Lynne Parker

Lynne Parker

The clown shoe is on the other foot

You’d be forgiven for taking Ellie Kemper’s recent article for GQ at face value. Her diatribe about how men just aren’t that funny will either strike a chord or hit a nerve.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with Ellie, she’s the Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. She also starred in Bridesmaids and 21 Jump Street. Not someone exactly new to comedy.

It’s true. The comedy value of some blokes – #notallmen, before you get the pitchforks out – has been severely lacking. There are some men Ellie even goes as far to describe as ‘extremely acceptable’.

Ellie discovered a giggle deficiency in the Y chromosome early on:

“Why do they even try?” my 7-year-old self would wonder as I watched Alan Alda flounder helplessly through yet another failed rerun of M*A*S*H. Why is every single Korean-lady extra so much funnier than he is?”

This right here is a fair point. Alan Alda spent at least half of every episode bringing the mood down. In a show set during the Vietnam War, you’ve got to have some light relief or people will start switching off. I mean, only 125 million Americans watched the finale. Why did the most-watched and highest-rated single episode in American TV history have to be so damn depressing?

For women, making people laugh is as vital as oxygen. If we don’t get laughs, we will literally keel over. Some of us have nothing to do all day but make wisecracks. And hope our Uber driver doesn’t charge extra to transport our enormous boobs. Which would also otherwise make us keel over.

Ellie pulls no punches. There’s even a David Bowie joke in there. Too soon? Maybe. In the wider context of the whole article, one throwaway joke about Bowie feels like nothing. That’s how strong she goes in on (un)funny men. You can’t really call someone out for speaking ill of the dead when they speak even more ill of the living.

My reaction to this whole thing was, naturally, hey that’s pretty damn funny. One point to women!

How do men react when you suggest they’re not funny? After all, they don’t often have any pearls to clutch to their chests in horror. Should anyone start with the “oh yeah, well, uhh, well, women aren’t funny!”, I’ll start using Ellie’s article as the new Rickroll.

We have definitely noticed the ‘female privilege’ parody Twitter account that pops up in our feed every so often. Great advice for men who feel bound by traditionally female roles, responsibilities and standards. Ha. An example:

“The REALLY shocking thing is, even though I’m a man, I don’t find all male comedians funny,” Andrew, age 40. Bad form mate.

The sad-funny-sad thing is: it’s funny because it’s not real. It’s funny because it’s so outside of reality that you can’t help but sad-laugh. It’s sad that we still find the idea of women with power and responsibility hilariously inconceivable.

Those of you who know Funny Women well know how we feel about ‘not funny’. Strongly enough that we mobilised to prove the naysayers wrong. Hey, if they wet themselves laughing at us, that’s the ultimate vindication right there.

Mind you, none of this would’ve been possible without an Uber driver who didn’t charge extra for boobs. Think of the added cost of board meetings…


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