Comedy giant and utterly fantastic specimen of a man, Adam Carolla recently made a comment on The Talk about how women are “always the least funny on the writing staff…dudes are funnier than chicks.” I hope my sarcasm came through. Now, despite my immense distaste for his comments, I’m not going to bash him here because many people have already and that’s not the point of this article.
What is my point, you ask? Are men actually funnier than women? I say yes and no.
I say yes because men by nature are more uninhibited risk-takers willing to say and do shocking things. Men are great writers because they can fearlessly say whatever is on their minds and not care what people think.
But more strongly, I say NO! Women are freakin’ hilarious! And clever and quirky. Believe it or not, men and women think VERY differently and therefore have different things to say. However, in my view, women write more clever, intricate, relatable comedy while men more often go for the immediate shock value. I’m not bashing dudes. Women are just thinkers by nature, so why wouldn’t our writing reflect that.
In the comedy world, you have to weed through a lot of junk in order to get to the good stuff. Out of all the comedians you see maybe only 30% are destined for greatness. Since it’s a male-dominated industry and there are fewer women, you may have to wait a little longer and look a little harder for those great women. But having said that, I also believe that there are a lot more crappy male comedians than female. Mediocre men can hang around for yeeeeears while the crap ladies are weeded out pretty quick allowing the great ones to shine through.
A big part of comedy, like with many arts, is that it’s a matter of opinion. Mr. Carolla feels that men are funnier. But he also co-created The Man Show. He is probably a big fan of dick and masturbating jokes, using “fuck” as a noun, verb, and adjective, and Two and a Half Men. Admittedly, there are a lot of women that joke about menstruating, idiot husbands, shopping, voting, liberation, having a voice, and other shit chicks are into. And it’s fine! Who cares! Writers write about what they know and experience, and gender just happens to be another pond to draw from. Lindy West wrote a very passionate article for Jezebel.com called “Hey, Men, I’m Funnier Than You” in which she argues against the societal assumption and “research” that men are just biologically funnier than women. She makes some very good points and makes me feel proud to be a female writer/comedienne. That’s French for funny lady. *hoity, toity French guffaw*
But it seems to me that women are foraging their way into the comedy world with real force, this last decade especially. In a recent Refinery29.com article, “A Field Guide To The Funniest Lady Writers In Entertainment”, a handful of up-and-coming lasses are featured and they all have big projects on the horizon. Comedy Queen Bee Tina Fey, whose babies I would have if she asked, made a HUGE statement with ‘30 Rock’. I love the writing on that show, it’s quirky, unexpected, and multi-dimensional. Real genius comedy writing is going beyond the obvious, base level of an idea and making it into something that you could write a unique TV show or movie out of.
Innovative, brilliant women are as hard to come by as innovative, brilliant men. But watch out boys because the ladies are a-comin’ and they’re F-ing BRILLIANT! Here are some of my personal lady-favourites: Chelsea Peretti, Chelsea Handler, and Carol Burnett. Oh, and check out my radio interview I did for Co-op Radio Vancouver on July 23 regarding women in comedy(ffwd to 35:22). I’m pretty amazing. Now get out there and burn your bras! Girl Power!