National "She's Funny That Way" Day
annually on March 31st (since 2003)
On National "She's Funny That Way" Day, "individuals . . . pay tribute to the humorous nature of women, by listing the top five ways in which women in [their] lives make [them] laugh." The women who are honored and celebrated may be those that celebrants know on a personal level, including family members or friends, but they also may be nationally or internationally known women of comedy. National "She's Funny That Way" Day is usually used to celebrate female comedians, not just by listing the ways they make celebrants laugh, but by watching them do stand up, watching their films and television shows, and reading their books. The day was started by author Brenda Meridith, who had the first celebration coincide with the release of her novel She's Funny That Way in 2003.
Women didn't get their start in public comedy until the mid-eighteenth century, and even then, they weren't fully accepted and often had a hard time getting bookings. Women in comedy were made to fulfill certain roles at the time, such as housewives or mothers, and had to appeal to the comedic tastes of men. In the twentieth century, female comedians were better able to enter the field, but still often had to use certain approaches to do so. For example, Phyllis Diller used self-deprecation and Mae West used sex appeal. Feminist comedy is prevalent today, which has upended the antiquated structures of women in comedy. This comedy critiques patriarchal structures and brings up issues pertinent to females, such as gender inequality and beauty norms. Still, even though there is more freedom in comedy, women still face obstacles.
How to Observe National "She's Funny That Way" Day
If you stay true to the original intention of the day, it should be observed by listing the top five ways that women in your life make you laugh. Perhaps there is something that your wife, daughter, sister, mother, or friends do that sends you rolling on the floor with laughter. Let them and others know about it! If you spend the day talking to these women in your life, you are bound to laugh even more.
The day is often also used to celebrate female comedians and to enjoy their work. Some prominent female comedians and females who work in comedy—both past and present—include:
- Lucille Ball
- Gina Barreca
- Carol Burnett
- Phyllis Diller
- Tina Fey
- Leslie Jones
- Melissa McCarthy
- Moms Mabley
- Amy Poehler
- Gilda Radner
- Joan Rivers
- Maya Rudolph
- Lily Tomlin
- Betty White
- Kristen Wiig
You could watch one of the best female-led comedy films, or even watch the film She's Funny That Way. You could go to a stand-up comedy show or watch stand-up videos at home, or you could read a funny book from a female author. Finally, you could read She's Funny That Way, which was written by the creator of today's holiday.