Gilda Radner

13 Funny Women Who Would Have Been Better Golden Globes Hosts Than Jo Koy

8 min read

With so many incredible movies and limited series directed and led by women in 2023, we expected more from Golden Globes host Jo Koy. In light of this flop (which you can watch highlights of below), we have rounded up thirteen female comedians who would have been better hosts than Jo Koy. We also briefly touch on the history of exclusion funny women faced in the 20th century and how the stand-up gender gap continues to negatively affect even the funniest female comedians of our time. From Michelle Buteau to Margaret Cho, here are our picks!

Funny to a Fault: Why Were Women Locked Out of Comedy?

Absolutely captivating funny woman Sophie Tucker sits at her desk, writing jokes for her live comedy show.

The issue of female comedians being ignored or passed up for opportunities in the past, and to an extent, still in the present, is multi-faceted and rooted in broad societal and industry-specific gender biases. Still, some women broke through these barriers. As Mariana Brandman notes in this article for the National Women’s History Museum, “Famed comic Lenny Bruce, who was known for his battles with the authorities over the ‘obscene’ nature of his stand-up, opened for [trailblazing female comedian Belle] Barth early in his career.” Sophie Tucker (pictured above) was equally influential, but these women were exceptions to the rule. Let’s take a closer look at why women were locked out of the male dominated world of comedy in the 20th century. Many of these challenges continue to affect women today.

Historical Gender Biases

Traditionally, the field of comedy, like many other entertainment sectors, was male-dominated. Female comedians often faced stereotypical perceptions about women not being funny or their humor not appealing to a broader audience. These biases limited their visibility and opportunities in mainstream comedy spaces.

Intersectional Biases

Photo of Jackie “Moms” Mabley in her stage persona from a guest appearance on the Smothers Brothers television program.

The exclusion of women who are minorities, such as Black women, lesbians, and others from the comedy world, is compounded by layers of intersectional biases. This exclusion stems not only from gender but also from racial, sexual orientation, and other identity-based prejudices. These factors have historically created additional barriers for minority women in comedy.

Black women and other women of color in comedy have historically faced racial discrimination. This discrimination manifests in limited access to mainstream platforms, stereotyping in roles, and a lack of support from industry gatekeepers. Their humor and stories, often rooted in their cultural and racial experiences, were sometimes deemed less relatable or marketable to a broader (often white) audience.

Lesbian and queer women in comedy have faced additional challenges due to homophobia and the lack of representation of LGBTQ+ voices in mainstream media. This has often meant that their work is marginalized or not given the same platforms and opportunities as their heterosexual counterparts.

Typecasting and Limited Roles

Women in comedy were often typecast into specific roles or expected to conform to certain comedic styles, usually those that fit traditional gender norms. This limited their creative freedom and the variety of opportunities available to them.

Access to High-Profile Platforms

Historically, women had less access to high-profile platforms such as popular comedy clubs, television shows, and late-night talk shows. These platforms are crucial for gaining wider recognition and advancing in the comedy industry.

Networking and Mentorship

The comedy industry, like many others, relies heavily on networking and mentorship. Given its male-dominated nature, women often had fewer mentors and industry connections to help them advance their careers.

Balancing Personal and Professional Life

Women, more often than men, have had to balance their professional aspirations in comedy with personal and family responsibilities. This challenge can impact the continuity and advancement of their careers.

Audience Reception and Criticism

Female comedians have historically faced harsher criticism and scrutiny about their appearance, style, and content of their material, which can affect their opportunities and how they are perceived by the audience and industry.

The Gender Gap: Why Are There Not More Women in Stand-Up?

While there has been significant progress, with more female comedians gaining recognition and success, the gender gap in stand-up comedy still exists. Women are increasingly visible on various platforms, and their contributions are more widely acknowledged, but challenges remain.

Representation is still skewed in favor of male comedians, especially in certain genres and platforms. Pay gaps and discrepancies in booking rates between male and female comedians are reported in some areas of the industry. Women in comedy continue to navigate biases and stereotypes, although the situation is improving.

Overall, the landscape is changing for the better, with more awareness and efforts to promote gender equality in stand-up comedy. Female comedians today are breaking barriers and challenging norms, contributing to a more diverse and inclusive comedy scene. With that said, let’s celebrate thirteen fantastic female comedians who would have done a fabulous job hosting the Golden Globes this year.

13 Female Comedians Who Could Have Hosted the Golden Globes

Before his gig at the Golden Globes, Jo Koy was well-known for his vibrant, energetic performance style and his ability to effortlessly blend humor with heartfelt storytelling. As a Filipino-American, Koy frequently touches on themes of cultural identity and racial experiences. He discusses the nuances of growing up in a mixed-race family and the cultural clashes and blends that come with it. His humor often serves as a bridge between different cultures, making his content relatable to a diverse audience.

Unlike some comedians who may lean towards cynicism or darker humor, Koy’s comedy is generally positive and uplifting. Koy frequently engages with the audience during his shows, adding an element of spontaneity and personal connection to his performances, which is probably one of the reasons why he was chosen as this year’s Golden Globes host. Below are thirteen female stand-up comedians with a similar delivery style but unique perspectives that would have made them excellent hosts.

