From Mae West to Lucille Ball to Ellen and many others, funny females have been making us laugh for years. The things that women comedians crack jokes about really runs the gamut. They cover careers, control pantyhose (remember the 80s?), kids, tater tots, and literally anything because women, it turns out, are also humans.
Who knew? Spoiler alert: women. Women always knew they were human and funny. Now, most folks who’ve watched comedy specials, or seen a local comedy show, or heard a hilarious female friend tell jokes, can recognize that fact as well.
This year has proven challenging for most everyone, but comedians have continued to crack us up. They’ve given us more online content to consume as we shelter in place and stay far more than six feet away from comedy clubs. Instagram stories, Facebook posts, and YouTube videos of standup snippets or commentary about the current crisis – they’ve covered it all.
Aside from the odd internet troll, people with a sense of humor have enjoyed the fruits of female comedians producing a bunch of quality content. If you like to laugh, you’ll be sure to enjoy the following comedians. In no particular order, here is a list of six of the best female comedians to keep an eye on in 2021.
1. Leanne Morgan
In a short clip that follows a video of her stand-up comedy show, Leanne Morgan says the young people who work for her want you to click on something. She’s not sure what it is. She doesn’t understand, but “just click it.” This comedian|wife|mother as it says on her website hails from Tennessee and talks with a southern drawl that magically endows the word “car” with three syllables: Co-ah-er.
But while the pace might be a bit slower than some of the raving rants we’re used to, the punchline is always worth the wait. In fact, she shares so many relatable details and observations in her stories that the jokes are actually sprinkled all along the way.
She talks about her “mean baby” who is now in her early twenties. Morgan has a theory about why daughters will turn on you and become awful. It’s God’s way, she says. God knows your children need to leave the nest, so he conveniently turns your once-sweet girl into a little monster.
Leanne Morgan lists off several attributes and assets that her oldest daughter has, and also that “she’s mean, and we’re scared to death of her” but how she’s nice to other people and just holds it in until she “spews it all” onto her. Or as Morgan tells it, “The very breath that I breathed out of my own nostrils made her so angry…we were not allowed to eat cereal in our own home, because she couldn’t stand to hear us chew. I don’t mean to talk about her, because she had a lot on her…she had to empty the dishwasher.” Here’s a clip of her talkin’ ‘bout her “mean baby”:
Just before the pandemic hit and stay-at-home orders started Leanne Morgan was planning a 100 city tour across the U.S. Instead, she had to shift some of her hilarity to social media. Tess, her daughter who is a makeup artist, had to quarantine at home with her, so she got the added benefit of looking better than a lot of other celebrities stuck doing their own hair and makeup.
We’ll have to do some further digging to see if Leanne is allowed to eat cereal in her own home yet, but other than that, she seems to be thriving in this new normal for the time being. She also has a podcast called Sweaty & Pissed, where she and Nurse Practitioner Karen Nickell discuss menopause and more. If you’re searching for comedy specials, check out her stand-up special So Yummy.
2. Anjelah Johnson
You may know Anjelah Johnson from her time as a cast member on MadTV, or the nail salon bit where she does an impressive impression of the woman giving her a mani-pedi and telling her why she doesn’t have a boyfriend. (In case you’re wondering, the manicurist maintains it’s directly related to the length of her nails). It’s hard to do it justice with a verbal description, but it does have over 40 million views on YouTube, so that’s saying something in the comedy world.
Johnson is of Mexican and Native American descent and was raised in San Jose, California. Her stand-up comedy includes stories about her family, church, and her time as a cheerleader with the Oakland Raiders. Her hilarious comedy specials will keep you laughing like crazy.
In her Netflix special Not Fancy, she discusses how she and her husband (of Puerto Rican descent) have conflicting opinions on Latino culture rankings. She insists that even though Puerto Ricans receive an extra point for J Lo, that Mexicans are clearly at the top of the hierarchy because of their superior food (noting that they are NOT responsible for the Nachos Bel Grande – that’s American’s fault). Watch this video to hear her full explanation of Latino culture ranking, and wait until the end if you want to hear some rather impressive beatboxing.
More recently, she’s kept busy with her husband during these days of Corona, or as they call it in their spoofy song, CaronaRonaRona. They also have a podcast called Nights at the Round Table that you can listen to and support via Patreon here.
3. Jackie Kashian
You’d never guess it, but Jackie Kashian didn’t used to have friends. She claims she might never have made anything more than acquaintances if it weren’t for one of her school teachers that drew a line graph in the dirt to explain friendship.
That teacher’s first piece of advice and point A on that line graph? Maybe try talking to people. This anecdote, as well as several others, paints a picture of a quirky and hilarious human who has mastered the art of storytelling.
Jackie Kashian has done stand-up comedy for over 25 years. She has one of the best comedy specials out there. Kashian had a stand-up special on Comedy Central, has appeared on Conan O’Brien, and Live from Here with Chris Thile.
Her self-deprecating comments often center around her sub-par social skills. Kashian is married now (to a man, which she says comes as a shock those who thinks she gay, meaning almost everyone), but she confesses she wasn’t great at dating before that. She says, “This is how I used to hit on guys. I used to stand next to them…for years.”
Kashian has a #1 comedy album on iTunes called I Am Not The Hero Of This Story. Her podcast, The Dork Forest, is in its 13th year. On that podcast she chats with folks about dorky collections, what they love, and whatever they want to talk about. She also co-hosts a podcast called The Jackie and Laurie Show with Laurie Kilmartin (a writer for the Conan O’Brien show) where the two discuss all things standup comedy.
