Saturday, November 29, 2008

It's not easy being funny.

Seriously funny, by Jessica Valenti, The Irish Times.

. . . What's particularly radical about this humour isn't just that feminists aren't expected to be funny, but that women in general are so often accused of being humourless. Christopher Hitchens' 2007 Vanity Fair article "Why Women Aren't Funny" [referenced by me here] caused a storm of both approval and opprobrium, and was just the latest in a long line of male swipes at women's comedic ability - there are dozens of websites dedicated to just how unfunny women supposedly are.

And these attitudes can be a big problem for women entering the industry.

Comedian Kathy Griffin, star of the reality show My Life on the D-List, has said that "the level of profound sexism in stand-up is so extreme and so high; not only is [the male-to-female ratio] not 50/50 in the comedy world . . . it's like 90/10." At the root of this culture seems to be the fact that, as Joan Rivers once noted, "men find funny women threatening". Any woman who wields her wit is refusing to be put in her place. . . .


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