11 Hilarious Ladies from Saturday Night Live ...


I don't think the ladies from Saturday Night Live get enough accolades, although lately they're doing better. The epic friendship between Tiny Fey and Amy Poehler, the chemistry between Maya Rudolph and Kristen Wiig, and recent call-outs for not including enough women of color – or women in general – are all creating a fantastic momentum, but that's not enough. There seems to be this belief that women aren't as funny as men – even John Belushi believed that women inherently weren't funny. You know who proves that wrong? Some of my favorite hilarious ladies from Saturday Night Live, that's who.

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Gilda Radner

Gilda Radner I will always have a soft spot in my heart for Gilda Radner, and not simply because we were very distantly related (third cousins, y'all – I was almost sort of related to Bill Murray!). She was an original cast member, and remains one of the funniest ladies from Saturday Night Live. She helped paved the way for women in comedy, especially on that stage. I don't care what anyone says, even decades later Candy Slice is still a riot. Besides that, Gilda took risks. She broke ribs, she got bawdy, she made fun of herself, she gave us Baba Wawa and Roseanne Roseannadanna, and she still deserves our love.


Jane Curtin

Jane Curtin Jane Curtin, also an original cast member, was not a fan of John Belushi's opinions either – and she proved him wrong. She also enjoyed putting Chevy Chase in his place, which still makes me laugh. Her turns on SNL, including her epic command of Weekend Update, were amazing. Though technically a straight-woman, her comedy was subtle, scathing, and simply divine. She was not afraid to call out the boys for misogynistic tendencies, and I truly believe that every woman currently in the business owes her for that – even if the biz still has a long way to go. She's still making us laugh (see The Heat), but I love her early days.


Tina Fey

Tina Fey Oh, you know there's no way to resist mentioning Tina Fey. She worked her ass off behind the scenes and she ruled as a writer, but I was so excited when she finally got her chance to shine on the show. Weekend Update went back to being brilliant with her at the helm, but she also rocked the hell out of so many sketches. Her comedy is just smart – even when she's playing Sarah Palin.


Amy Poehler

Amy Poehler You can't mention Tina without mentioning Amy, a breath of fresh air on the SNL stage. Those two behind the desk? Forget about it. They proved to women everywhere that being called a bitch is no bad thing at all. Her sketches can get deliciously vulgar as well, and through it all, that bright-eyed pixie face is practically daring you not to laugh. I loved her as Amber, I loved her as pregnant bar lady, and I loved her rap shtick, but do you know what still cracks me up? Amy as Madonna.


Maya Rudolph

Maya Rudolph There are far, far too few women of color on Saturday Night Live. When you see someone like Maya work, you have to wonder when Lorne is going to wise up. I love my Heather to death, but I would marry Maya Rudolph tomorrow – I have a thing for girls with freckles. And funny girls. Maya as Donatella Versace was everything in life, but if you didn't laugh when seeing her take on such epic greats as Barbra Streisand, Xtina, Queen Bey, Lisa Kudrow, and the FLOTUS, you have no funny bone.


Kristen Wiig

Kristen Wiig Maya is besties with Kristen Wiig, another catalyst in the war against male domination on SNL. She had a Molly Shannon (wait for it) kind of vibe, so many of her original characters tended to be … well, mouth-breathers, really. They were awkward and they made you feel kind of uncomfortable but that was the brilliance behind them. Also, she killed it as Katharine Hepburn, just killed it – and I feel so mean for saying that.


Molly Shannon

Molly Shannon Molly Shannon proved that physical comedy was not the sole domain of men on the show. She went at it Chris Farley style. Mary Katherine Gallagher is still one of the greatest characters to ever come out of SNL, although Superstar was kind of … well. It was an SNL movie, what can you say? No matter what impersonation or character she was doing, however, Molly gave hope to every awkward girl in the world, letting us know that it didn't matter if we stuck our hands in our armpits and smelled them when we got nervous. Not that I have ever done that, I mean...


Ana Gasteyer

Ana Gasteyer Molly was often at her best with Ana Gasteyer, especially during Delicious Dish. Dusty muffins or Schweddy Balls, anyone? However, I have always been partial to her Martha Stewart impersonation – it's a good thing. She was versatile enough to play the straight-woman or the crazy character, and I think she's entirely underrated. I have one question for you, though: do you prefer her Hilary Clinton, or Amy's?


Rachel Dratch

Rachel Dratch Rachel Dratch is funny for many, many reasons. She's weird, she is most definitely not afraid to work an ugly character (but she is not in any way ugly), and she's marvelously odd. She worked her way up, fighting Jennifer Aniston and making us all depressed with a literal interpretation of Debbie Downer, but do you know why I love her? The Boston Teens.


Ellen Cleghorne

Ellen Cleghorne Ellen is far, far too underrated. As both a woman and a woman of color, she broke boundaries on SNL and I don't think she gets nearly enough credit for it. The woman is regal beyond belief and smart as a whip with a sometimes sharp tongue – my favorite combination! Onstage, she was just everything. She naturally got a little pigeonholed into the impersonations and characters she was asked to do, but that doesn't make her turns as Whoopi Goldberg, Alfre Woodard, or the marvelous Marla Gibbs any less funny. She even took on greats like Patti LaBelle, the incomparable Alice Walker, Gladys Knight, and Jackee Harry (HILARIOUS). However, she also stepped outside the box. Did you ever see her as Dr. Dre? What about Woody Allen?


Sasheer Zamata

Sasheer Zamata Sasheer Zamata is a brand new cast member, a direct answer to accusations that SNL doesn't give equal respect to women of color. In some ways I don't think it's fair that she carries that on her shoulders, but at the same time, she is killing it. I think that if given a chance, she may come to rule SNL just like the powerfully funny women before her. I love seeing her portray Olivia Pope (she was better than Lena Dunham when the Girls star hosted, I think), but did you see her recently as Solange after that elevator mess? Perfection.

There have been so many hilarious, brilliant, and strong women on SNL. I'd end up writing eight pages if I named them all. So please, chime in with your favorite female SNL alumni, and let us know your favorite sketches!

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