Comedy is, unfortunately, still pretty dominated by men, who may or may not be funny. However, if you know where to look, there are plenty of people performing out there who defy the “t-shirt and jeans” dude you expect behind the microphone. Some of the funniest of those people are the black women who have carved a niche out for themselves in comedy clubs, bars and basements all over the country. Most of the women on this list tend to perform in New York where comedy is king, but we’ve included links to their clips online so if you like what you see here, make sure you look them up!
Michelle Buteau – A Black Female Comedian
The proud daughter of Caribbean parents, Michelle Buteau is a stand-up comedian based in New York who has performed at numerous comedy clubs all over the city, as well as on television at the Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson.
Michelle’s talents extend much further than stand-up, though, she also co-hosted VH1’s Big Morning Buzz with Nick Lachey from 2014 until its cancellation, and she’s played key roles on both The Eric Andre Show and Key & Peele. Michelle also recently debuted her comedy album “Shut Up!” which is available on iTunes and well worth checking out. If you want to know more about how funny and great Michelle is, follow her on Twitter.
Janelle James Is Another Funny Black Woman
If you like weed humor – and who doesn’t, really – Janelle James is your gal. Of course, that’s not remotely her only talent: she’s frank and fun and tells a story like you’ve known her your whole life; you’re pretty much guaranteed to be nodding your head along with her at some point because everything that comes out of her mouth is laughably relatable.
Janelle, who is a Caribbean transplant, started doing comedy in the Midwest before moving to New York, and now she tours all over the country with the likes of Hannibal Buress and Rob Delaney. If you want to see what Janelle is up to you can follow her Twitter here.
Marina Franklin Will Have You Laughing
Marina Franklin has performed her comedy all over the world at this point – at festivals like Bonnaroo, the Melbourne International Comedy Festival and Just For Laughs.
She started doing comedy in 1999, and has enjoyed plenty of success since, making appearances on the Chappelle Show, Jay Leno and Last Comic Standing. She also regularly performs stand-up in New York at the Comedy Cellar and Gotham Comedy Club, so if you’re ever in the city you’re likely to be able to check her out. If you can’t, though, you can also follow her Twitter!
Phoebe Robinson, A Female African American Comedian
Phoebe Robinson might be better known with her comedic other half Jessica Williams (not featured on this list, but also worth checking out for her regularly on-point social commentary on The Daily Show) and their monthly Brooklyn-based show – which is now a podcast – 2 Dope Queens, but Phoebe is an accomplished comedian in her own right.
In 2011 she was a finalist in NBC’s Stand Up For Diversity College Tour and has done sets at numerous comedy festivals around the country. Phoebe’s Twitter has the most up to date information about what she’s doing in New York, but you can also check out more clips on YouTube if you want to see her comedy in action!
Funny Woman Sasheer Zamata
You might know Sasheer from her work on Saturday Night Live – she was added to the cast in 2014 as a featured player and now enjoys a regular main spot on the show – but she’s been a regular fixture at the Upright Citizen’s Brigade theatre in New York for years now and does stand-up all over the city (and occasionally tours if you’re looking to catch her closer to home).
Sasheer was born and raised in Indiana, and her sets often cover race issues in an interesting and hilarious way without tiptoeing around the subject. She’s a refreshing and honest performer and if you want to know where you can see more of her, follow her on Twitter, or catch her on the current season of Saturday Night Live that airs every Saturday on NBC.
5 Black Female Comedians Who Will Entertain You With Jokes
If you want to see even more funny sisters, check our article on black female stand up comedians on Netflix. We even cover some of the brothers on there too.
Our list is obviously just a smattering of the great WOC talent in the comedy scene today, so feel free to let us know who your favorites are, or if you’ve fallen in love with any of the women featured here like we have!