Visibly pregnant women on stage are kind of having a moment. Stand up comic Ali Wong’s Netflix special, Baby Cobra, recently debuted to much deserved buzz, partly because she filmed it while she was seven-and-a-half months pregnant.
We see pregnant celebrities in the wild all the time, but it’s less common to see them actually performing while gestating. Joan Rivers, perhaps the mother of this phenomenon, did stand-up on The Ed Sullivan Show when she was seven or eight months pregnant with Melissa, back in 1967. She didn’t mention the pregnancy directly, and later said that plenty of critics thought she shouldn’t have been on television in her condition.
Almost 50 years later, the phenomenon still warrants comment because of how rare it is, even though for most professional performers, there’s no physical danger involved in working well into their pregnancies. Ever since I Love Lucy, pregnancies have been written into some television shows, but women still tend to drop out of the public eye at the end of their pregnancies, when they’re at their largest.
Not performing while pregnant is, obviously, totally fine. But anyone who’s ever dragged herself to the office in the third trimester can appreciate a singer or comedian who doesn’t let her bump get in the way of bringing down the house. Here are some of the most memorable pregnant performances from the past decade.