A Bestselling Author
In On the Joke is the story of women who knocked down the doors of stand-up comedy so other women could get a shot. It spans Moms Mabley's rise in Black vaudeville to the roadhouse ribaldry of Belle Barth and Rusty Warren in the 1950s and '60s to Elaine May's co-invention of improv comedy to Joan Rivers' and Phyllis Diller's ascent to mainstream stardom. These women persevered, making space not only for themselves but for the women who followed. Shawn Levy's group portrait shows how women broke into the boys' club, offered new ideas of womanhood, and had some laughs along the way.