Ali Wong

Ali Wong is known for her candid, edgy comedy style, often discussing themes of marriage, motherhood, and sexuality. Her Netflix specials “Baby Cobra” and “Hard Knock Wife” received acclaim, particularly for her bold approach to topics often considered taboo.

Wong’s background as a first-generation Asian American informs much of her material. While she hasn’t hosted major award shows like the Oscars or Golden Globes, her quick wit and incisive humor could bring a refreshing and lively dynamic to such events.

Notably, Ali Wong made history this year by becoming the first actress of Asian descent to win a Golden Globe for Best Actress in the limited series category for Beef. Watch her acceptance speech above.

Tiffany Haddish

Tiffany Haddish rose to fame with her breakout role in “Girls Trip” and her stand-up special “She Ready! From the Hood to Hollywood.” Known for her vibrant, infectious energy and her ability to tell compelling, humorous stories about her challenging upbringing, the American comedian has hosted the MTV Movie & TV Awards, showcasing her ability to engage a diverse audience with charisma and humor.

Margaret Cho

A pioneer in many ways, Margaret Cho’s comedy often tackles social and political issues, particularly concerning race and sexuality. Her specials like “I’m the One That I Want” and “PsyCHO” are critically acclaimed. Cho’s experience includes participation in various hosting gigs, and her sharp, provocative style could bring a bold edge to hosting the Golden Globes.

Anjelah Johnson

Known for her time on “MADtv” and her viral character “Bon Qui Qui,” Johnson’s comedy often revolves around her multicultural upbringing and experiences as a Latina. Her stand-up special “Not Fancy” was well-received. Johnson’s relatable humor and laid-back style would add a uniquely personable touch to any hosting role.

Michelle Buteau

Michelle Buteau’s stand-up, including her Netflix special “Welcome to Buteaupia,” is marked by her charismatic and conversational style, often discussing her life experiences, including her Caribbean background and interracial marriage. Buteau’s warmth and inclusivity could make her a welcoming and engaging Golden Globes host.

Mindy Kaling

While primarily known for her work in television, Mindy Kaling’s humor is characterized by its wit and observational qualities. She has a knack for discussing everyday situations in a humorous and insightful manner. Kaling’s extensive experience in TV and film as a director, writer, and actress, plus her relatable humor make her a suitable candidate for hosting.

Cristela Alonzo

Alonzo’s comedy often explores her life as a Latina and her working-class background, as seen in her special “Lower Classy.” Her storytelling style is both humorous and heartfelt. Alonzo’s ability to connect with audiences on various levels would be an asset in a hosting role.

Maysoon Zayid

As a comedian with cerebral palsy, Zayid’s stand-up often focuses on her experiences with disability, her Palestinian-American background, and breaking stereotypes. Her TED talk was highly popular. Zayid’s unique perspective and candid style could bring a new dimension to hosting a major awards show.

Iliza Shlesinger

Known for her high-energy style and social commentary, Shlesinger’s specials like “Elder Millennial” and “Freezing Hot” have been hits on Netflix. Her sharp wit and dynamic stage presence could make her a compelling host for the Golden Globes.

Lilly Singh

Initially famous as a YouTuber, Singh’s comedy often touches on her Indian heritage, cultural identity, and gender norms. Hosting her late-night show “A Little Late with Lilly Singh,” she’s shown she can handle a variety of entertainment formats, suggesting potential for a great awards show host.

Chelsea Peretti

Best known for her role in “Brooklyn Nine-Nine,” her podcast, and her stand-up act “One of the Greats,” Peretti’s humor is quirky and offbeat. Her style includes absurdities and observational humor. Peretti’s one liners are particularly hilarious, which is what gave us the idea to cast her as a Golden Globes host. Chelsea Peretti’s unique comedic voice could offer an unconventional and entertaining approach to hosting.

Chelsea Handler

Chelsea Handler is not one of the comedians like Jo Koy on this list, but we had to add her!

Known for her candid and often provocative humor, Handler has a unique style that combines sharp wit with unapologetic commentary on a wide range of topics, including politics, sex, and everyday life. She gained widespread fame as the host of “Chelsea Lately,” a late-night talk show that ran on E! from 2007 to 2014, where her bold and straightforward interviewing style set her apart.

Handler’s comedy specials, like “Uganda Be Kidding Me” and “Chelsea Does,” further showcase her ability to blend humor with insightful observations on various subjects. Her experience in hosting talk shows could translate well to the dynamic environment of the Golden Globes. Now for a twist: Jo Koy was her long-term boyfriend.

Kate McKinnon

A standout cast member on “Saturday Night Live,” McKinnon is known for her impeccable impressions and physical comedy. While her stand-up background isn’t as prominent as others, her versatility and charm could make her an engaging and humorous host for the Golden Globes. Notably, Kate McKinnon played “Weird Barbie” in last year’s Barbie.

Who Would You Choose to Host the Golden Globes in 2024?

If you want to give Jo Koy’s monologue a listen, watch it above. Is there a stand-up comedian on your list? Let us know in the comments below!