Stand-Up Comedy and Gender

Rosie White, Ellie Tomsett

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


This chapter considers how gender as a social framework has shaped and informed stand-up comedy, with a particular focus on the UK. Gender identities entail certain cultural expectations, especially when these identities interact with race, class and sexuality. The chapter explores how gender impacts on all stand-up performers, addressing the unavoidable nature of gender stereotypes as well as historical and contemporary debates about feminism, femininity and the role of women within the comedy industry.
In addition to considering how gender is represented in stand-up material Tomsett and White examine how wider power structures influence the business of comedy; specifically problems faced by women stand-ups in terms of their access to comedy venues and their treatment by audiences. This chapter tracks the evolution of comedy’s relationship to gender from music hall to working men’s clubs through to the ‘alternative’ comedy boom of the 1980s and stand-up on television.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Cambridge Companion to Stand-Up Comedy
EditorsOliver Double
Place of PublicationCambridge
PublisherCambridge University Press
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 1 Nov 2023

Publication series

NameCambridge Companions
PublisherCambridge University Press

Cite this