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December 15, 2006

Funny Girls

Funny Girls

By Rebecca the Bookseller

You know, there are little pesty, pesky things everywhere. Usually, we just ignore them – which is good, because they’re not worth our time or energy. But sometimes a little pest just becomes too much of an irritant and it has to be eliminated.

Such is this week’s dilemma created by a pesky little man who is probably too old for therapy and too stubborn to just get the Viagra prescription refilled. Or maybe it’s just that 80 Proof and Cialis work at cross-purposes. This can make a little pest very cranky.

Anyhoo, a venerable publication that recently bore the image of a pop icon in his underwear on its cover published a pesky article in which it is alleged that “Women are not funny.” But wait – apparently some women are funny, except they are dismissed because they are either fat, Jewish or lesbians. Those weren’t the pesky words. Those are my words, but the message is the same.

Oh, poor pesky man, will you never learn? Put down the Cutty Sark for a moment.

Why am I talking about this? Because we, the Tarts, are women and we are funny. Granted, we have some fat and some Jewish among us, so maybe, in Peskyland, that cancels out the whole lot of us. Regardless, it needed to be said. Moreover, other female members of the TLC community are very funny as well. Don’t know about their sexual, religious or fatness orientation. Don’t care.

Norah Ephron, a very funny lady herself, blogged about this on The Huffington Post, and there is even a contest over there to see who can make Pesky Man laugh. I’ll bet if I let him get all liquored up and then made a movie of me kicking him in the nuts and dressing him up like a woman and making bathroom jokes while pulling public pranks, once he got out of the hospital, he’d laugh himself sick. Oops, too late.

One theory floating around is that women are too nice to be funny. Now that is funny. Everyone knows it’s the lioness who runs the enforcers in the jungle. Govern yourself accordingly.

Another theory is that women are just not comfortable in front of an audience. Hmmm. Any woman who has ever given birth at a teaching hospital will tell you that when you are focused, it doesn’t matter how big the crowd is.

Look, anyone can be funny – here’s a joke – say it out loud and it’s so dumb, you will be funny:

Why did the chicken cross the playground?
To get to the other slide.

No? OK, I asked Margie for one of her clean jokes and this is what I got:

What’s the difference between a girlfriend and a wife?
30 pounds.
What’s the difference between a boyfriend and a husband?
30 minutes.

Moving on. We were talking about the premise that women are not funny.

Basically, I just don’t buy it. Period. In fact, except for my husband and son, most of the funniest people I know are women. They just don’t tend to leave their families or their chosen careers to take their show on the road. When we have a Girls’ Night Out, like we’re doing tonight, we laugh so hard that many of us are still sore the next day. We may not be constantly amused by a flatulence joke, but we know funny when we hear it. And we laugh easily too, when we’re together like that. Maybe because we don’t have a thousand other things pulling at us and distracting us from the clean rush of making eachother crack up.

Bottom line, one of the things that brings me the greatest personal joy is making people laugh, or even smile. Especially someone who doesn’t otherwise have much to laugh about. But that is not an easy thing – no Benny Hill or Three Stooges or Jackass Show bit is going to do that. You have to be smart – you have to be good with words - you have to know the person you’re playing for. You have to think; you have to be quick; and sometimes you really have to work for it. But ahhh - when you make that person laugh, well, there’s nothing like it. So for all of the Pesky People out there who think we’re not funny – that’s okay. You obviously just don’t warrant having any of us as your friends.

You can pick that bottle back up now.


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John Belushi claimed that "Women are not funny." Yet, he respected Gilda Radner because she could out Gonzo him sometimes.

Humor is humor and it is not gender specific. One of the biggest laughs in the movies from the last ten years comes from "The First Wives Club" when Diane Keaton, Bette Midler and Goldie Hawn or on the highrise window washer machine. Not sophisticated and worthy of an episode of the Three Stooges, both boys and girls roared at this scene in the theatres.

Not everyone is funny. Not everyone can sing. It doesn't matter if you are a man or a woman.

