Women in comedy – my opinion. Don’t shout at me.October 2nd, 2012
WARNING. THIS BLOG CONTAINS RATIONAL THOUGHT AND SWEARING. IF YOU DON’T WISH TO READ ABOUT EITHER OF THOSE THINGS PLEASE STOP READING NOW. IF YOU CONTINUE THEN YOU FORFEIT YOUR RIGHT TO COMPLAIN ABOUT ANYTHING I SAY. THAT MIGHT NOT SOUND FAIR BUT AS MY FRENCH TEACHER SAID TO ME WHEN I WAS 7, LIFE’S NOT FAIR. FOR EXAMPLE DID YOU KNOW I HAVE REALLY SORE FEET? NO? WHY? BECAUSE YOU DIDN’T ASK. LIFE’S JUST NOT FAIR IS IT.
ALSO PLEASE NOTE THAT THERE’S A READING LIST AT THE BOTTOM OF THIS BLOG SO YOU CAN READ THE FULL JOY OF THE ARTICLES REFERRED TO WITHIN THIS NOTE IF YOU SO WISH.
One thing you should know about me is that I never tire of being asked the question “are women funny”. Another thing you should know is that I like to start my blog with a lie.
The truth is I hate being asked that question because it demeans both me and the person interviewing me. Never has lazier question been posed. Well apart from asking a horse “why the long face?”. And I hate the fact I’m even writing about this, but it’s got to the stage where internalising my anger is leading to indigestion and if there’s one thing I hate it’s things being repeated.
So here’s the current state of play with my comedy career according to “other people”. Apparently I’m only funny if I’m ugly (Nikki Finke blog) and I’m less funny than rape (Mike Sheer).
This blog contains my views on the general topic of women in comedy and definitely not those of my employer. Even though I don’t have an employer. Well I’m my employer. So they are the views of my employer. Anyway, it’s easy to get waylaid into all sorts of arguments when sticking your hand into the toilet bowl of this discussion so I won’t. Instead I simply present statements and my opinion. Take em or leave em.
1. Women are funny. If you hold any other opinion then you are quite simply wrong. It’s simple. You cannot say women are not funny because some are. It’s a logic thing.
2. Part of the reason why the argument about women in comedy continues is because the question keeps being asked and journalists keep wanting to write about it. The wonderful Tina Fey said
“It is an impressively arrogant move to conclude that just because you don’t like something, it is empirically not good. I don’t like Chinese food, but I don’t write articles trying to prove it doesn’t exist.”
I agree. I dislike soft cheese. It’s a texture thing, that and the largely rancid smell. But when I see someone eating soft cheese in a restaurant I don’t walk up to them, shout “don’t eat it, it’s shit!” and walk away. You can’t tell people what they like to eat in the same way as you can’t tell people what to laugh at. People decide for themselves you see. That’s what being an individual is all about.
3. You don’t walk up to someone and tell them that their cheese is shit and you don’t tell people who is and isn’t funny. Why? Because whether someone is funny or not is a question of individual taste. Your decision that you don’t find someone funny is not empirical proof that the person is not funny to another person. Many people have stated very, very publicly that they don’t like certain male comics yet that never leads to the conclusion, which is seemingly inevitable with women, that all men are therefore not funny. I’ve never understood why every women seemingly has a responsibility to do well at every gig lest other women suffer.
4. Mike Sheer wrote a blog on Chortle (a comedy website) today entitled “Are women less funny than rape”. Read it if you want. I think it’s meant to be funny or ironic but it’s just drivel. An attempt at humour that’s missing the humour. So by the logic of many in this argument I should be able to now say that all male comics aren’t funny – right Mike?
Why was it so awful? Well his blog contained such statements as:
“Do women make me laugh? Of course! In individual cases. But as a whole, are they funny?”
That’s right sweetie – because we all need to be judged together. Perhaps if one of us is judged “unfunny” by Mike we should take her out back and shoot her so as not to upset the average result.
“Which leads us to conclude: women are less funny than rape.”
No. Just no. Not even with the excuse of irony. Irony doesn’t mean you say things and then it’s fine. Irony is second only to “banter” as the worst excuse for misogyny, homophobia, racism and any other form of evil shite you can mention. It’s not ironic it’s drivel.
And Chortle. You published it. You read it. Did you find any humour in it? Did you think that the statement “women are less funny than rape” was a good thing to put on the web site? You’re a fucking idiot – and I mean that ironically of course.
5. Also this week the issue of whether you’re allowed to be attractive and funny has reared it’s head. Nikki Finke wrote a blog that said
“Only women who grew up ugly and stayed ugly, or through plastic surgery became beautiful, can pull off sitcoms or standups.”
Really? You patronising twat. You utter dick. You complete shit head. I’m funny because I need the attention that I don’t get because I’m not attractive? Why don’t you ignore every other aspect of my life and boil it all down to my face. Why don’t you ignore the satirical comics who use genuine knowledge and understand of the political system to confront the evil that politicians do. Why don’t you ignore the brilliant physical comics? Why don’t you ignore timing, joke structure and the gut feeling that audiences get from a comic and boil it down to a prettiest pig competition.
6. I am beautiful. I am. And if you don’t think so you can fuck off. But whether or not I am funny because of the way I look is an irrelevant and insidious argument which is designed to allow people to bitch about the physical appearance of women under the guise of “fair comment”.
Christopher Hitchens vomited up the following statement in Vanity Fair
“In any case, my argument doesn’t say that there are no decent women comedians. There are more terrible female comedians than there are terrible male comedians, but there are some impressive ladies out there. Most of them, though, when you come to review the situation, are hefty or dykey or Jewish, or some combo of the three.”
The insinuation is that hefty or dykey or jewish women aren’t attractive and who wants to listen to an unattractive woman never mind laugh at them. Of course he’s really saying who wants to have sex with that type of woman. Because that’s important you see. A woman can be funny as long as someone still wants to fuck them.
Now I may be one, or more of those categories, and I can confirm that people do want to have sex with me. Often more than once. So fuck off.
7. The other thing that the “you need to look good to be funny” articles don’t take account of is the radio. I’m on Radio 4 quite a lot which, in case you’re young and don’t know what the radio is, means that I can’t be seen. Should I make sure that all listeners print out a picture of me and put it in front of them so they can decide whether or not what they’re listening to is funny? I’ll get right on that.
8. Do you know the most abhorrent part of this whole argument is? That we’re all the same. That I’m essentially one of the Borg. A speck in a collective group known as “female comedians”. The best comics in the world have their own voice, but it’s only men who are allowed that freedom. Women have to accept that we’re all the same. That we have a hive mentality. “Are you one of those female comedians” people ask. No, no I’m fucking not. I’m a comedian. There are women to tell gags, who tell stories, who write puns, who stand still on stage, who run around on stage, who swear, who don’t swear, who are young, old, emotional, calm in other words EXACTLY THE SAME AS MALE COMICS. Any argument that contains the words “all female comics” should immediately be dismissed as a pile of rubbish.
Mike Sheer article
NIkki Finke, a ‘Hollywood Insider’