Britt Julious
September 07, 2014 3:36 pm

With the recent passing of Joan Rivers, we were reminded that, not so long ago, women were considered outsiders in the comedy world. “Comedy was all white, older men,” Rivers wrote of her early days in stand-up.

While the industry still isn’t as diverse as it could be, more women than ever are arriving on the scene. Here’s a list of some of our favorite rising women in comedy who we believe are on the brink of a cultural breakthrough.

1. Cameron Esposito

This LA-based stand-up has made appearances everywhere from Conan to Adventure Time. A former regular on the now-defunct Chelsea Lately, Cameron uses her comedy to address topics ranging from her unique sartorial choices to her sexuality. If you’re in LA, check out her standup show “Put Your Hands Together” every Tuesday night at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater. If you’re not, catch her bi-weekly column on life as a stand-up on The A.V. Club.

2. Franchesca Ramsey

Ramsey first gained fame after her “Sh*t White Girls Say . . . To Black Girls” video (seen above) went viral, immediately gaining 1.5 million views in less than 24 hours and more than 5 million views in five days. Since then, Ramsey quit her day job to work as a comedian (making brief appearances on shows like the uber-hilarious Broad City) and vlogger full-time. New fans can join the more than 150,000 subscribers to her YouTube channel to stay up-to-date on her latest bits.

3. Carly Aquilino

If you haven’t checked out MTV’s Girl Code, you’re seriously missing out on some of the most hilarious, outrageous and relatable female comedians out there. One such standout is Carly Aquilino—the biting, feisty redhead with enviable makeup skills. But her cool style isn’t the only reason we love her, obviously. Carly’s sharp, sarcastic wit has made her a stand-out “talking head” on the show. She’s also nailing it as a correspondent for MTV’s red carpet events. Comedy is definitely her calling.

4. Jessica Williams

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Once Jessica stormed the scene in Comedy Central’s The Daily Show, there was no doubting her chops. Barely out of college when she started, Jessica has proven to be a much needed boost of black feminine energy on the show, covering everything from the alarming rape statistics to black women’s hair care. Besides her work for TDS, Jessica can also be seen in the sharp third season of Girls—another outlet for brilliant funny ladies.

5. Nicole Byer

Another superstar of Girl Code, Nicole is equal parts big sister and role model. Byer is also known for her bitingly humorous improv at UCB, her brilliant video work (with SNL’s Sasheer Zamata) in “The Pursuit of Sexiness” and for the killer Tumblr blog she updates regularly.

6. Jessimae Peluso

Jessimae is a brash, bold, blonde millennial whose comedy is reminiscent of classic Joan Rivers. She says the things we’ve always wanted to say about everything from beauty rituals to one-night-stands to best friend etiquette. She performs stand-up regularly and is another unofficial star of Girl Code.

7. Aparna Nancherla

Aparna’s comedy style is a little bit playful, a little bit weird and very enigmatic. This former writer and performer on the beloved, but now defunct, Totally Biased with W. Kamau Bell, quickly stood out for her quirky humor. Make sure you check out her Conan show debut, an appearance that elevated her from underground wonder to new cult star.

(Images via, via, via, via)

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