Sad news today as Comedy Guys mourns the death of comedy great Phyllis Diller.
Born July 17, 1917, Diller made a name for herself as a female standup comic when there were no female standup comics, breaking new ground and paving the way for today’s female comics such as Roseanne Barr, Ellen Degeneres, and Whoopi Goldberg.
Because she began her career in the 50s and 60s when women were only seen as housewives, she created a stage persona for herself as a housewife — a wild-haired, eccentrically dressed, failure of a housewife who makes self-deprecating jokes about her age, her looks, her terrible cooking, and a fictional husband called “Fang.”
In recent years she is better known to TV audiences for appearances such as Mimi Bobek’s grandmother on THE DREW CAREY SHOW and for providing voices to cartoon characters such as Arnold’s great-aunt Mitzi on HEY, ARNOLD! and Peter Griffin’s mother on FAMILY GUY.
In the two clips below you can see two aspects of Phyllis Diller. The first is from an interview with the Archive of American Television where she discusses her career. In the second clip, we see Phyllis Diller doing what she does best: making people laugh with her outrageous humor, delivered machine-gun style at a 1977 audience.