I’m a serious fan of funny women. I especially adore them when around fuse mansplaining or sexist quotes.
It could be : « Women look for a partner like in fairy tales : nice guys but no princes like me don’t stand a chance! », or « You know, she’s not a real women : she doesn’t like shopping, she doesn’t nag me with housework and man, she loves sex! » or: « Women shouldn’t feel obligated to always put make-up : it’s not important, look, I never asked for that! »
And for any of those lines, I’m speechless. I KNOW that there would be millions of fiercely funny lines to tell « No – it’s a stereotype/it’s genderism/it’s an expression your male privilege », but I’m speechless.
But sometimes, a funny women is seated next to me. I imagine her brain is a set of Formula 1 track at night, with wet asphalt, dimly lit by streetlights far away…
…and when she speaks her mind, VOOOOOOOOOOOOOMMMMMMMM! – a fireball blinds, takes all the space that the sound can fill, growls, explodes and leaves before the next blink of eyes. Then my haggard mind reconnects, gets the switch back on and slowly tries to convince itself that such alertness is humanly possible. Everyone laugh, I do, but also wonder :
HOW? How did you calculate that perfect balance between politness and audacity? How the right words, the right tone did come to you? How did you think of that attitude, that reference?
An interviewer asks the much recognized-as-funny actress Jennifer Lawrence on how she got prepared for the Oscars, expecting the usual frenzy about the dress/make-up journey. She look at him dumbfounded and answers : «I don’t know, I just woke up and I put on the dress and it fits, thank God and then…..I… took a shower… and… I don’t know what I was…. That’s what I did… and then I got my make-up/hair time.. And then I came to the Oscars!»
Wow. Basically, she said: «What a stupid question you’ve just asked me.» Which by the way would never have been asked to a man. No interviewer will ever ask her this question again. Perfectly, with the nicest casualness, she made everyone comfortable while she was performing the supreme skill of turning an idiot speechless.
I mean, SHE HAS FUN. I never do when joking. You can see in her eyes, during a stressful interview, that she’s absorbed in everything the interviewer says. I can’t.
The reality is I have no sense of humor.
I can joke sometimes but only on paper, only a little. Humor is my minefield, and over-informed by the risks of practicing like a doctor-to-be would be by looking at medical pictures, I don’t feel the courage to put a feet forward. I’m too concentrated to assure my security and integrity. I am so worried to send wrong messages that I NEVER open the doors to any sexual jokes. I never make jokes about being wasted, because I would look vulgar – a tramp. I have two modes : either astonished, or slighly agressive if I feel treathened. I defend my basic sense of humor by the fact I easily laugh at others’ jokes. In other words, I am the dead from the neck up who revere the male humor. The half-baked bimbo who laugh at the brilliant man jokes. I am disappointed of my uncapacity because my example can’t contredict people who say that women can’t be funny. I’m angry that I can’t spread the genuine talent and originality of my female fellow, because humor is a language I don’t speak.
Fortunately, other women « speak funny » – the comedian and scenarist Sarah Haskins, author of the video capsules « Target Women »; the blogger of Simili-Bacon et Silicone; the author of Nunuche Magazine, Élise Gravel; the humorist Katherine Levac; the inimitable Florence Foresti; the blogger April Winchell of Regretsy, the writer Catherine Éthier, the writer Wendy McClure behind the Weight Watcher recipes card from 1974, the researchers Catherine Desormeaux and Rose-Aimée Automne T. Morin of the tumblr Revue, the author of The Toast Mallory Ortberg. They’re my all-time favorites and you should definitely check them out!
Incidentally, I love listening to Christopher Hitchens, a famous speaker who developped great arguments for atheism and about politics. But I get nauseous when I hear him step out his preferred subjects and declare like if he was a specialist: “Women can’t be funny, simply because they don’t have to. Men need humor to seduce women. Women don’t have to appeal to men in this way: their beauty do.”
So, we enter the field of humor as defined, approved and regulated by males. A type of humor that look like this: 17 male humorists play with their voice, give inimitable faces, parody characters, and one women… wiggle her boobs. That’s weird. Suitable for a GQ cover, however hell-no funny.
I love funny women because they create their own rules.
They speak about their own reality, declare their own mind, with honesty and personnality. They can break any straightjacket just by their imagination and their talent. They learned how to use a weapon that was supposed to work only when handled by men, and they’re not going to quietly wait when picked on.
Thinking of humor as a discrete master key to get sex is an extremely reduced vision of it. Humor is a powerful tool to get a point done, to resolve conflicts, to introduce a new idea to someone originally close-minded, to gain consideration in a select social network. (Plus, I hate the easiness of using instinct of procreation as an explanation to any social theory.)
Haskins, you’re right : women aren’t funny like guys, or anyway not like the kind of guy who will make jokes about and from anything in a bar, just to get attention from a chick. Funny women aren’t necessarily funny for men, because they can turn a guy’s romantic pass into derision. They are powerful, because they can be funnier than the guy who try to seduce them. Humor might be a way to exist by themselves, to decide to have fun independently and to get the spotlight by their very own originality.