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  • Nicole Sherwin

Women Aren't Funny

Updated: Oct 1, 2020

According to some old, white men.

Source: GIPHY

This is a segment from the Large Almond Latte podcast episode 'Women Aren't Funny.'

I really wish I was funny. People laughing at your jokes is the ultimate form of validation, which you know is what I crave most in life. Unfortunately, as my boyfriend will tell you any chance he gets, I am not funny. Which, unlike when I’m paid any form of compliment, I find this so easy to accept. Because I have grown up believing women aren’t funny. If you’re fuming right now, bear with me, I’m obviously going to have an epiphany soon.

I remember being about 23, sitting in a bar with a friend of a friend who was a strong- brand feminist. This was before this 4th wave of feminism hit, when it was still kind of a dirty word, even amongst women. I said to her, with absolute conviction, ‘women aren’t funny.’ I remember racking my brain trying to think of funny women and I could only produce Tina Fey, Amy Poehler and obvi Kath and Kim. I genuinely believed I could only name a few because there just were no funny women. I was such a moll, so cocky and confident in my argument because I had numbers. The boys at the table were on my side, and more broadly, it was the popular societal opinion. With the majority on side, I was obviously right. She promptly left. I assumed after her vegan pizza, she popped on her ironically expensive hipster bike and pedalled her dreadlocks home. This is one of those memories that wakes me up in a cold sweat at 3am, overwhelmed with embarrassment. Because really, she was enlightened, while I was covered in layers of internalised misogyny.

Source: GIPHY

Women aren’t funny’ really was a culturally accepted norm until only 5-10 years ago really, and a quick Google search shows why this is. The interwebs are DRIPPING with articles by mainstream media that I cannot believe were written after 1950, let alone published by anyone other than an anti-feminist men’s club. I sent some to Jess, the other LAL co-founder, and she legit thought I had sent her satire. They’re from The New Yorker and BBC. My favourite, most informative/condescending, ignorant and offensive wash published in Vanity `Fair. A fat, old, white guy (surprise!) called Christopher mansplained the reason why, “bless their hearts”, women aren’t funny and they are deep.

Source: GIPHY

Humour is apparently the only thing men have going for them, so they need it more than women. I don’t disagree that it’s high on the list, I mean we’ve all seen a dick pick we never asked for and I’m confident that nobody has ever received an inconspicuous dick pick and decided that was the man they wanted to marry. Women, on the other hand, have boobs, so 'we don’t need humour'. We just have to laugh and look pretty to impress a man which apparently aids our primary life goal - getting pregnant. Which Christopher believes is another reason why women not funny. “The question of being funny for a woman is a secondary one because we are innately aware of a higher calling.” You can’t make this shit up!

It’s not just old white guys sharing their opinions, there’s also ‘scientific research.’ In this age of Pete Evans and the anti-vac gang, I really want to throw my full support behind science, but this one study was conducted by Aberystwyth University, which COME ON, definitely sounds like a place I could get a Bachelor of Medicine certificate if I just pay $500. They found that 63% of men were supposedly funnier than woman and on average, men have higher humour producing abilities. And like Christopher, the lead researcher Dr Grengross attributed this result to evolution. As Christopher explained to us, women love a funny man. It’s obviously the defining characteristic of a good date. Sure, he stunk and ate with his mouth open, but he was soooo funny, so I definitely want him to have my babies. But, Dr Grengross further mansplains, we’re attracted to humour because wit is linked to intelligence, which is true, I agree but then goes on to say it’s an instinct of women that dates back to hunter-gatherer days for women to find an intelligent mate for survival. Okay, but it’s not 2000 years ago, it’s 2020 and all I need for survival is to wear a mask or stay inside.

Source: GIPHY

Dr Greengross and Christopher both also suggest that societal expectations have a part to play in our 'un-funniness'. Christopher reminded me that women are taught by their mothers not to be too intelligent or funny, we don’t want to be a threat to men, who might not impregnate us if they view us as competition. To confirm, this article was written while Obama was president, not while your grandpa was courting your grandma at the local dance hall. He also says that 50% of comedy is based on filth and women don’t even poop, so how could they possibly make dirty jokes? Unthinkable.

