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
- Would Some Lipgloss Have Killed You?
- Cracked Feet/ Fairly Classy Girl
- Long Pants Only, Or Dim Lighting
- That line didn’t go away. I stopped smiling 2 seconds ago.
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.
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?