Women and Comedy

I miss being in school. I miss the required readings; the papers to write; the hours of research; realizing the best organizational style; the insights; the brilliant professor; the passionate professor; the exploration of ideas old and new; the naming of parts; the intellectual pushing and stretching; the art. You get the picture.

So I’ve been wanting to make time to study something, and I realized a couple of months back while browsing the shelves of Barnes & Noble that I’d like to dedicate time to the study of comedy. I love comedy. [Obligatory cliche] Comedy is nature’s remedy, nature’s gift. You get the gist.

Growing up, Saturday nights were special in my family. Saturday night was for the British comedies on PBS public broadcasting station. After The Lawrence Welk Show was all manners of comedy from Mr. Bean to Keeping Up Appearances with Hyacinth Bucket (Bouquet is the pronunciation she insisted on. It still runs every Saturday night). And then there was the Benny Hill show which forced us into hiding behind the sofa when we should have been in bed. The shows were all different, all hilarious in their way. I realize now that so much of my style of humor comes from the influence of these shows.

Yes, I love comedy. I write funny skits for fun, make funny videos for fun, wrote a stand-up comedy bit for fun, and actually attempted stand up a couple weeks ago! My favorite types of reading tend to involve a good dose of comedy– see Fyodor Dostoevsky’s Notes from Underground * which made me hurt with laughter in my World Literature class. This wouldn’t have been so bad if the class hadn’t been full of blockheads who had no business being in a literature course. (Hey dipshit college kids: Don’t take an elective class you have no interest in– or actually despise — because you think it’ll be an easy grade. For example, literature courses are not easy. You can’t just spit out garbage that you can’t even support with logic or passion and expect an A grade because “it’s not like math, so there’s no right or wrong answer.”)

When I became a teacher, I tried to be a serious teacher. I was miserable. When I let myself be funny, I was less miserable. When I saw teaching as a sort of performance, I was thrilled. My show would be intelligent and funny, I decided, much like Keeping Up Appearances and Notes From Underground.

When I started my blog, I decided that my writing would be centered around humor. My byline was: My funny and failing journey to become the unattainable every woman. In fact, I still call it that. My new theme just won’t allow the option of having a byline.

Speaking of starting my blog, some of my older posts from my beginner days are feeling lonely and forgotten, so if you’d like to support them, here are some of my favorites. (I’m forcing myself to not go back and revise them before you can get to them. I’d like for you to see the growth, changes, etc).

My very first post: Spoons and Spaghetti

A few months ago, while somewhere listening to something, the age-old opinion that women aren’t funny came up in my life. Is it true? Are women less funny than men?

It got me researching, and what I found was the now famous, often quoted, 2007 Vanity Fair article Why Women Aren’t Funny by Christopher Hitchens. He includes some points worth noting:

“Precisely because humor is a sign of intelligence (and many women believe, or were taught by their mothers, that they become threatening to men if they appear too bright), it could be that in some way men do not want women to be funny. They want them as an audience, not as rivals.” […]

“The reproductive and eliminating functions (the closeness of which is the origin of all obscenity) were obviously wired together in hell by some subcommittee that was giggling cruelly as it went about its work… The resulting confusion is the source of perhaps 50 percent of all humor. Filth. That’s what the customers want, as we occasional stand-up performers all know. Filth, and plenty of it. Filth in lavish, heaping quantities. And there’s another principle that helps exclude the fair sex. “Men obviously like gross stuff,” says Fran Lebowitz. “Why? Because it’s childish.”

Interesting stuff. I promise that if you love comedy or social psychology, you’ll find it worth the read. It includes quotes and examples of famously funny women and a very cool study that may blow some of your minds.

In my own life, I was meeting some hilarious women in the blogging world, like Damn Girl, Get Your Shit Together and She Gives No Fox, both who have senses of humor blessed by the comedy gods. My research also brought me to a hilarious stand-up comedian Katherine Ryan. You’ve got to check her out, ladies!

And while you’re at it, Sara Pascoe is another brilliant comedian. Let’s support our fellow women and kill this ‘women aren’t funny’ bullshit.

I’m really looking forward to learning more about comedy and sharing what I learn with all of you.

Now for your thoughts. Do you consider yourself funnier than most? What role does comedy play in your life? Is there something special about female humor? Have you heard the opinions that women aren’t funny? Do you think there’s some truth to it? What’s your favorite type of humor? Let’s hear it!


* You’ll see me posting some affiliate links from time to time. It’ll always be something that I believe in.


And don’t forget to find me on the other side! Instagram I Twitter I Pinterest

My name is Lyz-Stephanie and I want to inspire you to be more connected to yourself and the world, to find beauty in simple pleasures, and to have more adventures. Every day we can do something to make our lives happier and richer, make our minds more active and engaged. I’m on the journey. Will you join me?

19 thoughts on “Women and Comedy

  1. My mom always says I’m witty just like my dad and I agree 💁🏻 but I do think my comedic tone has changed over the years and definitely since my boyfriend and I got together, which is not a bad thing at all! I love that we think the same things are funny and I know exactly how to make him laugh 😸

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  2. I love British comedies! I think Patricia Routledge of Keeping Up Appearances is a master of physical comedy too. I love As Time Goes By too. I’ve seen them all dozens of times and they never get old. The Vicar of Dibley is also really funny too.

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    1. Oh my goodness, yes! She is a master!!! She can do overt and subtle physical humor so well. I keep all of the episodes recorded on my tv and me and the kids just watch them over and over again 😀 And how about our Rose. We love her. I can do an imitation of her brokenhearted dramatic episodes pretty well😊 I’m also a fan of As Time Goes By. The Vicar of Dibley is the woman vicar, am I right? I was able to get the show once and unfortunately was never able to catch it again. Did you ever watch From Larkrise to Candleford? That wasn’t a comedy, per se, but such a great show. I’d love to see it all again.

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        1. Do you think so? I feel like that British aristocracy plays such a big role in the show and we don’t have that element. Then again, wherever there’s money there’s social ladders to climb, right? I think you’re on to something. A remake would be interesting to see. It could even take place in the hood for Onslow, Daisy and Rose. That show is really a treasure.

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  3. Just thought I’d reciprocate your visit and found this! I have a claim to fame regarding the Vicar of Dibley, Dawn French. Her latest book (Me. You. A Diary.) was heralded by a little ebook (You. Me. A Diary.) in which Dawn invited submissions for advice/experience as she approached her 60th birthday. And something I wrote was chosen and included! If you don’t mind the shameful plug, you can read it here http://thelockwoodecho.com/2017/10/20/doh/. Alas the ebook is no longer available, but Dawn French is one of my favourite comedians. And if you like Patricia Routledge, can I recommend ‘Kitty’. You can find clips on YouTube. A series of monologues in Victoria Wood’s show. I love observational humour. Sarcasm, wit, absurdity, but also humour with heart. Real life is full of tragedy, but being able to cry with laughter along with sadness is very human and such a great shared emotional experience. Life is absurd, we have to laugh at it!

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    1. Hey darling! Thanks for coming by. I think it’s freaking awesome that I now know someone who’s connected with my beloved British comedies, lol. I’ll absolutely read it, and congratulations! How awesome. I’ll check out Kitty as well. It’s such a cool idea inviting submissions and advice. It’d be great to do that with every life phase, except you’d probably have to read through all the wacko’s submissions to get to the good ones.

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