The id of gender humor

By Bo Rhodes

Women are not funny. In grade school, who were the kids who made their classmates laugh? Who made complete asses out of themselves for a chuckle? The girls? No. It was the runny-nosed boy with pencils up his nose entertaining the class.

If you look at the top comedians right now you find they are all men. In fact, you would be hard pressed to find five women who are falling-down-in-the-aisle funny. Rosie O’Donnell? Not funny. Victoria Jackson? Not funny. Molly Shannon? Not funny. There are exceptions to this rule of course; Gilda Radner, Carol Burnett and Lucille Ball to name a few.

But as entertaining as menstruation is, it isn’t a good topic for a comedy routine.|
There are an awful lot of men who aren’t funny either. When was the last time you laughed at something David Letterman said? How about Jay Leno? What people saw in Arsenio Hall is anybody’s guess. But for every funny female there are 10 funny males.

Why aren’t women funny? Maybe they mature faster than guys and the childish antics of a Jim Carrey are too juvenile. Maybe it’s because they feel if they joke around, the world won’t take them seriously. Maybe it’s because women are unable to completely let go, fearing the repercussions.

It’s not that women aren’t entertaining. Far from it. Watching Gwenyth Paltrow accept her academy award was extremely amusing. Hearing Pamela Anderson say she wants to take on more serious roles is whimsical. Neither is downright hilarious though. On The Simpsons it is not usually Marge or Lisa who makes us laugh but the over-the-top antics of Homer and Bart.

According to Regina Barreca, author of They Used to call Me Snow White, "the difference in fact between men’s humor and women’s humor seems to be the difference between revolt and revolution… Women’s humor calls into question the largest issues, questions the way the world is put together."

Barreca couldn’t be more wrong. Comedians like Dennis Miller and John Stuart constantly question the world through their examination of political events and news stories.

Female comedians return to the same ground so often their routines become a guessing game to see if the penis joke is next or maybe the one about being in labor for 26 hours. A woman’s sense of humor may be radically different from a man’s. So different, in fact, it seems not to exist at all.

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