I think I can be funny when I try and according to JP, even funnier when I don’t. I think I have a great sense of humour, some might say a little obtuse, but I would just attribute that to spending a lot of time with JP and a lot of time having to find the funny side of life, out of sheer necessity…no matter how asinine it may be. But the other day JP said something and I realised it wasn’t the first time I had heard it…”Men are just funnier than women.”
Being the closet feminist that I am, I immediately opened my mouth to object, but then I took five to actually think about what I was objecting to. Are men funnier than women? Is he funnier than me?
Naturally, I think most of my friends are hilarious but are JP’s friends funnier? I wouldn’t surround myself with people that didn’t make me laugh (whether at them or with them – it’s all the same really), so what is the big difference? Men are more interested in making men laugh, but women? Maybe, they are too worried about their hair.
The funniest girls I know are the ones that crack jokes shedding a less than attractive light on themselves, and in some bizarre way they end up being more attractive. Being able to laugh at yourself (and others) is a wonderful skill but; are men really better at it than women? To every joke, there is a receiver – how the receiver reacts affects the end result. In my opinion, women struggle to laugh at themselves adding to the stereotype that we are less funny than blokes. Instead of returning the jab, women (generally) either crack the shits or have a whinge – ultimately, taking themselves too seriously…which is totally, unfunny.
I have been asked many times how many brothers I have, and when I answer that I am the eldest of 5 girls there is usually an air of surprise that follows. I guess my humour can sink pretty low at times and I do have the tendency to find things amusing, that other females may find utterly revolting. But does this make them less funny? I will admit that sticking ‘pads’ to my sister’s school bag and watching her run around the bus stop wasn’t the highlight of my comedic career, I was young and things got out of hand. These days, my jokes are a little more sophisticated (only just) and I still get laughs… I swear.
Obviously it’s all subjective, right? Generally men have a tendency towards the black/sadistic/toilet humour that was cultivated during their adolescence, whereas women were constantly faced with the familiar phrase; “that’s not very lady like” and perhaps reverted to a less intense style of comedy. Perhaps my brain missed that developmental milestone and my wit morphed into something that resembled that of a bloke? I have always been quite stubborn. Much to my parents distaste, my humour makes them laugh and I know it. From a young age I could see them reprimanding me for one of my ‘witty’ remarks (that may or may not have also been quite offensive), only to turn around and chuckle to themselves as they walked away. How many times have I heard my father question why he paid for private all girls schooling? Countless. What did he expect? It was never going to end favorably once I found his Rodney Rude CD’s…”G’Day Trendsetters!”
However, I think things are changing. Whether the likes of Tina Fey, Chelsea Handler or Kristen Wiig tickle your funny bone or not is irrelevant, fact is they are changing the ‘funny men to funny women ratio’ and I like it. The last two movies I saw were funny because of their female’s roles and it’s refreshing.
In a recent study conducted by the University of California-San Diego, it was found that men are only ‘marginally’ funnier than women (by 0.1%) and that the preconception is based on an age old stereotype that perpetuates the importance of being a ‘lady’ to suppress women’s humour. Ha! How glad I am to not have conformed to the whole curtsy and bloomers crapola.
I have always felt more at home with the likes of Caitlin Moran and Corinne Grant, their vulgarity amuses me and I find solace in the fact that they can say nasty things and get away with it…and have successful careers.
In an age where a female’s glass ceiling is still slowly being chipped away at, I count myself lucky to be able to crack an ‘inappropriate’ joke and still have friends. The disapproving look from my mother will most definitely never fade, however I have grown quite good at catching her trying to hide her smirk.
And so to conclude…Humour is totally idiosyncratic. Women and men can be just as funny as each other; it just depends on what cranks your tractor, floats your boat…locates your remote? You say tomatoes, I say potatoes.