Some time ago, Eric made a passing comment to me that I have yet to let him forget. The conversation was rather benign, until he stepped on a mine and said, “Women are not as funny as men. Some women are funny, but they are funny for a woman, not universally funny.” Naturally, I have butchered what he said and rewritten based on what I heard, but the sentiment was there. It was during this conversation that I learned that Eric had married me for a million reasons and my sterling sense of humor was not one of them.
I immediately wrote a blog post about it and that post is one of my most randomly googled posts ever. Phrases such as, “men don’t like funny women,” “women are not as funny as men,” and “women aren’t funny” are routinely typed into America’s favorite search engine and Google send them my way in their research.
I recently had three such searches in a week, so I thought it was time to revisit this topic and help these poor souls out who are seeking the answer to this sometimes divisive question. I’ll try to keep it brief, but I have a good deal of thoughts on the matter – oddly, few of my thoughts are very funny, but let’s not let that get in the way.
Women are funny. We are a different kind of funny than men, but we can still be pretty funny – innovators of comedy, even (I’m looking at you, Lucille Ball.)
One of my favorite female comic performers is Carol Burnett and I love her thoughts on where comedy comes from: “Comedy comes from tragedy.” I’ve never known a funny lady who didn’t have some pretty serious and tragic hits in their past. This doesn’t mean that unfunny women haven’t had tragedy, but I do think it means that people survive differently and a common way of overcoming is with humor. In my own life, I know that the uglier life got, the funnier I got.
Some people use humor to build up their frail ego – this kind of humor is usually not attractive. Attractive humor is the kind that empowers and exposes a glimpse of one who has overcome and stood strong. This notion easily hints at the reason I think people would ask whether or not men like funny women. A confident, bold woman with a good sense of self can be quite intimidating. Perhaps the problem lays not with whether men like funny women, but whether they like women who can sometimes beat them for cocksure.
Thankfully, Eric has come around and he now agrees that I am the funniest person in the whole world. (I may have also worded that as I heard it and not as he said it. Whatevs. It’s my blog.) Here’s to all the hilarious women in my family – my Mom, my Grandmas, my aunts, my great aunts, my cousins (1st,2nd, 3rd, and twice removed), and every brave lady who dared to marry into my family. Many of us have seen a good deal of yuck in our day, and I will be forever grateful that those who went before me chose to spin it with a laugh. Laughter is a fine heritage, even if you’re a girl.