Women are not as funny as men.

Makes me laugh. Here’s why:

I know a bunch of women and I know a bunch of men and I can honestly say that in my own experience women are funnier than men. When I think about the funniest people I know, the specific things people have said that have made me laugh, or even, my expectations for when I am going to spend some time with someone for level of wit and all that. One of the funniest people I know is Julia. One of the other funniest people I know is her cousin, my niece, a girl a few years older. The other night I was at a dinner with about a dozen people, roughly half men half women, and a lot of funny things were said. By the women. And the men as well, but there was no clear sex bias in funniness at that particular event.

So maybe my impression that women are wittier and funnier than men is biased and incorrect. But clearly, the opposite is not true. No way.

Christopher Hitchens was a great man and everybody loves him and shit in part because of his accomplishments and in part because he is dead and stuff, but there are, or should I say were, a lot of things I never liked much about his positions on things, and in some cases, is arrogance. He thought he was smart enough to know things he really did not know much about. And in the following video we see him making two hugamoungous errors. One is to assume that because men are more accomplished numerically at a professional level than women, that there is an underlying difference between men and women (as opposed to the usual other reasons for this sort of thing which we all know about). The other is his rather pop-psychology and over-simplistic is-ought view of evolution (as well as the ontogeny of behavior) which is entirely wrong.

Not only are women at least as funny as men, but to get credit for being funny they have to do it backwards and in high heels. All Hitchens has to do for wit is to have a British accent.

I would like to thank JAF for showing me this video and AM for daring me to post it.

(Hey wait, is the joke on me????)

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23 Responses to Women are not as funny as men.

  1. Drivebyposter says:

    Well to counter your anecdote, I know no funny women at all. No funny men either really.

  2. Grimalkin says:

    I’ve always figured that this opinion was based on female comedians, because when you look at it that way it makes perfect sense. For a male comedian to be popular, he has to be funny. For a female comedian to be popular, she more often than not mostly just needs to be pretty (like in all celebrity-jobs).

    So we’re pointing to a funny man and saying “This is a funny man”, and then pointing to a pretty woman (who may not be all that funny) and saying “This is a funny woman”. Sure comedy isn’t as bad about this as acting and singing, but it still can’t be ignored that looks are a criteria in determining whether a woman ends up a comedian/funny person or not.

  3. Andre Lieven says:

    How many great female comics are up there on a par with George Carlin, Richard Pryor, and so many more ? How about successful female comedian talk show hosts ?

    Exactly. I don’t know if humour is more ‘innate’ in men than women, but as a profession, with training, practice, and paying one’s dues, it is more than clear that men earn far more than 50% of the top comic slots.

    Greg’s piece is pure anecdtoal evidence fallacy:

    -The expression anecdotal evidence refers to evidence from anecdotes. Because of the small sample, there is a larger chance that it may be true but unreliable due to cherry-picked or otherwise unrepresentative of typical cases.[1][2]-
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anecdotal_evidence

  4. HP says:

    When Hitchens (late to the party as usual) decided to ride on the coattails of the New Atheists, I did my best — as an anonymous guy on the Internet — to persuade the PZs, Dawkinses, and Coynessss of the world that this guy was a stopped clock — brilliant when he was right, and completely deceptive when wrong, which was most of the time.

    I failed, abysmally.

    Christopher Hitchens’s life is a great lesson for people who take skepticism more seriously than the local politics of atheism. He was a gifted and compelling writer who was frequently, and astonishingly, wrong in his assessment of reality.

    Christ, what an asshole.

    There, I said it.

    Christopher Hitchens was a misogynistic, contrarian douchebag of the highest order. It is pure coincidence that he was our generation’s most brilliant writer and a committed atheist. His assholery will be his legacy to future generations, and all the atheists who have embraced him will have to answer to their grandchildren.

    And while I’m on the subject, I could drink and smoke him under the table, and still explain how Ba’athist Iraq was a secular Arab nationalist state, and not an Islamist republic, and therefore he’s an idiot.

  5. Nemo says:

    It’s such a strange concept to me. I grew up knowing both female and male comedians, no one ever told me that women were supposedly not as funny, and it never struck me that way. It’s only in the last few years that I’ve encountered the idea.

  6. Enkidum says:

    @Andre Lieven – I’m pretty sure people here know what anecdotal evidence is. It’s definitely true that most of the top earning stand-ups are male (although that’s shifting, and there have always been exceptions), but most of the top earning anything are male.

    Greg’s perfectly up front about this being anecdotal evidence – hell, he tells it to us in anecdotes. Hitchens, on the other hand, is convinced that what he has allowed himself to observe must be a genetically hard-wired human truth. Who’s being more honest here?

    @HP: I have know idea if Hitchens was our generations most brilliant writer, but if he was, it wasn’t a pure coincidence.

  7. Paulino says:

    Hitchens, may his remains enter the biogeochemical cycles, did not know my family.

  8. raymoscow says:

    These ‘women aren’t funny’ naysayers neglect the fact that George Carlin was born female.

    (OK, it’s probably not true, but I wouldn’t have put it past him/her.)

    Actually, there are many women comediennes and comic actors, and some of them are quite good. Of course, ‘how good’ is just a matter of opinion.

