THE REAL-LIFE PIONEERS OF FEMALE COMEDY
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.