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7 Women Who Used The Internet to Make The World A Funnier Place

Essay

In spite of the advancements of hilarious women this past year — the success of Bridesmaids, that awesome Amy Poehler-orchestrated pageant at the Emmys — mainstream comedy remains very much a boy’s club. We cannot blame it entirely on the boys themselves. The entertainment industry likes to stick to antiquated ideas about what is “marketable”. Anything different is “risky” and could cost studios money. It sucks, but that’s the situation. We still have a long way to go before comedy can be truly gender-neutral.

That is why the internet is such a blessing. With the internet, anyone can create and put their work out there for the world to enjoy. The writer can write, the singer can sing, and the comedi-er can comedi without jumping through industry hoops. This is the internet at its best: the boundless freedom that almost makes it worth unregulated Youtube comment sections.

Let us take a moment to honor those women who have made the internet their playground and given us a chuckle along the way.

Maria Bamford

Chris Sims once likened comedian Maria Bamford to the Green Lantern. He also likened Eugene Mirman to Wonder Woman, but that’s another story. Like Hal Jordan and his corps of ring-bearing space cops, Bamford can conjure anything with the power of her imagination. Instead of green guns and giant fists, however, Bamford uses her gifts to create fully realized characters in her insanely funny comedy routines.

If you want to see the Bammer’s powers at their apex, just watch this episode of The Maria Bamford Show. Bamford plays nearly every character: herself, her family, friends, enemies and coworkers. The only role not played by Bamford is that of her dog, Blossom, and Maria could probably nail that part, too. Her talents are awe-inspiring, and we should thank God everyday that she chooses to use her superpowers for good.

Elaine Carroll

Can we all agree that the Olsen twins are just not human? They are emaciated alien pixies, and therefore it’s okay to make fun of them. Oh, I’m just kidding. I’m sure they’re lovely.

Still, it is a riot to watch Elaine Carroll portray the Mary-Kate Olsen of our imaginations: highly medicated, barely functioning, and absurdly rich. It makes us feel a little better about our own lives, even if we know it’s just a joke. Probably.

Garfunkel and Oates

Garkfunkel (Riki Lindhome) and Oates (Kate Micucci) are like Flight of the Conchords, only more female and less New Zealandy. Their catchy, quirky songs cover a wide range of subjects, from smug pregnant women to go kart orgasms. Like many a Guthrie before them, Garfunkel and Oates have captured the spirit of an era.

The duo have made some slick music videos for songs like “I Don’t Understand Job” and “Sex With Ducks”, but their lo-fi “couch videos” are just as hilarious. It just proves that all you need to make a funny video is a song in your heart, and a camera on your coffee table.

Sarah Haskins

It’s hard being a woman. You have to cook things, menstruate all the time, and there are never enough shoes! From 2009 to 2010 Sarah Haskins’ current.tv show Target Women looked at the world of women through advertising-colored glasses. What she saw was depressing, and incredibly mockable. Target Women makes you laugh while making you want to punch things. Periods, am I right?

Jamie Lee

I knew Jamie Lee back when we were both starting out in the New York open mic scene. I have since left stand-up to write about robots, while Jamie has gone on to become a rising star of the alternative comedy scene. Seeing somebody you know recognized for their talent makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

Lee wrote, produced and costarred in Kid Farm, a scathing parody of those creepy TLC giant family shows. Kid Farm recently finished its first series on Atom Films. Enjoy the original pilot in all its schadenfreudic glory.

Kristen Schaal

Kristen Schaal has the greatest life. She has been paid to stalk Flight of the Conchords, she was a dinosaur in Toy Story 3, she wrote a hilarious and sexy book about sex with her boyfriend (whom I’m guessing she has sexy sex with), and she regularly kills it on The Daily Show. The woman has been blessed. I am not jealous. …I have done stuff, too.

Schaal and frequent collaborator Kurt Braunohler created nine episodes of Penelope, Princess of Pets for Super Deluxe, a comedy website that has since found Jesus. Schaal plays the titular character, a teenage girl gifted with the ability to converse with animals. Along with her pet bird, Ruby, and her friend, Kyle the Orphan (Braunohler), Penelope embarks on a mission to save the world. Reggie Watts sings the theme song. I bet I could get Reggie Watts to sing my theme song, too. If I wanted. Again, not jealous.

Issa Rae

Now, here is one hell of a success story. Created by actress/writer Issa Rae, The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl and Friends has become an internet sensation based on the fact that it is simply good. The character of J, played by Rae (oh hey, rhyme!) is revolutionary in her ordinariness. J just wants to love, be loved and not be annoyed by her coworkers. The humor of this series springs from the painful absurdity of modern life. Critics have compared it to The Office, so that’s a compliment.

Of course, you can’t run a show on quality alone. As Awkward Black Girl grew in complexity, its budget conversely shrank. Rae and producer Tracy Oliver turned to the show’s fans for support. Through a now legendary Kickstarter campaign Rae and Oliver raised over $50,000 to complete the first season. The two are currently packaging the show into a half-hour comedy to sell to networks. And it all started with a handheld camera and a dream.

This is but a small sampling from the many talented women making funny out there in this cold, dark world. Share some of your favorites in the comments and spread the love around.

Amanda LaPergola tweets @LaPergs. She would appreciate it if you would help make her parody of the eharmony cat lady go viral.

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