The League of Extraordinary Comediennes

Well, we have reached the penultimate date for the month of March. And here is one last book for you to peruse, for you to dip into for inspiration when the mood strikes – this book is made for that. This book celebrates The League of Extraordinary Comediennes!

Women in comedy – that has been a notion scoffed at for a long time in our history, and this book celebrates the women who pave(d) literal-highways into the comedic world that was once a male-monopoly.

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Title: The League of Extraordinarily Funny Women: 50 Trailblazers of Comedy
Author: Sheila Moeschen
Illustrator: Anne Bentley
Published By: Perseus Books, Running Press Adult
Genre: Non-Fiction, Arts & Photography (Hardcover, 232 pages)
Pub Date: 16 Apr 2019


A celebration of the most groundbreaking women in comedy who used humor to shake up the status quo and change perceptions of gender and comedy forever.

Step aside, Seinfeld. It’s time for the brave, hilarious women of comedy to finally get the recognition they deserve. The people who say women aren’t funny are actually saying something else: that humor in the hands of women is radical and scary. Nevertheless, women have persisted for generations now, deploying their wit in game-changing ways. The League of Extraordinarily Funny Women is a beautifully illustrated book that showcases fifty women — past and present — who use humor to deliver cutting social commentary, tangle with sensitive subjects, challenge traditional ideas about femininity, and, above all, do anything but sit still and stay quiet when laughs are on the line.

The result is a sisterhood of empowering and often under-recognized figures who have gone on to become standups, writers, and actresses, including Mae West, Lucille Ball, Gilda Radner, Tina Fey, Amy Sedaris, Wanda Sykes, Ellen DeGeneres, Mindy Kaling, Jessica Williams, and many more.

My Thoughts:

‘The El Paso Herald was the first to break the happy news in 1916: “Women’s Sense of Humor is Steadily Developing” ran the chipper headline. What a relief!’ – From ‘The League...’ What is not to love about a book that begins this way – and this is just the Introduction.

Well, I have to admit a feeling of relief when I looked at the 50 women listed (let us not talk about the extra extraordinaries for now!) and actually knew(well, at least heard of) most of them.

But as I read the book, I realized I did not know much about them at all. To be honest, almost nothing. This book helped me dispel that ignorance, with its brief, concise yet informative biographies of these trailblazing comedians.

While it is about comedians, it is not a ROTFL type of book. Rather, it is one where the author deftly weaves her wonderful sense of humor into the struggles and successes of these women’s stories.

We get so much more than an insight into the hows,whys, wheres, whats and whens of their comedic lives; and of their impact on the world around them. That all this is done within two to three pages for each comedienne portrayed while keeping you engaged throughout and smiling every so often is testament to the brilliance of this book.

Image attribution: The featured book

The colorful and stunning portraits of the women by Anne Beatley are frame-worthy indeed, capturing the women, to say it in one word, perfectly; and the layout of the book is simply classy.

And the highlighted quote for each woman made me go WOW – these are Women Of Wisdom; Women Of (W)Humor! And by the end of the book:- WOWW – A World Of Wonderful Women!

Image attribution: The featured book

An Additional Thought:

This is kind of like a ‘kal, aaj, aur kal‘ story of women in comedy. And for those who are wondering just what I am rambling about, those are Hindi words meaning ‘yesterday, today and tomorrow’. (And yes, the words for yesterday and tomorrow are the same; it is context and the rest of the words around them that make the difference when we use them)!

In Summary:

I enjoyed Sheila Moeschen’s brand of humor that touched everything in this book; right from the very beginning introduction to the acknowledgements at the end. And loved her sharp writing that conveyed so much so concisely! Anne Beatley’s colorful illustrations are like the icing on the cake.

A great giftable for those who you know will love to read about these women, who love comedy, or for who love biographies. A great reference book to have in libraries. A book to read from end to end or to dip in and out of when you wish – both work well 🙂

So go ahead and pre-order the book for yourself or for that loved one you know will enjoy this read!

Goodreads || Amazon || Book Depository
Target|| Barnes and Noble 

Disclaimer: Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for providing me a copy of this book for an honest review.

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