Friday, December 08, 2006

Hitchens: Women Aren't Funny

Well. Most people I know, male or female, aren't funny. Some men think they're funny and they're just foolish. Some women might think they're funny (although women don't tend to view themselves in those terms) and they're just snide. Christopher Hitchen's thinks there is a Darwinian reason that men are funnier (if you accept his assumption): men need to be to get the girl (and I'm paraphrasing because the article is so damn long, and....well, unfunny). To get the girl, they need to be funny.

Humor has a subversive and often mean edge. Someone is the butt of the joke. For example, my husband was playing softball last night and the guys (on a Christian team, mind you) gave him a hard time for flinching and instinctively catching a ball launched to him at Short. The sentiments expressed were along the lines of preserving his remaining male genitalia, aka "ball" (testicular cancer survivor, don't you know). One guy offered his cup for Steve's use. Steve declined saying, "It's not big enough." Laughs all around.

Now, can you imagine women in a similar situation saying something about boobs? No, I can't. Funny women use humor in different ways. Not that women don't get the guy's humor. They do. Thing is, women might view a teammate nearly getting her head taken off by a line-drive as an opportunity to encourage the almost headless player. Guys take the opportunity to jeer as a way of encouragement. It's a kind of bonding. And of course, the funniest guy is the big man on the diamond.

And there is also a social element to girls and women not being encouraged to be clowns which is usually prerequisite to being funny. The women who end up funny overcome social barriers.

Being truly funny is such a rare gift and so subjective that it seems silly to put a gender distinction there. Am I being too politically correct?

Some people have perfect timing, perfect body language, perfect expressions--they could make anything funny. I remember Jerry Seinfeld on Saturday Night Live as a basketball playing Jewish kid from some religious school. I was crying, he had me laughing so hard and he was just dribbling a basketball.

There are women who are that funny, too. Wanda Sikes is funny as heck. She steals every scene she's in in Curb Your Enthusiasm. She stole the show in Kevin Smith's movie Clerks II. Watching the behind the scenes reel, they just let her go ad-libbing. There was not one thing out of her mouth that wasn't funny. (By the way, this is a great movie if you like disgusting humor and don't mind the liberal dropping of F-bombs or gratuitous bestiality. Having lived in New York with a bunch of down-staters for four years, I became immune, but those with more delicate sensibilities will be repelled. It's actually a sweet movie with a crunchy exterior. And, Rosario Dawson was a delight. She should be getting bigger jobs. She's awesome.)

Anyway, what do you men and women think?


Anonymous said...

I find humor when it's unexpected. I tire when someone tries to be funny, or was once funny but doesn't realize he/she is not funny any longer.

I do have to say that you have made me laugh more then once. The one that was really funny is when you wrote about loosing weight sitting in your chair and moving around while you're rolling back and forth. The picture in my mind just struck me very funny.

I guess I will always be in love with Lucy. I think she was funny.

Anonymous said...

"and I'm paraphrasing because the article is so damn long, and....well, unfunny"

Good job proving Hitchens right!