4 Comics Who Are Keeping it Real About Motherhood ( and 4 Who Are Proudly Not Procreating)
Having children is one of life’s greatest pleasures…or so I’m told. But what happens when you become a mother and life is not the mommy-blog perfection that we all expect it to be? Lucky for all of us, some comedians have given us all a glance into the unfiltered world of pregnancy and parenting. And, greatest pleasure or not, that shit seems terrifying). An important part of the conversation when it comes to motherhood is that it’s a choice, and probably shouldn’t be considered the default choice for women. That’s not to say that women who don’t breed don’t like children, they’ve just decided that it doesn’t fit into their lifestyle. Like that time that I got side bangs without realizing the amount of work I would have put in to styling them every day. And yes, I’m saying bang maintenance is exactly the same child rearing.
Regardless of whether or not you want to raise tiny humans, here are the voices of comedy who are keeping it real on all ends of the spectrum.
“I used to hate on other moms for the clothes that they wore, you know, all the cheesy-ass animal print and loud metallic shiny shoes, and now I see something that’s bedazzled in rhinestones and I’m like ‘oh that looks nice, I think I’m gonna get that,’ because when you’re a mom you need sparkle to compensate for the light inside of you that has died.”
There’s something so incredibly wonderful about watching a heavily pregnant, 5’3″ woman dancing around the stage with her middle finger high in the air. Ali Wong became a household name in 2015 when she released her stand-up special Baby Cobra on Netflix. At the time, she was seven months pregnant with her first child. Three years later, and equally pregnant Wong came back on stage for her new Netflix collar, Hard Knock Wife, to report back to us on childbirth and motherhood. She gave the audience and viewers a…graphic look into what she’s been up to since we last saw her. She spoke about childbirth, breastfeeding and how she sometimes wants to throw her kid in the garbage (fair enough). She also speaks on her choice to continue her career after having children, and how that’s a choice she was privileged to be able to make. To sum up, Ali Wong should write a parenting book ASAP. Even my childless-self would read that thing cover to cover.
“It is very humbling to think that you’re carrying life inside of you, you know? I don’t want to get too emotional but it’s even more overwhelming then when I realize that it’s gonna be five more months before I can do drugs again.”
Best known for her blasé delivery of shock-comedy, Leggero’s stand-up will have you thinking whether or not you should feel bad for laughing (you should, but it’s okay). When she walked out on stage for her set in The Honeymoon Stand Up Special (which she did with her husband, Moshe Kasher) heavily pregnant in a sequin minidress and white-fur coat and told the audience to hold their applause because she was “still in the abortion zone,” Leggerro proved that she had no intention in changing her comedic style due to her maternal-status (nor should she!). Though Leggero hasn’t released any new material since the birth of her daughter, she’s taken to Instagram to reassure fans that she’s still the same-old Natasha. Whether she’s posting a photo of her breastfeeding while adorned in gold or introducing her daughter to the world of Vogue, she’s making sure that her comedic voice is still known.
“My daughter’s six. Right now I just have to keep her hair out of her face and her hands out of her pants and I’ve nailed the day.”
Originally from Canada, this UK-based comedian released her Netflix special — In Trouble — in 2017. Ryan talked about her dating life, pop culture and life as a single mother. She’s also quick to gossip about the other moms that she has to interact with, which is relatable to anyone with or without a child. In her most recent set at Noel at the Apollo, Ryan tells her audience all about a mother at her daughter’s school named Jane. “Does anyone know Jane from the North London school run?…Jane said to me ‘Katherine, you must be so sad that you don’t have a husband at Christmas.’ This coming from the woman whose ham-coloured husband Brian is a man I’ve never seen out of a bicycle helmet.” Whether it’s dealing with the death of her child’s pet or bringing her kid along so that she can meet Prince Harry (true story), Katherine and her daughter are setting up to be the modern-day Gilmore Girls.
“I feel like [my wife] and I are doing a great job, I really do. But I also feel like it would be reasonable if somebody called child protective services a couple of times.”
A veteran on the stand-up comedy circuit, Tig Notaro has always included her personal life in her bone-dry comedy. In 2015 she released her documentary Tig on Netflix, which followed her ability to find humour in her breast cancer diagnosis and eventual double mastectomy. In her newest Netflix special, Happy to be Here, Notaro had much happier experiences to draw from. She spends most of the hour telling stories about her wife Stephanie and their baby twin boys Max and Finn. A lot of her material now stems from her kids, including her one son’s sudden outbursts. “A couple month’s ago, he just out of nowhere yelled ‘I’m gay’.. yeah, Max the whole family is gay, it’s not a big deal, except for Finn but even [our cat] is bi-curious.”
“If having babies really was the best job in the world, men would’ve figured out a way for them to do it.”
Michelle Wolf is most recently known for her set at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner which received mixed reviews to say the least. Now, she has her own show called The Break with Michelle Wolf on Netflix where she does a little bit of everything. In the premiere episode, Wolf sat with her friend and fellow comic Amber Ruffin to talk about their choice not to have kids. This isn’t a new topic for Wolf however, she touched on the concept of “making a human” in her HBO Special, Nice Lady. “It should be hard to make a human. It’s hard to make a croissant. It takes three days to make a croissant, you can make a human in that bathroom. You cannot make a croissant in that bathroom.”
“I love kids, but I also really love what I do. Which is anything I want, all of the time.”
Sarah Silverman is another stand-up comedy veteran to speak about the idea of motherhood. Silverman is known for never holding back, so it seemed perfectly normal for us to share her ideas on having children in a monologue for her show I Love You, America. Silverman also brought it up when she was on Chelsea with Gloria Steinem and Chelsea Handler, all who have chosen not to have kids. “Loving kids and having kids of your own are two very different things. The thought of having my own baby completely paralyzes me.”
“Sometimes in your 20s and 30s people will trick you into having kids. But it’s possible to remain childless and alone. You just have to want it.”
Chelsea Handler has always made her aversion to having children known in her material. In her show, Chelsea, she has a recurring PSA spoof called Kids: They’re Not That Great. She is seen having a cocktail in her bathrobe or binge watching TV, telling people that being childless is actually pretty great. She even got wrapped into hosting a kids Halloween party, and it’s absolutely hilarious.
“If you do something as big as having a kid…you gotta have an urge to be good at it and an urge to do it. And I’ve never had the urge to ruin my life.”
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In Jen’s first Netflix Special, I’m Going to Die Alone (and I Feel Fine), Kirkman speaks out about not having kids has never been an issue for her as much as the people around her. She even published a book in 2013 called I Can Barely Take Care of Myself: Tales From a Happy Life Without Kids. Needless to say, kids have never been on Kirkman’s radar, and the only problem she has with it is the fact that people have a problem with it.