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TV writing rooms are still very male-dominated, especially on comedy shows, but there are incredibly talented female TV writers making their own shows or making their mark on long-running favorites. These women are funny, smart, and changing television for the better. Read on for 9 absolutely amazing female comedy writers working in TV.
Jenji Kohan – Jenji Kohan is best known for Orange is the New Black, but she has been writing great TV for a long time on Weeds, Will & Grace, Gilmore Girls, Tracey Takes On…, Sex and the City, Mad About You, and The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. Interestingly enough, one of her first jobs was on Friends, and she got fired after 13 episodes.
Tina Fey – Tina Fey started out as a writer on Saturday Night Live before getting in front of the camera on “Weekend Update,” and since leaving Saturday Night Live, her career has been a healthy mix of writing, acting, and producing. She wrote and starred in 30 Rock, and she made a cameo appearance in her hit Netflix series The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.
Amy Poehler – Amy Poehler is almost equally well-known for her acting as her writing for Upright Citizens Brigade and Parks and Recreation. She also enjoys freestyle rapping about exotic pets and Paula Deen.
Paula Pell – Paula Pell is recognizable as Ron Swanson’s mother, Tammy Swanson, on Parks and Recreation and Pete Hornberger’s wife Paula, but more viewers would recognize her writing from her many years writing at Saturday Night Live. She also wrote the comedy Sisters which stars fellow SNL alums Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, and Maya Rudolph.
Lena Dunham – People love her or hate her, but no one can deny the enormous success of Lena Dunham. She isn’t even out of her 20s yet, and she is a published author, a two-time Golden Globe winner, and won a Directors Guild Award for Outstanding Director in a Comedy Series, making her the first woman to ever do so.
Sarah Silverman – Like Dunham, Sarah Silverman is a divisive comedic figure because she has a tendency to go after sacred cows like religion, rape, and the Holocaust. Despite attracting controversy, she got her own self-titled Comedy Central show The Sarah Silverman Program, which led to the greatest song about pancakes ever.
Hallie Haglund – Hallie Haglund has written for The Daily Show with Jon Stewart since 2010, and in that time, she has won two Primetime Emmy Awards as well as a Writers Guild of America Award for her work on the series.
Nora Smith – Her name isn’t instantly recognizable, but she is credited with writing more than 40 episodes of Bob’s Burgers. The Bob’s Burgers writing staff actually has a lot of amazing female writers on it, including Lizzy Molyneux, Wendy Molyneux, and Holly Schlesinger, who also wrote for Home Movies.
Joan Rivers – She blazed trails for female comedians in stand-up and television with Husbands, Wives & Lovers, The Late Show, and The Joan Rivers Show. One of her last projects before her death in 2014 was In Bed with Joan, a series she had developed for the web with guests that include Sarah Silverman, Margaret Cho, and Jenna Marbles.