Some people just like to be divisive. Writing is hard work, and I think this was just a cheap way for Hitchens to get his column done without having to work at it. I don't think anyone considers him a serious source of information, and the study data he uses is out of context and not even applicable to his thesis.

You bet you women are funny - that's one reason we keep reading here, with all this pink stuff and periodic man-bashing. It's worth it for the laughs.

Men who don't think women are funny probably think that way because the women they know who are funny are funny because the funny they make is at the expense of humorless men.

In keeping with the season and the theme, I'm going to tell a joke:

Jesus, standing in front of the icebox (hey, it was olden times), calls out: "Mom, we're out of ketchup again."

Mary, from the other room, calls back, "We're not out of ketchup, Jesus, I put a new bottle in there yesterday. Just open your eyes and look for it."

Jesus looks some more, but because the ketchup is an inch off to the side of his direct stare, it's invisible. "I'm telling you, Mom, there's no ketchup in here."

Mary, now yelling: "Jesus! You're the son of God, you can turn water into wine but you can't find the ketchup? What am I going to do with you?"

So Joseph, trying to be the helpful stepdad, goes over, peers over Jesus' shoulder and calls to Mary, "Honey, I don't see any ketchup either. And I made this icebox."

I think Dorothy Parker would've chewed up pesky little man and spit him out as she held a cigarette in one hand and a drink in the other! We won't talk about why I still read The New Yorker...

One of the funniest things I ever saw was at one of my women's martial arts camps -- and I really was still sore the next day. It was a skit involving a tennis match between a 4th-degree black belt Aikidoist and a 3rd-degree black belt Indonesian kung fu player. Pesky man might want to think about that.

Only, now that I think about it, both women *are* Jewish . . .

I think the pesky little fella suffers from the "Lookit Meeeee!" syndrome. He just has to say stupid things to garner attention. Not clever enough to grab the public eye any other way.

Notwithstanding the pesky little fella's self-serving statements, your's is a lovely biting wit, Rebecca. (You and J. Swift could play badminton together and use the pesky fella as your shuttlecock.) But do me one favor, would you? Don't refer to that little toad as a "man"; that does violence to my gender!

I think that the little toad most likely does not have close friends that are women, not knowing the guy, he may not have any friends. I think a lot of women keep the good stuff for the ladies.

I worked for 7 years on the trading floor of the Chicago Board of Trade which has very little over the atmosphere of a men's locker room. There was a sensibility to the humor that many women that I know would not enjoy. Quite often it involved escalating levels of rudeness, which I always took to a level the boys did not want to go. Amazing the respect it garnered. Not pretty, but it worked.

The one person that I know that did professional standup is a fat Jewish lesbian Latina. She is also a successful attorney, sure she has some persecution issues but where are you going to get the good material?

Saying women aren't funny to me is no different from saying they can't write, aren't smart, can't play sports, shouldn't work outside the home or shouldn't be educated. It's sheer piggism and enough beyond the pale that I don't plan to waste my time tracking down who this idiot is or where he said what he said. Anyway, Rebecca, you are the living rebuttal to his stupidity.

I'm hanging out today over at Tasha Alexander's virtual cocktail party on the Good Girls blog. I can't quite believe some of the things that popped out of my mouth, but that's cocktail party chat for you. Tasha, while decidedly female, is QUITE funny, and she'll be here at TLC guest blogging on January 20.

Here's Michele cocktail chat: http://www.good-girls-kill.com/
(We need to add the Good Girls to our list of links. That's a New Year's project, Tarts.)

I've been stewing about why women and men don't necessarily laugh at each other's jokes. And JJ's comment about our man-bashing here at TLC. Which I regret, and yet it's so easy to go for the punchline that all women appreciate. It's the gallows humor, I suppose, that victims of the Stockholm Syndrome understand.

Dick Cheney shooting his friend in the face and waiting a whole day to tell anybody. Now, really, isn't that mental picture hilarious?

