HOW TO OWN YOUR STORY
Women stand-up comics are using their complexities to own their narrative. Here are some of the funniest.
Whether they’re fierce, coy, silly, sarcastic or raunchy on stage, women stand-up comedians confront their past, and use their experiences to own their life and narrative. Here are some of the best (and funniest) ones you could be learning from. A woman, another woman, and a third woman walk into a bar… and they all do stand-up! Okay, pretty weak set-up, even lamer punchline, but hey, I’m not a comic. What I am is a huge fan. To me, there is no division between male and female stand-ups – you are either funny or you are dead to me. What prompted this round-up, though, is the recent Netflix special, Nanette, by Tasmanian stand-up Hannah Gadsby. She has, in one performance, completely changed the concept of stand-up comedy forever. Forever. Her transformative set is the most talked-about, dissected and cherished performance of a generation.
Of course, many paved the way – Joan Rivers, Sandra Bernhard, Margaret Cho – and while Gadsby has earned her place in the pantheon, other hilarious women are out there killing it night after night in dingy bars, empty comedy clubs, sold-out arenas and HBO or Netflix specials – talking about their traumatic histories or dealing with their mental illnesses in public. And you can’t hide behind a mic.