Name those Comediennes (and win a free book!)

Below is the cover of the new book Comediennes: Laugh Be a Lady by Darryl and Tuezdae Littleton (Applause Books). We are going to give one free copy of this book to the person who can name the most comediennes on the front  cover by commenting on this blog. DON’T FORGET TO INCLUDE YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS IN YOUR COMMENT SO WE CAN LET YOU KNOW IF YOU WON. All you have to do is name the people in order (left to right, then top to bottom). Don’t worry if you can’t name them all. You just have to name more than everyone else in order to win. The answers are in the back of the book, so we’re trusting that if you’re trying to win the book, you don’t already have it. We trust you guys. No cheating! We’ll pick a winner at the end of the week.

Can you name them all? – Illustration by Cliff Mott

Below is an excerpt from Comediennes to celebrate Whoopi Goldberg’s birthday.

Another comedienne pulling the Renaissance routine burst upon the scene in a one-woman show she created, entitled The Spook Show. Famed director Mike Nichols took it to Broadway, and the artist who could do so many funny characters ruled the town.

“I remember when she first did her one-woman show. She was crazy in that. It was way in the beginning when stand-up was different and she puts on this one-woman show doing all these characters. It was remarkable.”

—Sara Contreras

Caryn Elaine Johnson, later known as Whoopi Goldberg, was then cast as Celie in Alice Walker’s The Color Purple,  directed by Steven Spielberg, and in 1985, became a household name. From there Whoopi was making plenty. Besides film, Goldberg had her own NBC sitcom and a late-night talk show. She co-produced the popular game show The Hollywood Squares , wrote books, produced plays on Broadway, did voice-overs in classic cartoons (Lion King  and Toy Story), cofounded Comic Relief, was the first black female to host the Academy Awards, and co-hosted the morning gabfest The View. By the way, did I mention she won an Oscar (for Ghost ), making her the first African American stand-up comedienne to receive the award?

“I auditioned for a great movie. They were looking for an unknown actress. The movie was called Ghost. I went to the casting director, then to the director, the writer—they were absolutely amazed. The writer said this is who I saw when I was writing the script. This is it! We wanted an unknown and she’s perfect. They sent me paperwork to be in that movie. And then Whoopi Goldberg decided she wanted that part. It was taken away from me. I had been on a high from the moment I got to Los Angeles. My little bubble popped really hard. I was back to being a comic again.”

—Jedda Jones

More about Whoopi Goldberg and other influential comediennes of today and yesteryear in Comediennes: Laugh Be a Lady.


Here is a video of Whoopi Goldberg at the launch party for one of our books called Mr. Broadway earlier this year:



Hal Leonard Performing Arts Publishing Group, the trade book division of Hal Leonard Corporations, publishes books on the performing arts under the imprints Hal Leonard Books, Backbeat Books, Amadeus Press, and Applause Theatre and Cinema Books.

Posted on November 13, 2012, in Comedy, Film & TV and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. 1st row: Mae West,Roseanne Barr, Gracie Allen,Rosie O’Donnell; 2nd row: Tina Fey, Mary Tyler Moore, Audrey Meadows; 3rd row:Lily Tomlin, Margaret Cho, Carol Burnett, Moms Mabley 4th row: Phyllis Diller, Ellen DeGneres, Joan Rivers; 5th row: Lucille Ball, Whoopi Goldberg, Gilda Radner, Betty White, Sarah Silverman. My e-mail :

  2. Top row: Bea Arthur, unkwown, Joy Behar, Rosie O’Donnell, unknown
    2nd row: Tina Fey, unknown, Gilda Radner, Sandra Bernhard, Jane Curtain
    3rd row: Lily Thomlin, Margaret Cho, Carol Burnett, unknown, Mom’s Mabley
    4th row: unknown, Phyllis Dillard, Ellen DeGeneres, Joan Rivers, unknown
    5th row: Lucille Ball, Whoopi Goldberg, Lisa Lampanelli, Betty White, unknown


  3. Row#1 – Mae West, LIza Minelli, Gracie Allen, Rosie O’Donnell, ?
    Row#2 – Tina Fey, Wanda Page, Mary Tyler Moore, Rosanne Barr, Audrey Meadows
    Row#3 – Lilly Tomlin, Margaret Cho, Carol Burnett, Carol Channing, Moms Mabley
    Row#4 – ?, Phyllis Diller, Ellen DeGeneres, Joan Rivers, Julia Louis-Dreyfus
    Row#5 – Lucille Ball, Whoopi Goldberg, GIlda Radner, Betty Whiite, Sarah Silverman


  4. Congrats, Paula for getting 21 out of 25 comediennes! Watch for an email from us shortly.

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