“When I first got into this business I thought a punch line was organized drinking.”
“There is a big difference between a wit and a comic. A wit is someone who uses bigger words to get smaller laughs.”
In the history of American comedy, Phyllis Diller is
a unique trailblazer. Her style of humor debunked
the idealization of women as wives, mothers, and
homemakers. In doing so, it treated themes remarkably
similar to the perspectives of the burgeoning feminist
movement of the 1950s and 1960s. Similarly, she broke
the gender barrier that previously existed in stand-up
comedy, a field dominated by men.
Starting her career as a comic at the age of thirty-seven, Diller parlayed a zany, near-surrealistic guise into an entertainment icon. She established a comedy tradition that inspired a generation of female comics/satirists, including exemplars as diverse as Roseanne (Barr), Lily Tomlin, Joan Rivers, Whoopi Goldberg, Margaret Cho, and Ellen DeGeneres.
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