Top 10 Lead Comedic Female TV Characters

Script written by Derick McDuff When these ladies are on screen, hilarity ensues. Join MsMojo as we count down our picks for the Top 10 Lead Comedic Female TV Characters. For this list, we’re taking a look at the funniest women who have starred in a comedy. We will only be considering leading roles in live-action television; so supporting characters and animated characters are excluded.

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When these ladies are on screen, hilarity ensues. Welcome to MsMojo, and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the top 10 Lead Comedic Female TVCharacters.

For this list, we’re taking a look at the funniest women who have starred in a comedy. We will only be considering leading roles in live-action television; so supporting characters and animated characters are excluded.

#10: Kimmy Schmidt
“Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” (2015-)

Though a cult leader held her captive underground for 15 years, Kimmy has never lost her positive attitude. The series begins with Kimmy and three other women being set free and discovering that, despite what they’ve been told, the world has not ended. Unlike the other women who take the easy way out, the ever-optimistic and cheerful Kimmy moves to New York City to make it on her own. However, Kimmy’s isolation has left her naïve, and a bit behind the times– to say the least. She’s always been a bit of a dork, but that’s all part of her charm.

#9: Roseanne Conner
“Roseanne” (1988-97)

Centered on a blue-collar family, Roseanne brought a working class main character to comedy in the late 80s and 90s. Overturning conventions of having thin, beautiful leading ladies, Roseanne is a strong female figure: overweight, not conventionally attractive, and the clear leader of her family. The show shied away from obvious crude humor and fat jokes, instead drawing upon Roseanne’s natural and relatable humor about family. Roseanne was an altogether different kind of TV mother, and an absolute comedic force to be reckoned in this sitcom.

#8: Leslie Knope

“Parks and Recreation” (2009-15)

Smart, ambitious, and just a bit crazy, Leslie may only be a midrange bureaucrat when we first see her, but she has lofty goals, hoping to one day become the first female president of the United States. From an early age, Leslie knew she wanted to enter politics, making life better for the common man, even if the common person can’t appreciate her. Bold and bullheaded, Leslie’s stubbornness can get her into trouble, and she often clashes with her boss Ron Swanson over opposing ideals. However, her devotion to her ideals and courage make Leslie both an amazing leader and a rare friend.

#7: Mindy Lahiri

“The Mindy Project” (2012-)

This quirky and headstrong OB/GYN is incredibly driven, which has helped her become a massive professional success. Despite her initial quest to find a real-life romantic comedy kind of love, her determined personality has helped her push through a number of failed relationships, proving her strength and sense of humor along the way. The character has been hailed as a feminist by presenting an intelligent and funny career-driven woman that refuses to let romantic missteps dominate her life. Mindy has also drawn praise for being one of the first-ever leading characters to be a female minority in a TV landscape dominated by white males.

#6: Murphy Brown

“Murphy Brown” (1988-98)

This single 40-something newscaster has a quick and often sarcastic wit, along with a sharp tongue. The fake news program that Murphy works for often commented on real news stories at the time, allowing for the character to deliver intelligent and hilarious social commentary. Murphy also became an icon by her positive portrayal of being a single mother, sparking controversy and ridicule, including much from then Vice President, Dan Quayle. The dispute was written into the show, which of course had Murphy fight back against Quayle and his defense of so-called “family values,” with some brilliant political satire.

#5: Selina Meyer
“Veep” (2012-)

Selina Meyer finds herself feeling unimportant and overlooked after her own failed presidential run, settling for the vice presidency. Unlike anyone who’s ever held her position, however, Meyer is also a single mother, and initially lacks the respect of both the President and Congress. Slowly and surely, and with a large amount of effort, Meyer gains the admiration and reverence of her peers with her never-back-down attitude, even setting her eyes on the presidency once again. The role won “Seinfeld” alum Julia Louis-Dreyfus critical acclaim, not to mention four consecutive Emmys for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series.

#4: Carrie Bradshaw
“Sex and the City” (1998-2004)

A fiercely independent writer, serving as the show’s narrator, Carrie has become a cultural icon. Her fictional column, also called “Sex and the City,” touches on fashion, dating, life in New York, and you guessed it, sex. As the show progresses, Carrie’s writing earns her more and more acclaim, with a book and a movie starring Matthew McConaughey based on her column. Carrie’s popularity endured long after the end of the series, as she also became the star of two theatrical films, as well as a prequel, “The Carrie Diaries,” chronicling Carrie’s roots before coming to New York as a fashion-loving high schooler.

#3: Mary Richards
“The Mary Tyler Moore Show” (1970-77)

This groundbreaking character holds the important distinction of being the first-ever single lead female TV character. Strong and career oriented, the show begins with Mary moving to Minneapolis after breaking up with her fiancé and taking a job at a poorly rated TV station. The next few years show Mary climb the corporate ladder, bucking gender stereotypes at every turn. Mary’s character, as well as the show itself, has been hailed as revolutionary, breaking taboos, and dealing with important issues, including equal pay for women, homosexuality, and infidelity, all while managing to be hilarious.

#2: Lucy Ricardo
“I Love Lucy” (1951-57)

One of the first and by far most successful sitcoms with a female star at its core, “I Love Lucy” reruns are still syndicated worldwide over 60 years later. A mother and loving wife to Ricky, Lucy’s life was full of excitement, including duties as a co-president for her women’s club and a variety of jobs, like chocolate factory worker and TV commercial spokesperson. What really set Lucy apart for the era of perfect housewives was not her good qualities, which there were many, but her flaws. Overall, her character was one of the most fleshed-out and passionate characters for years to come.

Before we reveal our top pick here are a few honorable mentions:

Jane Villanueva
“Jane the Virgin” (2014-)

Jessica Day
“New Girl” (2011-)

Ellen Morgan
“Ellen” (1994-98)

Geraldine Granger
“The Vicar of Dibley” (1994-2015)

Betty Suarez
“Ugly Betty” (2006-10)

#1: Liz Lemon
“30 Rock” (2006-13)

Portrayed and created by Tina Fey, Liz Lemon was partially based on her time as a writer for “Saturday Night Live.” Described by Fey as a “sexually frightened know-it-all,” Liz is nerdy, brimming with insecurity, and unsure of what she wants in life. Despite being a talented writer, she often has to reign in the psychotic personalities of her show’s stars, Tracy and Jenna, while going through a series of failed relationships, and only with her arrogant boss/mentor Jack to help her. Liz perfectly sums up what it’s like to balance a consuming job and a personal life, often with varying success. All we know is that we love watching her try.

Do you agree with our list? Who’s your favorite female lead in a comedy series? For more groundbreaking top 10s published everyday, be sure to subscribe toMsMojo.

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