This is a guest post by Charlene deGuzman for a special Ravishly series exploring the gender gap in comedy. Read our editorial take on the issue here, and stories from six other female comedians here.
I googled “Are men funnier than women?” Apparently, this is an actual topic people actually discuss. I think it’s as pointless as asking who’s hotter, or who’s cooler, or “Is my mom better than your mom?” . . . but this is the internet, where passionate opinions on completely subjective topics go to breed, after all.
There’s a feminist who thinks women are funnier, and there’s a feminist who thinks men are funnier. There are scientists who tell us that women laugh more than men, but men write funnier New Yorker captions. There are, unsurprisingly, a lot of men who think men are funnier. And of course, Cosmopolitan has 10 reasons why women are funnier for sure, the eighth reason actually being “periods.”
I closed my laptop and decided to take matters into my own hands. I don’t care who hosts late-night TV shows, headlines comedy clubs, or stars in blockbusters. I was on a mission to see for myself, I was going to take a look at my real life:
I ask the waiter if I can have a side of macaroni and cheese. “More like crack and cheese, am I right?” I laugh. I repeat it four times to myself during the meal. One point to men.
I check Facebook on my phone. “I do not like sneaky ass bitches, LOL” posts a girl I took one gymnastics class with when I was seven. I personally think sneaky ass bitches have trouble loving themselves and therefore put walls up for protection. I do not LOL. Zero points to women.
Text from my mom: “What does ‘obvi’ mean?” One point to women.
It looks like a labradoodle is driving a Prius. One point to labradoodles.
There’s nothing funny about a room full of twenty-somethings aggressively drinking through their fear. Zero points.
A guy sweating in a fashion scarf. One point to men.
I lie in bed alone, fake-smiling toward the ceiling after reading an article that said I could rewire my brain into thinking it was happy. I am hilarious. One point to women.
Final total: Men, 2 points. Women, 2 points.
As you can see, the results of my research are not only disappointing, but completely worthless. In conclusion, it’s safe to say that some people are funny, and some people are not. Some people are funny even if it wasn’t their intention to be funny. And there are people you don’t find funny who are successful comedians.
Being labeled as “funny” is a special gift that isn’t dependent on gender, it’s dependent on the audience that is deciding. And there are audiences for everyone. A baby once laughed so hard because I was holding a rock.
Going even further, it depends on things like the audience’s life experiences, mood, marijuana intake level, and whether or not it looks like a dog is driving a car.
Okay, men do dominate movies, TV, theater, and the writers’ rooms, and these men make a lot of money. But this isn’t because “men are funnier than women.” This is because we live in a male-dominated society.
Some people like to blame sexism for this. Why not take away the power of sexism and stop asking questions like this to begin with? Try celebrating those who are funny to all kinds of people, instead of making a time-wasting division and comparison.
This concludes my passionate opinion on a completely subjective topic.