Last week Beardy McGee and I visited The Glee Club in Nottingham for an evening of stand-up comedy. (Josh Widdicombe was the main act. I will find a video for you at the end of the post if you’re interested.)
Neither of us could remember the name of the support act, it was a miracle we even remembered the tickets that we had to print out ourselves – why do they make you do that? Home printers and cartridges are expensive. Plus printing out an email does that annoying thing where it prints the second, useless last inch of browser-window onto an entire second sheet of paper. Cheers for that; I really needed that extra margin of space, smaller than the actual print-margin. What happened to the nicely designed tickets complete with tear-away stubby bit that you can keep somewhere in a lame but forgivably nostalgic fashion? That’s if you even remember to pick up the ticket page from the printer after you’ve torn up and recycled the previous unsuccessful three corrugated pages from the demon claws of the jammed paper tray. I hate printers – so we made a note to keep an eye out for a name when we got there. The first poster we saw read something along the lines of ‘supporting act: Suzi Ruffell’.
We both looked at each other with a slightly apprehensive expression and in unintentional disappointment I asked: ‘Aw, man (ironically)! Is that a woman?’
I would never usually broadcast this opinion, mostly because it comes across as being sexist and is derogative of my own gender, but I’m not sexist. I’m simply speaking from experience.
Don’t get me wrong, there are some female stand-up acts that I adore, even favor, over male ones. I would rather have Sarah Millican tickets than any other and I actually did enjoy Suzi Ruffell (although she had a certain male-bravado which I will explain later). Women that really make me laugh are definitely few and far-between.
Why is this? I am often hilarious, albeit accidentally, but as a profession? I can name more than 20 male comedians who make me laugh out loud regularly, but only 4 or 5 females come to mind?
I had settled with the grudgingly defeatist explanation of ‘men are just better at some things.’ You know what; no. I have further researched this separation of the sexes and have compiled a list of possible reasons as to why men are professionally funnier.
According to this very long article (with a totally different title), focusing on the scientific results rather than the strangely religious section towards the end, women have less expectation of a reward. With a harder-to-please attitude they are naturally more resistant to comedy than men.
As well as being naturally more resistant, women have also been brought up differently and have trained themselves to survive amongst rival females. Young women are shallower than men when it comes to choosing friends. The class clown was always the popular male whereas the popular girl would be the prettiest.
Mothers teach girls that they become threatening to men if they appear too bright – men want an audience, not a rival. Although this article from Psychology Today shows that, in ‘private’ women can be just as funny.
Maybe it’s more the fact that men have always had to try harder? To make a woman laugh is a tough job; women are impressed with wit rather than the ‘silly’ humour of men amongst men.
Two comediennes that I have found recently (one of them being Suzi Ruffell) have been homosexuals and I have found them both very funny. Is that because they aren’t afraid of being less feminine? They don’t mind being laughed at, they share more embarrassing stories and men can relate to a lot of what they say.
Mae Martin is another comedienne that my sister introduced me to. Again she is very funny but she plays on and mentions her sexuality a lot. It’s an interesting thought; can you be both funny and feminine?
Here’s my tribute to funny women, thank you for making me eat my words, Suzi:
Do you guys have any female comediennes to show me that I can add to my list?
And, as promised, here is Josh Widdicombe doing what he does best: