• Nicole Sherwin

Women Aren't Funny

According to some old, white men.

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This is a segment from the Large Almond Latte podcast episode 'Women Aren't Funny.'

I really wish I was funny. People laughing at your jokes is the ultimate form of validation, which you know is what I crave most in life. Unfortunately, as my boyfriend will tell you any chance he gets, I am not funny. Which, unlike when I’m paid any form of compliment, I find this so easy to accept. Because I have grown up believing women aren’t funny. If you’re fuming right now, bear with me, I’m obviously going to have an epiphany soon.

I remember being about 23, sitting in a bar with a friend of a friend who was a strong- brand feminist. This was before this 4th wave of feminism hit, when it was still kind of a dirty word, even amongst women. I said to her, with absolute conviction, ‘women aren’t funny.’ I remember racking my brain trying to think of funny women and I could only produce Tina Fey, Amy Poehler and obvi Kath and Kim. I genuinely believed I could only name a few because there just were no funny women. I was such a moll, so cocky and confident in my argument because I had numbers. The boys at the table were on my side, and more broadly, it was the popular societal opinion. With the majority on side, I was obviously right. She promptly left. I assumed after her vegan pizza, she popped on her ironically expensive hipster bike and pedalled her dreadlocks home. This is one of those memories that wakes me up in a cold sweat at 3am, overwhelmed with embarrassment. Because really, she was enlightened, while I was covered in layers of internalised misogyny.

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Women aren’t funny’ really was a culturally accepted norm until only 5-10 years ago really, and a quick Google search shows why this is. The interwebs are DRIPPING with articles by mainstream media that I cannot believe were written after 1950, let alone published by anyone other than an anti-feminist men’s club. I sent some to Jess, the other LAL co-founder, and she legit thought I had sent her satire. They’re from The New Yorker and BBC. My favourite, most informative/condescending, ignorant and offensive wash published in Vanity `Fair. A fat, old, white guy (surprise!) called Christopher mansplained the reason why, “bless their hearts”, women aren’t funny and they are deep.

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Humour is apparently the only thing men have going for them, so they need it more than women. I don’t disagree that it’s high on the list, I mean we’ve all seen a dick pick we never asked for and I’m confident that nobody has ever received an inconspicuous dick pick and decided that was the man they wanted to marry. Women, on the other hand, have boobs, so 'we don’t need humour'. We just have to laugh and look pretty to impress a man which apparently aids our primary life goal - getting pregnant. Which Christopher believes is another reason why women not funny. “The question of being funny for a woman is a secondary one because we are innately aware of a higher calling.” You can’t make this shit up!

It’s not just old white guys sharing their opinions, there’s also ‘scientific research.’ In this age of Pete Evans and the anti-vac gang, I really want to throw my full support behind science, but this one study was conducted by Aberystwyth University, which COME ON, definitely sounds like a place I could get a Bachelor of Medicine certificate if I just pay $500. They found that 63% of men were supposedly funnier than woman and on average, men have higher humour producing abilities. And like Christopher, the lead researcher Dr Grengross attributed this result to evolution. As Christopher explained to us, women love a funny man. It’s obviously the defining characteristic of a good date. Sure, he stunk and ate with his mo