Me falling into the toilet in the middle of the night because my husband left the seat up. Funny? OKay, sure. Not nearly as funny as the next night when HE fell in because I put the seat up, though.

Hey Professor who says you aren't funny?

Even our girlfriends who didn't have you in class know that you're funny because of the stories and reading this. Esp Mike's girl because she has to be funny to look at himn.

I'll bet this guy never played hockey. That's the problem. he needs a couple of checks to get it.

Have a Merry Christmas.

When are you coming back to teach?

beachfla at a martial arts camp? Now that's funny!

Anyone who has met any of the Book Tarts will tell you they are not just funny on the page, but in person too.

Haven't met Rebecca, but if she's half as funny in person as she is here, she's hilarious. Just about every week somebody mentions choking or spitting out drinks when they read these.

Today's moment came courtesy of 'maybe its just that 80 proof and Cialis work at cross purposes'. I'm going to use that one myself.

My wife is the funniest person I know.

Great comments - and a couple of good new jokes and visuals to make me laugh. Dave - I had forgotten about that scene but have been reminded in recent days of two classic Peter Boyle scenes:

Young Frankenstein's "Puttin' On the Ritz'; and the scene in The Dream Team where they're singing "Hit the Road Jack" in the van. I still laugh out loud when I see them.

Charlie - you are right. From now on - he shall be simply known as toad.

JJ- you know it's all in fun here, which is what makes it funny. Sometimes gender-based bashing is just mean. If we're going to get mean, everyone will know it..

Buzz - I'll bet Mrs. Claus has a special treat for you for being so sweet.

When I die, I want my sister Ann by my bedside, because then I'll go out laughing.

If my sister is at my bedside when I'm dying--well, let's just say one of us is going out laughing.

In a few moments there will be a joke off downstairs in the cafeteria. Men v. Women. No profanity. No joke you wouldn't tell your grandmother. Not my rules either - someone else came up with the idea after reading this Blog and someone else ran out to get the Vanity Fair. Just because Hitchens is an asshole will not keep us from carrying out this challenge.

We are going to clean their freakin' clocks.

I have been appointed to report back with the results, assuming the cops don't show up. Our Security Guard is an off-duty and I think they want in on the action. Not that gambling is legal here - unless the Gov gives you a special note.

Sad to say, humor is not gender neutral. Yes women are funny (my friend Kack is the funniest person I know) Nevertheless, just as we will never know the "joys" of pregnancy and delivery. You will never know the hilarious experience of simply observing the fair sex and the humor (which I doubt any woman will ever "get")that follows these observations. Nothing can give you yuks like watching a woman become overwhelmed by "chick stuff" These stories have filled many an hour ot a poker table with each one bringing additional tears and side aches. If you've got an extra chromosome, you know what I mean.

Women are as funny as men, in equal measure. The only difference is, when men do it it's called "literary satire" while when women do it it's called "Chick-Lit." and so it goes.

Putting on pantyhose. Now, that's funny.

Have we heard back from Kimmie yet? If not, does that mean somebody was arrested at their lunch?

Jack - thanks for stopping by, even though we agree to disagree - we'll just add it to our list, eh?

Laruen - well said and unfortunatley true.

Nancy - uh-oh. Not to worry too much though - got an e-mail from her boss (who also reads the blog but never comments because he is a sissy - oh, hi!) the surprise at lunch was that their department exceeded their year-end goals a week ago (the numbers just came in yesterday) so they were having a party at a nearby establishment and getting the afternoon off. She is part of a really brainy high-tech department and they've had a banner year. They work hard and play hard over there.

If I didn't already have plans, I'd crash - I imagine the joke-off continues, with the rules more relaxed by now.

Oh - and my sister made me laugh so hard on the phone yesterday that I thought someone was going to call the EMS from the Target parking lot.

Oops - look at the time! My Girls will be here any minute for some drinks and nosh before we head off to see the Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin impersonators - perfect holiday Girls Night Out. Guaranteed laughs, believe it or not...

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