From Carol Burnett and Jackie "Moms" Mabley to Tracey Ullman and Whoopi Goldberg, Hollywood has a long legacy of women who’ve dished out the LOLs. They’re still going strong today, making their voices heard and keeping audiences laughing on the stage and screen. With an endless list of ladies to laud, we’d love to include them all but have whittled the list down to ten stars currently making waves in the world of comedy.
1. Amy Poehler
Having studied improv in Chicago, it’s little wonder that Poehler has became one of Hollywood’s leading funny ladies. With an early start doing stints on Saturday Night Live, she’s since kept us entertained with her work in Parks and Recreation and as a host of the Golden Globes. More than an actress and comedian, Poehler founded an online initiative with producer Meredith Walker called Smart Girls, which serves as an empowering and informative tool for young girls.
2. Amy Schumer
Although the work of the second Amy on our list is less prolific, she has nevertheless left her comedic mark in Hollywood. Best known for her stand-up comedy, she has since found stardom writing, producing and starring in the Golden Globe-nominated comedy, Trainwreck. She’s also the star of her own successful comedy sketch show, Inside Amy Schumer.
Watch Amy Schumer in Trainwreck, your Sunday night movie on 4 September at 20:35 on M-Net and 21:00 on M-Net Movies Premiere.
3. Anna Faris
The queen of spoof first made us fall in love with her kooky quirkiness in Scary Movie. She has since appeared in three of the film’s four sequels, a variety of comedy features including The Hot Chick, My Super Ex-Girlfriend and The Dictator, and stars in the sitcom Mom alongside Allison Janney.
4. Betty White
She may be 94 years old, but she’s still keeping us in stitches in the 21st century with her work in Boston Legal, 30 Rock and Hot in Cleveland. Older fans will remember her hysterical performances in The Mary Tyler Moore Show and The Golden Girls. Before Amy Schumer and Ellen DeGeneres had shows named after them, White was doing the same not once, but four times: she appeared in three different shows called The Betty White Show and had a radio show with the same name.
Betty White will appear in an episode of Crowded. Watch the sitcom every Saturday at 18:00 on M-Net.
5. Ellen DeGeneres
Starting in stand-up and moving to sitcoms, DeGeneres has proved her comedic mettle time and again. She is now the host of her very own, highly successful talk show, has hosted the Academy Awards twice, took one of the world’s coolest selfies and helped created one of the most memorable animated characters when she voiced Dory in Finding Nemo. This year her much-loved character got her very own movie, Finding Dory, which has become the third highest-grossing Pixar film to date.
The Ellen Show Season 14 starts on Tuesday 13 September at 17:00 on M-Net.
6. Leslie Jones
Better known as a comedian, Jones has nevertheless made her presence felt on the silver screen – particularly this year as part of the spectre-annihilating gang in the Ghostbusters remake. Jones is not only one to tell the jokes, but write them too, because not only did she appear on SNL, she served as a writer for the show too. Next on her busy slate is lending her comedic and vocal talent to the animated musical Sing.
7. Melissa McCarthy
She was the funniest thing about Bridesmaids and received an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress as a result. However, like many of her cohorts on this list, her career started with stand-up and improv. Television gave McCarthy her big break with roles in Gilmore Girls and Samantha Who? leading to a part as one the title characters in the sitcom Mike and Molly. She has since gone from strength to strength writing, producing and headlining numerous comedies and becoming the second-highest-paid actress in Hollywood.
Watch Melissa McCarthy in Tammy on 2 September at 20:00 on M-Net Movies Showcase.
8. Mindy Kaling
Kaling’s claim to fame is the sitcom The Mindy Project. However, she’s not just the star of the show: she created the series and has penned many of its episodes – and that’s not where her work behind the scenes ends. In addition to starring in the American version of The Office, Kaling also served as a writer on the show and directed two episodes.
Watch Mindy Kaling in The 40-Year-Old Virgin on 17 September at 20:00 on M-Net Movies Smile.
9. Rebel Wilson
Australia has exported some amazing talent to Hollywood, but they don’t often turn up in comedic form. Wilson is one such exception, moving from her stand-up days Down Under to headlining comedy features in Hollywood. She also stole the show as Fat Amy in the Pitch Perfect movies and will soon be appearing in the highly-anticipated Absolutely Fabulous film. She’s also had a prolific career on stage, not only performing comedy but also writing, producing and starring in musicals. Wilson remains devoted to the stage, recently appearing as Ursula in The Little Mermaid at the Hollywood Bowl and as Adelaide in Guys and Dolls on the West End.
10. Tina Fey
Our list ends almost where it started, because Fey is half of one of Hollywood’s best womances – the other half being fellow funny girl Amy Poehler. The two have hosted the Golden Globes together three times and worked together on SNL. With these comedic hallmarks, Fey has undoubtedly left her stamp on Hollywood. The credits don’t end there: she also created and starred in the award-winning sitcom 30 Rock and is one of the creative forces behind Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. Television is not her only forte: on the big screen she starred alongside fellow SNL star Steve Carrell in the comedy hit Date Night, and wrote and appeared in the successful teen comedy Mean Girls.
Watch Tina Fey in Mean Girls on 23 September at 20:00 on M-Net Movies All Stars.