Today is Kristin Wiig’s birthday.
The comedian, actress and writer (her screenplay for Bridesmaids was nominated for an Oscar) turns 40 today, and what better way to celebrate then by talking about her competition in comedy. Just kidding. There’s plenty of room for more women in comedy as we all know. The list below is a really talented group of women who will soon be household names–whether on the silver screen, television, the comedy club, or on the page.
McKinnon could really be the next Kristin Wiig since she’s also on Saturday Night Live and is known for her very odd characters that often become show stoppers. “You really go for it on air in a way that none of us have seen,” Seth Meyers told her when she appeared on Late Night. “It’s the rarest of things at SNL, which is that even at air, I think, the cast and the writing staff is like, ‘Oh we have to make sure we’re on the floor for this because Kate’s going to put her tongue places it hasn’t been.’”
And McKinnon is keeping quite busy when she isn’t at 30 Rock. In addition to co-starring in The Nest, a film with the other reigning queens of comedy, Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, she may be part of the most exciting thing ever: the Ghostbusters remake STARRING WOMEN. That’s right. Paul Feig, director of Bridesmaids, is rebooting the classic comedy with the ladies carrying the proton packs. We know Kate is definitely somebody we’re gonna call.
Pedrad just took a major career risk. She left her excellent gig at SNL (known for her hilarious impersonations of Arianna Huffington and Kim Kardashian) for a job on a Fox sitcom Mulaney with SNL writer and standup comedian John Mulaney. But knowing the talents of these two (as well as a cast that includes Martin Short and Elliot Gould) and executive producer Lorne Michaels, she probably made a pretty safe bet.
She told SplitSider, “Obviously there’s nothing like that show and I was lucky to be there for five years. At some point you have to leave, and I can’t think of a better reason to leave than for this particular show and this particular cast.” She does attribute SNL for giving her great skills. “What’s really cool about SNL is it really does prepare you for anything. Things are done so quickly there. You have one night to write the show. It’s live, so things can go wrong. Things can change last minute. To be able to pull that off prepares you for complicated situations. It makes you that much better.”
Another SNL alum (but only for one season), Slate is most known for her work on Girls, Parks and Recreation, and Marcel The Shell With Shoes On. And a very entertained group know her from her awesome film that came out this summer, Obvious Child, which she also co-wrote. The film actually centers on a very heavy topic, but still manages to keep you laughing the whole time. “The character is at once really gentle, and very bold and sweet, but [she] also can be rather bawdy at times,” Slate says. “I do a lot of comedy work, but have yet to do real vulnerable stuff.” Read the rest of her great NPR interview here on her work in the film, and overcoming stage fright to return to stand up.
Princeton grad Ellie Kemper didn’t join The Office until 2009, but she made a place once she got there. She also co-starred in Bridesmaids and 21 Jump Street, and had a memorable recurring role on pal Mindy Kaling’s show, The Mindy Project. Next she will star in Tina Fey’s new pilot The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, which is about a woman trying to normalize herself after being in a cult for 15 years. ”I adore 30 Rock,” she says. “I’m a huge fan of hers. She could not be a more welcoming, warmer person with fabulous hair.”
“My girlfriends are my best friends. I can tolerate guy time, listening to fantasy football or Call of Duty talk, but I hands down prefer being with the ladies—hanging out, questioning our parents’ skills, or dressing incognito to see Twilight or Spring Breakers. Yes, I’ve seen them all.” —Amy Schumer
Though she’s been working the stand-up circuit for years, Schumer is really having her moment right now. Her Comedy Central show, Inside Amy Schumer, is a hit, and frankly, it makes me laugh out loud. Schumer’s take on those crazy things women do is really brilliant in my opinion (her recent sketch on how women can’t take a compliment EVER is amazing). And her take on the ALS Ice Bucket challenge was particularly memorable.
If you’re a fan of 2 Broke Girls then youre already a fan of Murphy. She currently writes and produces the CBS sitcom, and before that, she wrote for Jimmy Kimmel Live!, Late Night with Jimmy Fallon (where she was part of the original writing staff), Crank Yankers, and consulted on Human Giant. Earlier this year she released her first standup special, Irish Goodbye. She told SplitSider, “I applied for an internship at Conan O’Brien at eighteen, and I got it. So I went out to New York for a summer to do the internship, and I ended up watching a lot of bar comedy. I’m still friends with a lot the people I met that summer. They were super nice and welcoming. I was just this nerdy kid hanging out, lingering, and watching.”
You may not know the name, but chances are you’ve heard her standup. Schlesinger is the youngest and ONLY female winner of Last Comic Standing. Her rants on women in groups’ eating habits (“I’ll have a bite of a bite”) and hobbies (Pinterest is truly porn) are hilarious and insightful (watch the video below). As for the gender gap in comedy, Shlesinger says, “It’s a glacially-paced movement for women in comedy. Very slowly, each girl does their part to open the door for another girl, whether it’s women in late night, women in movies, women being allowed to have funny parts in movies… I think we’re in the middle of a pretty cool movement in comedy where girls are getting to act like guys and are being treated on the same level.”
Photo: Jeff Bottari / Getty Images