28 Memorable Moments for Black Female Comedians

03/08/2017 03:07 pm ET Updated Mar 08, 2017

She makes you laugh. She makes you think. Amanda Seales is a comedy veteran with a Masters. As a Black History Month gift to the world, she premiered season two of her scripted web series, Get Your Life on Blavity. In episode two, Amanda revealed to Marcellus (James Bland ‘Giants’) that her ultimate goal is to become “the next black woman comedy icon.” In honor of Women’s History Month, here’s a list of 28 moments*1 by black, female-identified, comedic talents.

1962 – Jackie "Moms" Mabley first performed at Carnegie Hall.

1985 – Danitra Vance became Saturday Night Live’s a SNL repertory player

1994 – Nikki Crosby won the first Caribbean Comedy Festival in Trinidad and performed for over 17,000 people.

1999 – Wanda Sykes won a Primetime Emmy Award for her work on The Chris Rock Show.

2001 – The Queens of Comedy starring Laura Hayes, Adele Givens, Sommore, and Mo'Nique premiered on Showtime.

2002 – Cree Summer voiced Codename: Kids Next Door character Abby “Numbuh 5” Lincoln.

2002 – Nyima Funk performed in Second City’s E.T.C. revue Curious George Goes to War.

2003 – Award-winning Canadian sitcom Lord Have Mercy! premiered on VisionTV. It was co-created by Frances-AnneSolomon and featured Rachel “Pricey” Price as Desirée Gordon.

2006 – Jocelyn Jee Esien (writer/creator) premiered Little Miss Jocelyn a TV sketch comedy show.

2008 – Funke Akindele won an Africa Movie Academy Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role for Jenifa, a Nigerian comedy.

2009 – Glenda Jaxson won Best Female Comedian at the Black Tie Comedy Awards.

2011 – Andi Osho had her ‘I’ve made it’ moment when she coughed her way through her Live at The Apollo appearance.

2012 – Canadian comedian, Dana Alexander premiered her alternative comedy cabaret show Fierce and Fabulous during Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

2012 – Issa Rae uploaded the first installment of RATCHETPIECE Theatre to YouTube.

2013 – Ugandan comedian, Kansiime “Anne Kanslime” Anne won a Black Entertainment Film Fashion Television and Arts (BEFFTA) for Best Comedian.

2013 – Gloria Bigelow was featured in the pilot episode of Wanda Sykes’ Herlarious.

2013 – Legendary entertainer, Whoopi Goldberg’s documentary Whoopi Goldberg Presents Moms Mabley premiered on HBO.

2014 – Sasheer Zamata became a cast member on Saturday Night Live.

2014 – Gina Yashere released her comedy special Laughing to America.

2014 – Loni Love joined The Real, an all women of color daytime talk show as a co-host for its inaugural season.

2015 – Britney Williams worked as a Character Designer for Warner Bros. Animation’s DC Superhero Girls.

2015 – Michelle Buteau released her comedy album Shut Up.

2015 – Franchesca Ramsey joined The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore as a writer and contributor.

2015 – Tiffany Haddish played Nekeisha Williams-Carmichael (a series regular) in NBC’s The Carmichael Show.

2015 – Jessica Williams and Phoebe Robinson launched their comedy podcast, 2 Dope Queens.

2016 – Michaela Cole (writer/creator/actor) won a BAFTA for Best Female Comedy Performance for Chewing Gum.

2016 – Kenyan-American YouTuber, Evelyn Ngugi aka Evelyn From The Internets Lemonade reaction video was featured in Beyoncé’s Formation World Tour.

2017 – Amanda Seales streamed season 2 of Get Your Life, a scripted web series about her unscripted life on Blavity.

*1: This list is mostly in chronological order. No accomplishment is greater than the other. When one shines, we all shine. This list of twenty-eight moments represent the 28 days of February. Don’t get caught up; listicle rankings are arbitrary.

Created on St Maarten. Based in Chicago. Onicia writes, says funny things, and enjoys hanging with creative minds. You can read her weekly humor column, Just Being Funny in The Daily Herald's Weekender. She pays her bills as a creative project manager. Find her online at OniciaMuller.com or as @OniciaMuller.

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