If you watch the various trailers for Melissa McCarthy's upcoming movie Tammy, you can see the actress trying to jump over a fast-food restaurant counter (and fail), ogle male strippers with her co-star Susan Sarandon and do a manic jig on the dance floor. The talented comedienne might have been able to do those same things in, say, a bromance comedy or a romcom, but here, she's front and center — the star of the movie, as opposed to someone who comes in for comic relief then goes back to the sidelines.
Tammy is just the latest in a long line of movies that put funny women up front — call them "female comedies," the sort of laughfests that let the ladies do the comic heavy lifting. In honor of McCarthy making the cover of Rolling Stone, we look back a brief history of the female comedy via 10 movies that helped define the genre and, more often than not, pushed it in to exciting new directions. By David Fear