  9. Karen says:

    If you’re looking for the funny in everyday life, women are hands down funnier. It’s true!!!11! For witty banter and quick and intelligent comebacks, look to the women in your life.

    If you are judging the funny on stand-up and entertainment, men come out on top, only because there are more of them in the field and they like to say naughty words and talk about sex and women nagging. So yeah, some men think that’s a riot.

    There is my evidence from anecdotes.

  10. Greg Laden says:

    Andre: How many great female comics are up there on a par with George Carlin, Richard Pryor, and so many more ? How about successful female comedian talk show hosts ?

    Exactly

    Why do you think professional comedy is any different than other professions? And you dare to cite a WikiThink fallacy having committed the most significant fallacy possible yourself?

  11. Greg Laden says:

    raymoscow!!! Not born female, but certainty conceived as one! See the Carlin video here: http://goo.gl/vXZ98

    Karen For witty banter and quick and intelligent comebacks, look to the women in your life.

    Yeah, I noticed that!

  12. bcoppola says:

    In no particular order: Tina Fey. Mae West. Phyllis Diller. Joan Rivers. Gracie Allen. Ann Meara. Sophie Tucker. Rita Rudner. Suzanne Pleshette. Gilda Radner. Kristin Wiig. Claudette Colbert. Anne Bancroft (a gifted comic acress as well as dramatic). Mary Tyler Moore. Imogene Coca.

    Feel free to add to the list.

    You’re welcome.

  13. bcoppola says:

    …Lily Tomlin (damn, how could I forget?!?). Carol Burnett (ditto). Betty Hutton. Myrna Loy. Katherine Hepburn (in her early “screwball” comedies, esp. Bringing Up Baby)…

  14. unbound says:

    From my standpoint, success at the top of any industry has less to do with raw talent than it does being very aggressive. The fact that there are more top earning males than females speaks more to that aggressiveness than anything else (I’ve dealt with a number of C-level executives in my career, read a good deal about corporate top-level executives, and that has been a consistent denominator).

    They can’t be bad comedians and make it to the top, but they don’t have to be the best comedians to make it to the top.

    Personally, I’ve seen as many funny female comedians as male comedians.

  15. interrobang says:

    Goldie Hawn, for another.

    Andre, you ought to be ashamed of yourself. How you can be friends with Jan and Sian and Arwen and still hold attitudes like that blows my mind. (Yeah, I know who you are. If you think about it, you know who I am, too.)

  16. The Ys says:

    I think this particular attitude boils down to: is the funny person telling a joke about not-totally-consensual sex or saying something ridiculously derogatory toward women?

    If yes (to any of the above), then it’s funny!

    If no, then it must be a woman. Who let her onstage, anyway?

  17. julian says:

    “You suck! Now show us your jugs!”

    If I ever hear someone say that they’ll be getting maced… Which they should be grateful for. I could cut them with my knife but I won’t.

  18. voss says:

    My personal favorite was Phyllis Diller. She actually retooled the stand up’s material. Prior to Phyllis’ time, the standard recipe was to set up the joke, then deliver a punch line (set-up punch-line; set-up punch-line, etc.). Phylllis developed the set-up with multiple punch-lines. This meant that she got more laughs per minute than other comedians. Here is one of her jokes.

    Last month we had our wedding anniversary. Fang gave me a present.
    It was luggage.
    It was packed.
    With my mother.

  19. Stacy says:

    Adding to bcoppola’s list, off the top of my head–

    Brett Butler (in her early, pre-sitcom days, she was brilliant, and probably could be again). Betty White. Laura Kightlinger (Who? She should be a household name, but isn’t. I blame sexism.) Stephanie Miller. Dorothy Parker. Florence King. (The latter two from literature. King wrote one of the funniest books published in the 20th century.)

    How about successful female comedian talk show hosts

    How many people, I wonder, know that Letterman’s show was co-created by Merril Markoe (Letterman famously said she was funnier that he was). How many know that The Daily Show was created by two women, Madeleine Smithberg and Lizz Winstead, and that Winstead quit because the original host, Craig Kilborn (whom she had nothing to do with hiring) was such a sexist ass.

    The fact is, the culture tends to not see women. And when a woman mines humor from female experience–as makes sense–males, who are our main cultural arbiters and don’t share that experience, will be less interested. (Given misogyny, some will simply dismiss it with contempt.)

  20. Greg Laden says:

    Stacy, you crack me up!!!

    (LOL)

    Also worth pointing out is that about half of the male comedians are not funny.

  21. Stacy says:

    Greg– :)

    …Lisa Lampanelli, Paula Poundstone, Jennifer Saunders, Dawn French (how could I have forgotten those two!?), Madeline Kahn, Sophie Tucker, Moms Mably, Rusty Warren….

  22. LOL says:

    This is a horrible and fallacious article….I also have a sneaking suspicion that some jew bulldyke was holding you at gunpoint while you wrote it so I forgive you. Just make sure to come back and update this to tell the truth about women being as funny as a rotting corpse when your life is no longer in danger.

  23. HP says:

    Oh and by the way I am a very funny mother fucker in real life and in turn I am probably the hardest person to make laugh…90% of the time my laughs are courtesy and only people that really know me know when I let out a real laugh…and I can’t recall one time having a woman make me REALLY laugh…they seem dull and uninteresting to me. Thankfully they have tits to make up for it.

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