Let me tell you something Christopher, as I was physically birthing a child, a child whose dad I attracted (despite the fact I am significantly more intelligent than), I was cracking some of the filthiest jokes, some of my finest I would say and my number 1 fan, myself, strongly appreciated them. So Christopher - eat a bag of dicks.

Source: GIPHY

Maybe I’m being too harsh on Christopher though. He does think some women are funny, “most of them, though, when you come to review the situation, are hefty or dykey or Jewish, or some combo of the three”. You know, like Ellen or Roseanne, which in itself is actually quite masculine, so they really don’t count.

This article was published a few years ago, and I think is the kind of misogynistic view I was completely blinded by. I can only hope that like me, Christopher and honestly the authors of the hoards of similar articles, look back at this view and find it as offensive and ignorant as I do, or alternatively that as a journalist in a dying industry, he’s lost his job and is living on the streets, trying to feed himself with his comedic street performing an act which comes innately to him as a man, and failing.

Those views have more stretch than a rubber band. In truth, women are funny as fuck. Previously, I couldn’t name more than four, not because we’re not funny, but because I couldn’t see funny women. Women previously haven’t had the same platforms of the same opportunities as men to display humour.

Source: GIPHY

We’ve spoken about the Hollywood Saggy Balls club in a previous ep. Looking back at the most iconic comedies of even the noughties, The Hangover, Wedding Crashers and White Chicks are male-dominated films. Women got to play the love-interests of course. Obviously, women weren’t dormant, the '00s was also prime time for rom-com, which I’m not dissing on, you know they’re my favourite genre, but I’m never going to say Regina George is as funny a character as Allen from The Hangover. Of course, there are exceptions to the rule, but they are rare. Sara Silverman, Joan Rivers and Amanda Bynes. Amanda Bynes was honestly a trailblazer. She’s the Man is groundbreaking.

But post-2012-ish…we’ve hit the rise and the rise of the funny bitch. I think it’s a combination of women actually not being told to be dumb to get baby, but rather that they can do whatever they fuck they want, Fourth-wave feminism encouraging women to push open previously bolted doors and digital platforms giving women a channel to speak where they can’t be denied opportunities by the Boy’s Club. I shouldn’t actually need to list funny bitches, because nobody would ever ask you to list funny men. But in the spirit of proving a point and giving you copious hours of laffs, here you go:

The Best of the Best Funny Bitches

Source GIPHY

It only took close to 50 years, but in 2016 Amy Schumer was the first female comedian to headline Madison Square Garden. She was on fyrrre. Her comedy series ‘The Amy Schumer Show’ had just won an Emmy. If you haven’t seen it, you’ve definitely seen the GIFS it’s generated. Then for mine, she changed the face of romcoms, because she plays a lead female that doesn’t work in publishing (actually that’s a lie, she totally does in Trainwreck) but she’s not a size 6, conventional Hollywood babe, and the lead males in her films aren’t oil paintings either. (Although, Bill Hader has definitely grown on me thanks to Amy). And Christopher, you want to talk about filthy comedy. There’s a scene in Snatched where she ducks into the bathroom to clean her cooch with water because she’s about to get a shtoop. LOLs for dayzzzz.

Source: GIPHY

Mindy Kalling is another one of my favs who had her own TV show, as you know I’m obsessed with The Mindy Project. She’s my soulmate because she loves McDonald's and romcoms.

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Rebel Wilson improvised most of her lines in Pitch Perfect, which I love because it combines my two favourite things: lolz and singing in movies.

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Kate McKinnon, who did a better job of Justin Bieber in Calvins than Justin did.

But it’s not just in film and television where we’re seeing more ladiezzz and live comedy is not really my forte so I can’t really speak about the stand-up circuit, but when they’re on the Netflix I feel qualified to comment. Ali Wong, Hard Knock Life, might be one of the funniest shows I’ve ever seen. It’s never really funny when someone relays someone else’s joke, so I won’t. Just watch it.

In the socials, Alyssa Limperis, Sara Levine, Lindsay Thiesan and my Australian fav, Becky Lucas.

More? We've got plenty more comedy recos here.

I can safely conclude that women are funny as fuck and I definitely can now name more than four hilarious bitches.



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