This work examines the dramatic changes in American women's comedy performance in the years 1955-1995. The study focuses on the stand-up of Phyllis Diller and Roseanne, and on the character comedy of Lily Tomlin. As the historical arc of women's comedy unfolds, it outlines a change from the traditional vaudevillian style of stand-up, as represented by Diller (50s-70s), to a more satiric comedy represented by Tomlin (60s-80s) and Roseanne (80s-90s).

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