Why Women Aren’t Funny
Humour may be a cruel mistress, but she’s definitely bros before hoes on this one.
Humour is a cruel mistress, her seduction exceeding that of beer goggles, bank balances and brain cells.
Studies of online dating sites have exposed how “a good sense of humour” is the exalted attribute of the desperate female in the pursuit of horizontal company.
However is this ‘said attribute’ applicable in the pursuit of women? Despite the cross-section of comediennes plastered across our television screens including the frivolous Miranda Hart and the Bafta winning Ruth Jones, one can draw on how despite their house-hold popularity, the funny female will never hold the same acclaim as the sell-out quips of Russell Howard and Jack Whitehall.
So when did wit become a men’s domain? Wit and the rhetoric of retorts were central to the ethos of ancient Sparta, where soldiers’ tongues were trained to be as sharp as their swords.
Throughout British history, the successful satirist, the playwright, poet and the politician all esteemed feats of classical rhetoric in order to ensure an audience. It is unsurprising that this cutting and intellectually rigorous approach to brevity and social commentary has remained esteemed even in present day humour, the 21st century figure head for me being Stephen Fry.
However the recent success of woman-written wit asks us to question the place of female comedy in our media. Although BBC productions such as Ab Fab are popular enough to create revivals and Christmas specials, they will never be as nostalgically treasured as Monty Python and Black Adder in terms of a legacy of British comedy.
Female humour relies heavily on the aesthetic, self deprecation, awkwardness and the creation of caricatures. Its maxim seems to be that if you can humour yourself, others will humour you.
Although empathetic, this is not a seduction tactic. An esteemed 8/10 is unlikely to call coats and cabs to a girl who giggles at every pun she fails to make while sipping at her pint. It seems that there is nothing aloof about female humour.
Even when she equips herself with wisecracks of steel, the result is rude and unapproachable. Would you let a leggy Jimmy Carr meet your parents?
It has been argued that the reason funny girls aren’t getting much is that men prefer to be humoured then challenged. Does this evoke archetypal perceptions of the gentleman as not just protector and provider but also as entertainer of their chosen conquest in order to win favour?
Has a banterous tweet between gentlemen become the equivalent show of masculinity as the medieval joust, armed with a long lance of hash tags?
If as women, we look to successful comediennes for dating advice, making conversation should become a stand-up routine, glittered with winks to the audience and fully expectant of a round of applause.
So if 21st century feminists wish to do away with society’s misogynistic emphasis on our assets, it is about time we changed our game from one that self-deprecates what else we have to offer.
There is a reason why there will never be a ‘truelass.com’. There is a reason why we are not all 'lolling' at ‘Her Campus’. Despite its critical triumph, Kristen Wiig’s ‘Bridesmaids’ released in 2011, embodies exactly what I think female humour should avoid- self deprecation. There is a reason ‘comedienne’ looks like a spelling mistake.
After all, how many men are willing to laugh at a tampon joke? We need to stop playing up to the divide in comic appreciation of the sexes, and start ‘raising the bar’ at the bar.
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