I must say, compiling this list didn’t give me nearly the problems that some of my other greatest of all-time columns did. To be honest about it, the lack of historically funny comediennes is slightly disturbing.
Maybe it’s just the simple fact that more men enter the comedy field than women, but whatever the case, there is an obvious disparity between the number of male and female comedians.
There have, however, been several outstanding females who have captured the hearts of Americans everywhere with their outlandish jokes, comedy routines and film performances.
In order, here are the greatest female comediennes of all-time.
This selection was an absolute no-brainer. Ball, who is on my 10 funniest people of all-time list, is undoubtedly the greatest female jokester ever. For over 50 years, Ball brought laughter into the homes and hearts of millions of Americans – and in the process, became one of the most recognized and loved entertainers in the world. Known simply as “Lucy,” Ball won the hearts of Americans across all social and cultural lines with her hair-brained schemes.
This selection was probably the toughest one on the list for me to make. However, after considering Diller’s longevity and overall comedic aptitude, I couldn’t, in good conscious, rate anyone other than Ball, higher than Diller. Although Diller was 37-years-old when she began her theatrical career, Diller has appeared in 16 movies and tons of television specials and shows. She has also recorded five major comedy albums and written four best-selling books.
I was initially going to put Burnett in the number two spot, but thought better of it after some serious consideration. Whatever the case, Burnett was an outstanding comedienne in her own right. Her variety television show, which I watched relentlessly as a child, for nearly every one of the 12 years it was on CBS, was absolutely hilarious. Burnett’s career also has some serious longevity, which always helps when it comes to greatest of all-time lists.
I don’t care what anyone says. Gibbs is definitely one of my favorite female comediennes of all-time. I know she wasn’t actually a comedienne, but she was as capable as anyone on this list of causing someone to double over in laughter. As a matter of fact, she was so good in her role as “Florence” on the “Jeffersons” that she got her own spin-off, “227,” which did quite well for a number of years also. Whatever the case, Gibbs was absolutely hilarious and is one of my favorite female comedienne’s ever.
I must say that Lily Tomlin is one of my favorite female comedienne’s ever. From the hilarious characters she played on “Laugh-In” to the many roles in numerous films, Tomlin has captured the hearts of millions for over three decades.
All I can say about Bea Arthur is that her dry wit may be unmatched by everyone on this list. From her 1970s television show, “Maude” to her role as Dorothy on the Golden Girls, Arthur has brought laughter into millions of homes for nearly five decades.
Although Radner only lived to the age of 42 because of ovarian cancer, her career was more than good enough to make her one of the funniest women ever. Most people may remember Radner for outrageous characters she played on Saturday Night Live, but she was also featured on the National Lampoon Radio Hour with John Belushi, Chevy Chase and Bill Murray. Radner’s life may have ended prematurely, but her incredible work will live on forever.
Although I’m not a big fan of Rivers and I find her quite grating at times, I didn’t think this list would be complete without her on it. Rivers has delighted audiences for nearly five decades with her quick sense of humor. Regardless of my personal feelings for Rivers, I have to admit that she is one of the funniest women of al-time.
In less than a decade, Sykes has proven herself to be absolutely comical. From her outrageous stand-up routines to her continuing film work, Sykes has carved out a niche for herself that has already put her in the top 10 of funniest women of all-time.
Like Rivers, I have to admit I’m not the world’s biggest fan of Mo’ Nique. However, I have to admit that she is quite talented, both as a stand-up comedian and actress. Regardless of my feelings, I think Mo’ Nique belongs on this list.