Often considered the queen of comedy, Joan Rivers has been working in the business for almost 40 years and at the age of 79, she still will not let anyone bring her down. As one of the first female legends of comedy, she has influenced many other women in comedy and has set the stage for what it means to be a funny woman. However, do not let Joan’s role as an inspiring woman in a male dominated industry fool you.

Every woman in this room tonight: Think like a second wife. You grab and you take. You grab and you take. And when you die, whatever you got out of him you have buried on you. If the next bitch wants it, make her dig for it. –Joan Rivers*

She is responsible some of the most hilariously offensive and sexist comments. While her hilarious, sexist, and offensive comments do not bode well with all who hear them, Joan often makes a point about what is wrong with gender politics in today’s society. In doing so, she has actually served as a great and empowering female influence in the comedic industry. As Joan got older and continued to make fun of women, more women emerged in comedy and more women began to laugh. Using Joan’s history as a successful, female comedian and the views of other male and female comedians I plan to examine the gender politics of modern day comedy.


Please note this is a working thesis.



1 Comment so far

  1.    Claire Bowen on April 19, 2013 6:18 pm

    Miriam, I vote you start with the joke! Then hit us with your unexpected reading of the joke vis a vis Rivers’s gender politics. Voila. You’ve got a really catchy opening and an immediate frame for your rhetorical argument.

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