In the world of stand up comedy the more and more people begin to criticize whether or not women comedians are funny. Although this whole matter is realistically based on opinion there’s just something about women telling jokes that a majority of our society can’t seem to accept.
Looking at the basics, the stand up comedy profession is already male dominated, and comedy alone isn’t something people strive to succeed in. Even if they do try to make it a living, the climb to the top is difficult and even then the pay is questionable. It’s mostly just a hobby for some. Others it’s a way to get them selves known or to network, or maybe just develop better people skills.
With that being said women in comedy is a battle. One of the suggested theories for the female comics harsh criticism is that its too hard to relate to. Most women comedians talk about marriage, and taking care of the kids, and some even get more blue than that and will go as far as to talk about being on their periods or do some graphic joke on sex. Not everyone can relate to that because not everyone (mostly men) know or have experienced that kind of behavior and even the single women can’t relate to taking care of the kids material that is used.
Then there’s the issue on the more vulgar material. If men can tell the dirty sex and dick jokes and get away with it why not the women? The only real answer to this is based on the opinion of our society. Society has an expectation of women. We want them to be clean and we think of them more as the classier side to the population while we expect men to be more open with vulgarity.
This also brings another possibility of why women comedians are considered unfunny. Most of them know how society looks at women and what they expect of them and that puts somewhat of a barrier on what they feel they are allowed to say and how society will judge them after they deliver their set. Some also feel they have to represent women as a whole and because of that, restrict themselves on self-deprecating material but when they go against those odds they risk breaking through the norm of society and being looked down upon or restrict themselves to a topic so much that there is no joke. For instance, women comedians like to talk about shopping a lot but unless there is some original idea or story line the joke is just “I like to shop and I have a lot of shoes.” Big deal.
Being in stand up comedy myself, I get it. It’s easier to write about stuff you know and feel strongly about, then to write about stuff others want you to write about. So the only logic to why women comedians aren’t funny is, because society doesn’t want to accept that their not living to their expectations of women. Local
“I want to thank the guy who said to me before the show “Listen, no offense or anything, but I just don’t think women are funny.” Why would I take offense to that? I understand that though, I think a lot of guys feel that way. So I thought what I could do is get inside this guy’s head and try to talk about things that a guy like this could relate to: “Women, right?! You all married? Its bull crap, ain’t it? You know what we call sex in my house? Hailey’s comet, cause it only comes around once every 76 years. Here’s one for you- what do you call a blow job from your wife? Nothin! Taint so much thing as a blow job once you get married. You know what else? My wife is always trying to watch football with me. I told her NEW RULES THIS YEAR!. She can only watch football if she’s buck naked, muzzled, and her way to the kitchen to get my ass some beer. Am I right or am I right, fellas? High five, nice tits, women talk a lot.”
That made me feel dirty.
I have to be careful where I tell that joke, she says, I once had a guy ask me “Hey, can you tell me those Rules again? I wrote down necked and muzzled, but what was the third one?”
Then there’s Ellen Degeneres. She’s one of the funniest comedians on the planet. Not only has she already made an icon of herself but she also does family oriented comedy and everyone can relate to it. In her special entitled The Beginning she talks about everyday stuff like shampooing her hair and her meeting with god, which is something we can all relate to because we all shampoo our hair and while we may not have literally met god herself. We have at least thought about what it would be like. She only briefly talks about coming out of the closet the previous year before the dvd release and she does that through interpretive dance as to not make anybody feel uncomfortable and it was still hilarious without breaking through societies expectations of her, because she is such an icon to many people, and the media has portrayed her in a positive light.
The only way that it is really possible for women to get away with vulgar humor is if they can relate it to everybody or their a big name comic. If you look at Lisa Lampanelli. She tells the most offensive jokes relating to all ethnic groups. Stuff that we would never dream of saying, and while some people may be against her material it doesn’t matter because she’s made a name for herself and because the mass media of hbo and comedy central accept her we do too.
vagina and butt, and she even goes as far on the Sarah Silverman show as to make fun of god and
has a few racist jokes herself, but we accept her because the media is using her to provide us with
some form of entertainment and after giving her a shot we grew to like her.
The fact is we can’t come right out and say that women aren’t funny because the whole question is
based on an individual opinion of the material vs. what society may or may not expect of female
comics, and what we are willing to accept along with what we frown down upon. So it's only when
society can relate to the material or can be reassured through the media or some other way that the
jokes are alright to tell that we can accept women in comedy and tell whether or not they are funny.