Funny Women

This is a late/early post for me, but what the hell.

Recently, while watching an episode of Young and Hungry (which is a pleasant surprise), My brother said this:

“I think women are finally starting to get comedy.”

This reminded me of the stance that he and many men have on female comedians (not Comedienne, this word makes me sick). And that is that women aren’t funny.

The most common “argument” for this attitude is that most female comedians only talk about three things; their period, their relationships, and their vaginas. Of course this doesn’t hold much water when you point out the men frequently talk about the equivalent male subjects; Their penises, their (usually terrible) wives, and their (usually nonexistent) sex lives.

So what makes men inherently “funnier” than women?

The fact that they aren’t women.

In fact, the most successful female comedians I can think of are famous because their act isn’t stereotypically feminine, but instead stereotypically masculine.

They focus on crude humor, swear incessantly and employ heavy use of shock humor.

I can count on one hand the amount of male comedians who don’t use the above tactics, and. like their female counterparts, they’re not nearly as successful.

But why?

Is there something about masculinity that’s “funnier” than femininity? Is being male more relatable than being female?

The short answer is yes.

From an early age, we are so inundated with stores from a male point of view that it’s genuinely shocking to find a story that is female-driven. And when we do see them, we see them as of lower quality because that’s how we’ve been taught. Women aren’t seen and heard on film, unless they’re backed by, or talking about, a man.

Until recent years, an action film with a female star, who could hold her own, was nigh unheard of. And female-driven comedies were all of the romantic kind. Now, with the recent addition of films like Salt and Bridesmaids, this is quickly changing. We have characters like Black Widow fighting alongside men. And comedians like Ellie Kemper getting national attention. 

In other words, Hollywood is starting to get that women can be funny.

Now, if only they could recognize more women of color…




“Racism” on TV

Apparently, people thought that this Monday’s episode of How I Met Your Mother was offensive. This doesn’t make sense to me.

Okay, it makes a little bit of sense. They dressed up in traditional Chinese clothing (including putting Ted in fake facial hair). But to me it was clear that it was meant to be a tribute. The jokes were not mean-spirited in any way. There was no “Yellow face”, no over the top stereotypical “Asian” accents, and Barney didn’t even make a “yellow fever” joke. What I saw were action sequences reminiscent of classic Kung Fu films (of which I’ve seen many), and lighthearted humor.

At no point did I feel it was offensive. I also did not feel that they were “Hijacking” Chinese culture to use for humor. I can understand this point of view, but I feel that it was unfounded.

However, I’d like to point out the hypocrisy of those outraged, as is my right. If in this episode, Marshall had gone to Ireland to learn the art of stepdancing. And he ran into a drunken redheaded Irishmen. People would not have said a word.

That situation would have been even more offensive. And yet, a white character going to Shanghai and meeting two white women who ate noodles with chopsticks, and did not speak with affected Chinese accents, was unforgivably racist?

I don’t buy that for a second.