Though comic women have existed since the days of Baubo, the mythic figure of sexual humor, they have been neglected by scholars and critics. This pioneering volume tells the stories of five women who have created revolutionary forms of comic performance and discourse that defy prejudice. The artists include 16th-century performer Isabella Andreini, 17th-century improviser Caterina Biancolelli, 20th-century Italian playwright Franca Rame, and contemporary performance artists Deb Margolin and Kimberly Dark. All create humor that subverts patriarchal attitudes, conventional gender roles, and stereotypical images. The book ends with a practical guide for performers and teachers of theater.