Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



First Advisor

Bunkong Tuon

Second Advisor

Peter Heinegg




women, comedy, television, entertainment


This thesis discusses the evolutionary progression of women in comedy from the 1950s to the present day. By looking at the stand-out female comedians and entertainers from each generation, the change from Lucille Ball in I Love Lucy to Carol Burnett as host of The Carol Burnett Show, to Tina Fey and the multitalented new group of women in comedy. By examining the cultural and political climate of the time and how it influenced the unique style of comedy associated with each individual, a clear progression emerges. I would like to present my chapter on Tina Fey to highlight how far women on television have come since Lucille Ball’s time and the bright future for women in entertainment—as actors, writers, directors and influencers. In refuting Christopher Hitchens’ claim that “women aren’t funny” because of the child-bearing implication of their sex among other criticisms, I will argue that women have succeeded and continue to succeed in the world of comedy by tracking this progression.