Women Aren’t Funny?!#@$%&

I’m working on a comic I’m calling “Women Aren’t Funny.” I mean that like really totally sarcastically, capiche?  More to come.

My Ire has been raised. Or it’s my Scottish, or that streak of Mississippi Cherokee. Whut whut.

Today, I’d just like to give a shout out to Judd Apatow, thank-you for saying “f***-you” to Jerry Lewis for his misogynist comments at the Aspen Comedy Festival in 1998 (one I happened to be attending – that was such a freakin’ fun festival!) I didn’t hear Jerry’s comments, which is good, because being raised Baptist, I fully believe in shouting out and “Amening” and saying “Preach it” or “unh-unh” (and loudly) depending on whether I agree or disagree with things. I also am known (you can ask almost every actor at the Denver Center Theatre Company) for LOUDLY laughing at funny stuff. That also goes for every single thing I find ridiculous. I LAUGH. OUT. LOUD. I smirk, I sneer, I snark. I do not hide my feelings. 🙂 See that happy face? Makes me happy to say that. Affirm that. Preach that.

This inability to hide my feelings may be why I got laid off three jobs in three years- (okay-it-definitely-was) but I digress.

I’m one of those people who HAS to make my living being funny, because I don’t really fit in with anything else. All good. I’ve been making my living at humor for 20+ years. Suh-nap.

Anyway, I read this morning in the HuffPost on my iPhone (what a cliché!) but that’s what I did, anywayz. And there in the Entertainment section is Judd Apatow calling out Jerry Lewis on his nasty comments . . . and it gave me the warm fuzzies. I even Tweeted a THANK-YOU to him. Not like he cares, but some Tweets give you more satisfaction than others.

I see some people are pounding him for doing that. They are wrong. There, I said it.

Jerry Lewis, one of the most successful comics of all time, (and I’m not even counting FRANCE!) takes the opportunity of a panel discussion (or was he getting an award? who cares?) at one of the most fun and diverse comedy thingies I’ve ever been to, to verbally assail women comics.

He later apologized, you may say . . .

YES, HE DID!! It was something like “well, I’m sorry, ummm, I guess, Ummmmmmmm, Lucy WAS funny.” Thank you! Such insight!! Admitting Lucille Ball was funny is like  saying Matisse was good with color. Genius! Pure Genius! Lame-ass apology NOT accepted. Not that he cares, or should care. But, he’s the definition of a bully.

I won’t venture to try and shut him up, just to call him out – because, we have free speech. And I want Jerry to spill what he wants, because he’s a comic, and I hate it when people try to tamp down free (especially comedy) speech. But, I get to call him a jerkweed, don’t I?

I won’t bore you with my road stories (well, not at the moment), and I won’t name you the hilarious women I’ve worked with and their stories (yet) and I won’t name the comedy club chains (and churches, for that matter, in this new age of the show-biz-church) who not-so-behind-the-scenes make it known that they won’t book women, because,  they “think” (using the term loosely) – and now say it with me, that “Women Aren’t Funny.” That, or it makes them nervous to see a woman with power. And, a mic gives you power. I wuv it.

I’m not bitter, I’m just human. This is piss-poor behavior, and is nearly making me cuss. Albeit badly. Oh, and someone recently said in the New York Times that women comics aren’t “ladylike.” Is that a goal? What does that even mean? Parasols? Explain it to me. And Christopher Hitchens (who I loved, too), wrote a VF article and posited that men are intimidated by women because we can have babies, and so they don’t want us to be funny, too, it’s just too much power. Or something like that. He said it so much better, but I still thought that seemed bee-zarre.

I can name you a lot of femme comics who rock the stage and cartoonists and screenwriters who rock the page – Elayne Boosler, Wendy Liebman, Kathleen Madigan, T. Marni Vos,  Roz Chast, Lynda Barry, Cheryl Holliday, Kristen Wiig, Sherri Shepherd, Melissa McCarthy, Gilda Radner, Laraine Newman, Mo Collins spring to mind immediately. This, off the top of my head, Jerry Lewis. Maybe he just needs to broaden his horizons, heh heh. Get it? Ok, that WASN’T  so funny.

And plenty of men, too! I’m cool like that. I LIKE IT WHEN MEN ARE FUNNY. It doesn’t threaten me. I don’t have to diss them. I think it’s AWESOME. I love being around them, laughing with them, and I like it when they laugh at me, too – cool how that works, huh?! A friend of mine (Dennis Regan- HY-larious) was on Letterman Friday night – so I Tweeted, Facebooked, cheered, and my hubby and I sat and laughed our butts off. Didn’t bother me at all that he’s a guy. It’s easier than you think, Jerry.

And I love women comics, cartoonists, screenwriters, humorists of all sorts. We fight a brick ceiling (is that good? I dunno, I was thinking GLASS ceiling, but then comedy clubs hardly every have any glass, except for the kind you drink from and- ) Anyway.  I luh-uh-uve the sisterhood. And the brotherhood. The comic-hood.

Blanket statements like “women aren’t funny” suck the biggest wind, is I guess alls I wanna say. Oh, and also that I’m sorry Jerry Lewis just doesn’t get it. Comedy “legends” bullying others sucks big wind, too. Comedy is tough enough without that kinda crap. But you know what?! I’m in. In spite of it all, I love making people laugh – and so we continue – all of us – comics – men, women, everyone.

Preach it, Judd Apatow.

High-fivin’ you in the air, here on the East Coast.

peace, luv, and other things hippies say,


A true story


4 thoughts on “Women Aren’t Funny?!#@$%&

  1. I’ve been teaching an academic class on comedy now for two years and spend a good deal of time talking about gender issues in comedy. When comedy has been defined by men (which would explain why fart jokes, violence, pranks, and half-naked women are “funny”) since the westward migration and when women don’t want to toe the line and accept this limited view of funniness, men explain it with women aren’t funny. I assume you read Christopher Hutchins diatribe from a few years ago. This is one of the reasons I’ve been hosting the NW Women’s Comedy Festival for 7 years now. Women’s humor is often different from men’s, but that doesn’t mean it’s less funny. That’s like saying people who prefer chocolate to beer have worse taste buds 🙂

    • Leigh Anne, thanks for all the work you do to promote women in comedy!! Funny is in the brain of the beholder, I think! It’s just so ridiculous to pick out a whole section of the population and say “they are not funny.” But man-oh-man, how often have we heard it? We are comics. Hear us roar 🙂

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