There’s an old stereotype that claims women are bad at comedy. This myth is often perpetuated by late night stand-up acts and the generally male-heavy cast of Saturday Night Live. Start surfing through the programs on Comedy Central after about ten o’clock, and you’ll see what I mean. Sure, you’ve got Tina Fey and Sarah Silverman, but at times they seem to be considered the exception rather than the rule.
The humorless woman is an odd stereotype that has stayed around far longer than anyone can reasonably explain.
To be quite honest, I’m not the guy who can tell you why that is. I love money far too much to major in sociology or minor in women’s studies, and I have a very dim grasp on gender inequalities and outdated stereotypes. The best I can do is prove that this particular stereotype misses the mark in a major way.
There may be fewer women in stand- up. Frankly I’m less than qualified to know if that’s true, as I haven’t taken the time to count them all — I’m not paid enough for that. But when you start to broaden your view to other forms of entertainment you start to get a better picture. Think back to the quintessential sitcom you all grew up on and tell me that it was devoid of any funny women.
Seriously, can you even begin to imagine “Seinfeld” without Elaine? Try it. I’ll wait. If any of you think that anyone would have watched that version of the show about nothing, then I dare you to search “maybe the dingo ate your baby” on YouTube.
Do you see what I mean? Comedic gold.
This holds true for most great come- dies. The entire dynamic can often hinge on the comedic female lead. Think of Elliot from “Scrubs,” Jules from “Psych” and Robin from “How I Met Your Mother.” To say that women aren’t funny is incredulously wrong.
People often hear the stereotype regarding stand-up and try to apply it to any form of entertainment they come across, and it just isn’t true. That’s like learning that pineapples only grow in the tropics and suggesting it means that Norwegians can’t enjoy pineapples — in this simile women are pineapples and Norwegians are comedy, or fans of comedy or something.
I actually feel sure that a woman could have written a far funnier column than this one. But in the spirit of equality, if anyone tries to take this column from me I’ll come at you with a folding chair, Randy Savage style, and you’ll have to pry it from my cold dead fingers.