Watch this clip below of Kashian talking about that teacher who changed her life, as well as how dressing up like a viking in an Icelandic portrait studio made her feel sexy, but the final prints revealed otherwise:
4. Erica Rhodes
With a voice and look somewhat reminiscent of Maria Bamford, Erica Rhodes is a millennial who tells twenty year olds they don’t matter and we’re all gonna die. But somehow, coming from her it sort of sounds cute. In one of her stand-up comedy sets she directly addresses the unique sound of her voice, saying, “Somebody asked me the other day, ‘Is that your real voice?’ I was like, ‘No, I got a voice lift. Very expensive procedure, but worth it to annoy people for the rest of my life.”
Rhodes started her career in her teens, as the voice of the conscience of Garrison Keillor on NPR’s A Prairie Home Companion and has continued to work for the show. She’s also done stand-up comedy on Comedy Central’s @Midnight and Comics Unleashed and participated in various festivals in the comedy world.
Like many stand-up comedians, she makes fun of her lack of success in life. She talks about how she used to envision her future as an actor and stand-up comedian:
I used to say, “when I make it, I’m gonna have a beautiful house in Malibu, overlooking the ocean. I pictured all glass windows, I’d wake up in the morning and look out.” Now I’m like, “when I make it…I’m gonna get a headboard.”
Even though she cracks jokes about her mom downplaying her career as a writer|actor|comedian, she’s actually received a lot of accolades. Erica Rhodes co-created the award-winning web series Apt. 45, and was starring in it as well. In 2015, she was nominated for “Best Actress” by the Los Angeles Short Film Festival for her work in The Platinum Plan. She has also made appearances in several TV series and acted in films.
Here’s a clip of her stand-up comedy, where she informs the younger millennial crowd they don’t matter, and still gets every person in the audience to love her:
5. Mary Mack
Speaking of funny female comedians with memorable voices, Mary Mack is a woman on the comedy scene who may look slight and delicate, but describes herself as scrappy with a “severe cheese dependency.” That makes some sense, since she was raised in Wisconsin by Minnesotan parents, dontchaknow.
Her stand-up comedy covers a lot of topics, and sometimes surprises audiences with a slightly dark twist. She tells an audience how in high school her “lunch ladies names were Bunny, Cookie, and Moe, ‘cause in Wisconsin as soon as you get out of the women’s prison, you’re enrolled in the lunch lady protection program.”
She goes on to say how they serve you a “hot starch” just to see if you can learn when you’re sleeping, and describes tater tots as “little sponges to absorb your emotions.” Mack pokes fun at people in Los Angeles who like salads, because you can’t even dry a single tear with lettuce.
She’s performed her stand-up comedy on Conan O’Brien, and was even invited back again. In the video below, she talks about being “from the woods” and how her mom “cured” her two heart attacks with aspirin and warm brandy. But as Ms. Mack says, “brandy is a natural remedy, so I wouldn’t call her alcoholic, I’d call her alcoholistic.”
During these trying times of 2020 her live stand-up comedy shows were cancelled so she “accidentally recorded” an album that’s available by donation. It’s called Comedy Bootleg 2020, and she does warn listeners that “five swears” slipped in there, so that particular set may not be so squeaky clean.
6. Jenna Kim Jones
The last (but not least) female comedian on the list is Jenna Kim Jones. She’s a stand up comedian, podcaster, and blogger who performs across the country (even this year – with a socially-distanced success!). Her bio boasts that she is “known for her strong personality and little to no upper body strength.”
In her Dry Bar Comedy special called “Jenna Kim Jones: Fun to Hug,” she astutely observes how every Zumba class consists of a room full of women and “one guy who’s better than everyone.” She also notes how these exercise classes are a great way to “figure out which parts of your body want to keep dancing when you stop moving.” She pokes fun at her own naivete, and her struggles with skinny jeans, or “curvy skinny jeans” to be precise. Here’s one clip from her “Fun to Hug” comedy special:
Jones hosts a daily podcast with her husband, called Couple Friends, where they promise to be that perfect match to you and your partner. They’re the entertaining virtual couple friends who you “really want to see but, like, you’re also kind of tired and maybe we can do it another time?”
They play games, discuss married life, don’t talk politics, and swear they’ll never ask you to babysit their kids so they can go out. Jones is a Latter-day Saint and narrated the feature length documentary, “Meet The Mormons” which came out in 2014.
There was a new special in the works this year, but when all her gigs got cancelled, Jones decided to adjust and scrap the plans for the New York taping. Instead, her comedy special was recorded outside and socially distanced over Labor Day weekend in Provo, Utah. Even though it was a small, outdoor crowd, she pulled it off and put on a great show. It premiered in November 2020 and is available exclusively on SiriusXM. She says she’ll post updates about where you can hear the show on her blog.
We hope you enjoyed this list of clean comedy queens and check out their comedy specials, albums, podcasts, and more. We know this year it’s been hard to find the funny, but we still need to laugh. If you follow the lead of these ladies, and make light of life, you might just find your way into New Years night with a little more laughter than expected.
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Adam Christing is a professional comedy magician, virtual MC, and the founder of CleanComedians.com. He is a member of the world-famous Magic Castle in Hollywood and a popular virtual comedian, magician, and virtual speaker.