THE REAL-LIFE PI­O­NEERS OF FE­MALE COM­EDY

The Sentinel - - HOT SEAT -

ONE of the ear­li­est women com­edy pi­o­neers in Amer­ica was the out­ra­geous Phyl­lis Diller.

The wild-haired funny woman made her de­but at the Pur­ple Onion Club in San Fran­cisco in the 1950s and gave the house­wife’s view of life with quips in­clud­ing: “House­work can’t kill you, but why take a chance?”

Lu­cille Ball head­lined her own TV shows from the 1950s. She once said: “A man who cor­rectly guesses a woman’s age may be smart, but he’s not very bright.”

Straight-talk­ing New Yorker Joan Rivers also made her mark when she ar­rived on the com­edy scene and was writ­ing for Can­did Cam­era in the early 1960s. She be­came known as the Queen of the Barbed One-lin­ers and once joked: “Boy Ge­orge is all Eng­land needs. An­other queen who can’t dress.”

Fly­ing an early com­edy flag for Bri­tish funny women were the likes of Hylda Baker and St Trinian’s ac­tress Joyce Gren­fell.

Lan­cashire lass Hylda be­gan her ca­reer in the mu­sic halls and her com­edy cre­ations were fa­mous for their mal­a­prop­isms as they got words hope­lessly mixed up.

In the days be­fore stand-up, Joyce be­came fa­mous for her com­edy mono­logues and per­formed for Bri­tish troops dur­ing the Sec­ond World War.

Joan Rivers

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