Olympics and starred in the all-girl remake of Ghostbusters, I think it’s safe to say that she has licked her wounds.
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Photo: FOX/Getty Images.
Nicole Byer

Apparently Byer is so naturally funny that her own life was the basis for a scripted series on MTV. She created The Pursuit of Sexiness with Zamata and has appeared on MTV’s Girl Code and Party Over Here.
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Photo: Brad Barket/Getty Images.
Jessica Williams

The next time someone tells you that you take things too seriously because of your views on justice and equality, point them in the direction of Jessica Williams. One half of the 2 Dope Queens podcast and former senior correspondent on The Daily Show, Williams is the voice of progressive millennials who prefer a strong clap back above all else. To think, we wasted all of our time trying to groom Matt McGorry when we had a perfectly capable woke bae in front of us all along.
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Photo: Lloyd Bishop/NBC.
Naomi Ekperigin

Ekperigin is one to keep your eye on. She is a regular writer for Broad City and is currently working on a television pilot with Williams. She made her first late-night appearance on Late Night with Seth Meyers at the end of last year.
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Photo: Erika Goldring/Getty Images.
Sommore

This is one of the women I crave to see more of. This raunchy comedienne started her career during the golden age of Black comedy — appearing on ComicView and Def Comedy Jam on HBO. She was also one of the stars of the Queens of Comedy tour, which was documented for a film as well. Fun fact: Sommore is also the half-sister of iconic Black actress Nia Long.
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Photo: Brad Barket/Getty Images.
Phoebe Robinson

The other half of 2 Dope Queens, Robinson is a low-key but powerful comedic force. She has served as a writer on Girl Code and Broad City. She’s also the creator of the podcast Sooo Many White Guys with Ilana Glazer from Broad City, and worked with Refinery29 for RIOT's Woke Bae.
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