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Comedy is an incredibly difficult industry to break into, build on and thrive in. But when you add on being Black and a woman, the odds are even more stacked against you.

In 2013, Saturday Night Live star, Kenan Thompson attributed the lack of Black female comediennes on SNL not to an issue with diversity, but instead blamed it on them not being “ready.”

Unfortunately, he’s not the only person who thinks that Black women don’t have what it takes to excel in comedy. And while the industry may be embracing White women like Tina Fey, Amy Poehler and Kristin Wiig, it tends to drag its feet when it comes to Black women. Black comediennes like Maya Rudolph, unfortunately, tend to be the exception more than the rule.

But just because people don’t think Black women are “ready,” it doesn’t mean there aren’t tons of us doing hysterical, creative work. And while SNL recently tried to make moves by hiring Sasheer Zamata and Leslie Jones, it’s still only two of many Black female talents who deserve a check from the NBC comedy giant.

MUST READ: Leslie Jones’ No. 1 Slave Draft Pick Joke On ‘SNL’ May Have Offended Black People But I Thought It Was Funny

The fact is, there are plenty of Black women within the comedy space, and, like we are so often forced to do, they are taking matters into their own hands and making things happen.

#TeamBeautiful got the chance to chat with 10 of these talented comediennes who have all had stories of triumph and trials as they try to “make it” in comedy.

Here are their stories:

Follow These Funny Ladies:

Stephanie McRae:

Watch Stephanie’s comedy on YouTube.

Nichelle Stephens:

Follow Nichelle on Twitter @niche, where she’s sure to be live tweeting your favorite shows and follow her other blog @CupcakeBlog Also, check out Chicks & Giggles!

Hadiyah Robinson:

She’s going on the road with the fabulously funny Erica Watson this summer across the U.S. hitting clubs, bars and baby showers. Please follow them on @ThatRoadLife on Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

Maryssa Smith:

Check out Maryssa’s two monthly shows Fashionably Funny at Broadway Comedy Club and Merriment and Mortification at Otto’s Shrunken Head.

Phoebe Robinson:

Catch Phoebe on “Late Night With Seth Meyers” and follow her on Twitter @PRobinsonComedy.

Yamaneika Saunders:

Watch Yamaneika on Oxygen’s new show, Funny Girls, premiering April 7th. Also, follow her on Twitter @Yamaneika!

Chloe Hilliard:

Follow Chloe on Instagram & Twitter @Chloe_Hilliard and go see her headline live at Caroline’s on April 28th!

Akilah Hughes:

Check out Akilah on YouTube & follow her on social media!

Loni Love:

Catch her on The Real or on her stand up comedy tour!

Del Harrison:

Follow Del on Twitter and catch her on a new TV show that she can’t tell us about quite yet!


Kenan Thompson Defends SNL Casting: Black Female Comics Aren’t ‘Ready’
Dear Kenan Thompson, Black Comediennes Say They ARE Ready For ‘SNL’ [VIDEO]
‘SNL’ Makes A Joke About The Lack Of Black Women Everywhere & We’re Like…That Wasn’t Funny [VIDEO]


What It’s Like To Be A Black Comedienne: 10 Hilarious Women Share Their Trials & Triumphs  was originally published on