I was among those with the prejudice against women as comedians, not because I didn't think it was possible but because what I had seen hadn't impressed me. And, really, there wasn't much to be seen at all. At least on television, the boys always made me laugh more. But this television season (and other recent ones) has introduced some great female comedic characters.
The Winning Ladies
Lena Dunham is chief among them, as she not only plays but writes the character of Hannah, the star of the successful HBO's Girls. She also writes the female role of Marnie, who has also been quite amusing. (I should also note that she created the hilarious male character of Adam Sackler, her onscreen boyfriend.)
Mindy Kaling is super funny on The Office and is getting her own show The Mindy Project this fall that looks very promising.
Laura Linney is stupendous in The Big C and guest star Susan Sarandon does a great job keeping up with the comedy element.
Amy Poehler has created a wonderfully hilarious character in Leslie Knope on Parks and Recreation and co-stars Aubrey Plaza and Retta are very entertaining as April and Donna.
Tina Fey has been funny for years and continues to be the comedic heart of her show 30 Rock.
TV new-comer and indie-comedy veteran Zooey Deschanel was often annoying but nevertheless cutesy-funny in the successful new comedy New Girl.
Winning sitcom Happy Endings draws some great laughs in large part due to its three leading ladies, Casey Wilson, Eliza Coupe, and Elisha Cuthbert.
And Community serves us the likes of female characters Shirley, Annie, and Britta -all very funny- even if the real strengths of that show come in the form of its male stars such as Abed, Chang, and the amazing dean.
On the dramatic front, a show like Mad Men succeeds in large part because of its ability to be funny, its humor arriving thanks to the often very funny performances of Christina Henricks as Joan and Elisabeth Moss as Peggy.
A fantasy-horror-drama like True Blood has also drawn audiences due to its strong comedic undertones, in the form of quips from star Anna Paquin and secondary characters as Pam. Even Anna Gunn as Skyler has brought some much needed comedic relief to AMC powerhouse drama Breaking Bad, where she plays the only prominent female character.
Gave us the amazing Laura Dern as the lead character in last season's premiere of Enlightened, a slow-to-start series that eventually grew into an intelligent, well-written, and wickedly funny must-watch show.
Also, has recently given us, in addition to Girls, the political satire Veep, which features Julia Louis-Dreyfus as a fictional vice president stumbling her way as the second-in-command. She's very funny as the show's lead and has a strong supporting cast, made up of mostly males but featuring the also very funny Anna Chlumsky as Amy, her right-hand.
I'm going to add one last show: NBC's new Up All Night, featuring a married couple played by Will Arnett and Christina Appelgate, with funny lady Maya Rudolph as Appelgate's boss and best-friend. It works because of the women.
Men still dominate television, but more and more we see female characters who are not only their sexy side-kicks or romantic interests, but well-rounded people with comedic talents. It's no wonder Edie Falco, who played the amazing Carmela Soprano (a strongly dramatic role that was also so, so amusing and fun), was then given her own comedy show.
HBO and Showtime and even networks have delivered the goods, but...
I challenge: FX to create some strong female characters. This channel has been making great television for a while now. But they are all great MALE comedies or dramas, from the amazing The Shield to Louis C.K.'s Louie. There's the sole female in It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, and she's wonderful; but no one else I can think of. The great Justified had a wonderful guest star in Margo Martindale, but we saw her die in season 2 and haven't seen much female strength since. The League is male-run with a not-very-funny female-wife. And Wilfred is essentially about two dudes, even if one is a dog.
I'm also going to ask that AMC wake up and give us some more female leads. Although we have Joan and Peggy, Don is the real star of Mad Men and is featured in every episode (and rightly so). Breaking Bad is a sausage-fest. The Walking Dead has only annoying female characters (well, they're all annoying), but its main focus is on its two male leads, one of whom was killed off in the finale. But I do thank you for the character of Sarah Linden on The Killing, even if the show itself isn't very good.
What we do need is some more non-White female comedy shows. There are too few. But for now, I'll be happy for having the likes of Amy Poehler, Laura Dern, Mindy Kaling, and Lena Dunham.