Women Aren’t Funny?

get elephant's newsletter

Another day, another dude saying women aren’t funny. Good one.

This time, it’s Adam Carolla, the guy behind his own podcast. “The reason why you know more funny dudes than funny chicks is that dudes are funnier than chicks,” he says. As evidence he cites Joy Behar and Roseanne Barr. Perhaps, in an effort to appear objective, he then praises Tina Fey, Sarah Silverman, and Kathy Griffin. Come on, Adam, everyone knows Kathy Griffin isn’t funny.

Adam says it’s just a numbers game:

Photo: Oddbook

When you’re picking a basketball team, you’ll take the brother over the guy with the yarmulke. Why? Because you’re playing the odds. When it comes to comedy, of course there [are] super-funny chicks. But if you’re playing the odds? No.

And that’s where it doesn’t add up. I’m not expecting Adam to be a scholar or even analytical. He’s a talk show host. His job is to be quippy. He shouldn’t have to also think about what he says, even though comedians sort of, well, do that. No, that’s what Ivy League interns are for.

So maybe at some point, he’ll get lucky enough to have one of those interns point out that the number of “funny” women in the spotlight is proportionate to the amount of women applying. And proportionate to the number of women in decision-making positions in creative.

I work at a vastly male-dominated company. Like, it’s not even close. To their credit, they recently undertook a study to figure out why there is not greater representation of women throughout all levels within our consulting practice. Guess what the study found? That women are dumber than men. That when you recruit at schools and in programs largely male, you end up hiring more men. That when there are not a lot of women in leadership positions, the absence could discourage women from believing that there is meaningful opportunity for advancement. Guys, it’s a self-fulfilling prophecy.

So, I’m sorry, Adam, that in your anecdotal experience women weigh the writing team down. Bummer. Guess what, though? Turns out, it’s a numbers game.

Editor: Lynn Hasselberger

~ Like elephant culture on facebook. ~

is a new feature on Elephant Journal—enabling you to instantly share your mindful ideas, photos, art, YouTube videos/Instagram links & writings with our 5 million readers. Try it Now.

Write Now

About Vanessa Fiola (Recovering Yogi)

Vanessa Fiola is a business consultant, artist, writer, and—after years spent teaching yoga—a co-founder of RecoveringYogi.com. You can find her micro-blogging at @vanessafiola or through her personal website, www.vanessafiola.com.Vanessa wants to hear your 5 things.


8 Responses to “Women Aren’t Funny?”

  1. yogasamurai says:

    This is pretty dumb, Vanessa He's not just referring to professional comedy writers – he's speaking more generally. You took a hint at a real gender difference – which exists in many others areas, and which may actually be real here, I hadn't thought about it – and turned it into yet another eminently boring mini-diatribe on gender bias.

    Yawn. Nice try – I guess?

    Do you think that there's some kind of "gender bias" operating because 85% of yoga teachers are women – or just some kind of gender difference?

    How do we know that men and women don't approach public comedy and humor differently? Your rather glib posting neatly forecloses what might be an interesting discussion of an area of gender difference – not necessarily bias.

    You do acknowledge that men and women often have very different communication styles? Why wouldn't that also apply possibly to expressions of comedic humor?

    Jus sayin'.

  2. Kris Nelson says:

    @yogasamuria So ending your flip, glib, and dumb response with “just sayin” somehow makes it okay?

  3. yogasamurai says:

    If you really want to dialogue on such an interesting topic, please do. I thought this was an interesting jumping off point —

    I do think men and women have a different approach to public displays of humor, what they use it for, consciously or unconsciously, and even what they consider "humor" or "funny."

    Overall, though, I do think Carolla's right. He said men are "funnier," which sounds like a value judgment, but doesn't have to be. There is definitely a gender dynamic of men trying to make women laugh and women wanting to be amused and set at ease by a man. Humor of a certain kind has long been a part of the courtship ritual.

    Anthropologically, it could also be related to the need to avoid war — the use of good humor to deflect and defuse tensions, gunfights, irrational bursts of violence – again, something men may have picked up in their DNA a bit differently.

    Cheers YS

    • Mark Ledbetter says:

      Fascinating article, YS. Another bit added to our understanding of human nature and how we are constrained by it, for better and worse. Thx.

  4. Alicia says:

    Kathy Griffin is funny! It's Sarah Silverman who is terrible.

    • yogasamurai says:

      Silverman may be a sociopath – I'm not sure. I was watching a very old clip of another Jewish comedy diva – and living legend – Joan Rivers, and it was amazing how much she looked like Silverman at that time. I don't know what keeps old Joan going. I watched her on Carson when I was 9. Amazing.

      My favorite Rivers is her Geico commercial, when she pokes fun at her own plastic surgery? "This face has seen more knives than a Beni Hana." She keeps saying "I can't feel my face, I can't feel my face. Am I smiling?" She's actually gotten better with age.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.