The Ladies of Laughter was first created as an annual tribute to New York comedian, Mary Jo Wobker. In the early nineties in New York City, Mary Jo helped dozens of women just starting out by booking them in monthly showcases throughout the northeast. For many women, this was the first paying work they received for performing comedy. After Mary Jo suddenly passed away, an annual award was named in her honor whereby comediennes would submit their videotapes for the chance to win cash, publicity, and a “leg up” in their comedy careers.

In 1998, the videotape competition went “live” at a local YWCA. The following year, major sponsors signed on and the competition expanded nationally. Since then, the Ladies of Laughter has visited major comedy clubs, Caesar’s Casino (among others), and even Madison Square Garden. It has become known as “THE CAREERBUILDER and SOURCE for funny women through its national competition and Tour. Past contestants and winners include Amy Schumer, Melissa Rauch (The Big Bang Theory), and countless national female headliners and newcomers to comedy. Since its inception, it has awarded thousands of dollars and generated countless career-changing opportunities for women in comedy.

In 2018, Carol Burnett accepted the first-ever Ladies of Laughter Spirit Award for inspiring so many of the contestants who entered the competition. The Ladies of Laughter Tour includes winners and the best talent to come out of its national competition. The March 20th show includes:

Jocelyn Chia is a New York based standup comedian originally from Singapore.  She is the 2016 Ladies of Laughter Newcomer Winner at Turning Stone Resort Casino. Having lived much of her life in Asia, she brings a unique perspective to her experiences in the United States, which she draws from to entertain audiences with hilarious anecdotes and humorous observations.

A lawyer-turned comedian, she is the winner of the Gotham Comedy Club’s Funniest Lawyer Competition, the first runner up of the She-Devil Comedy Festival, and has been a guest comedian on the Howard Stern Channel of Sirius XM. She is also a two time winner of the Moth Storyslams, and enjoys weaving storytelling into her stand-up.

In addition to being the 2016 Ladies of Laughter Professional winner at Turning Stone Resort Casino, Kelly has an extensive and well-rounded resume including comedy clubs, theaters, colleges and several television appearances.

Kelly is currently touring clubs and colleges across the country and has entertained our US troops overseas.  Kelly headlined the 2009 Boston Women in Comedy Festival, was first runner up in the 2009 Boston Comedy Festival and voted Best of the Fest 2010 Aspen Rooftop Comedy Festival. Kelly has also appeared on Stand Up in Stilettos on the TV Guide Channel and Comedy Central’s Premium Blend. Kelly is the host of the web series, Fit or Fad on Most recently, Kelly was part of the Top 100 Comedians of Last Comic Standing Season 9, appeared on AXS Gotham Comedy LIVE and won the professional category of the Ladies of Laughter 2016 competition

Kelly is also an accomplished improviser. She has performed with Fred Willard, Laura Hall and has been a resident cast member of the ImprovBoston National Touring Company since 2014. Kelly is currently writing a clever collection of short stories based on her stand up and her life. Kelly is also an experienced humor-wellness speaker. Sharing her life experiences in the unique way that only she can, audiences are pleasantly surprised by her candor.  Kelly has been a featured keynote speaker for the American Heart Association GO Red for Women campaign for the last 10 years.

She captivates the crowd with her charm, and her refreshing yet playful point of view makes her irresistible.

Smart, sexy, savvy, and funny, Leighann Lord’s “heads up humor” is stand-up comedy at it’s finest. Inspired by the brilliance of George Carlin, the smooth jazz style of Franklyn Ajaye, and the elegance of Rita Rudner, Leighann has crafted her own unique brand of Thinking Cap Comedy. It’s no wonder she received the NYC Black Comedy Award for “The Most Thought Provoking Black Female Comic.”  And for two consecutive years, Leighann was Harlem Week’s official comedian. (The only other comedian in Harlem Week’s history to earn that distinction was Richard Pryor.) Leighann has performed around the world. In London she appeared at The Comedy Store, and on the BBC show Blouse and Skirt (think Politically Incorrect meets BET). In The Netherlands, she was a guest on the popular late night talk show Raymann is Late! and The Comedy Factory.  A festival favorite, Leighann has been featured in the Trinidad, Montreal, Winnipeg, Halifax, Boston, Detroit and NYC Underground Comedy Festivals.  She also entertained U.S. troops stationed in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia during Operation Enduring Freedom, as well as troops helping the Haitian earthquake relief effort (Operation Unified Response)

General Admission

$22.50 in advance

$27.50 at the door

$16.50 Groups (12+)

$19.50 Pick 4+ Package

$5 Ball State Students

BOGO Ball State Faculty/Staff

On sale Friday, July 2, 2021 at 10 a.m. 

How to Purchase? Learn more. 


Pruis Hall


October 2, 2021


7:30 p.m. 


90 minutes


View Event Program

Ladies of Laughter

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