Funny Girl?

15 Nov

The question du jour, or at least, of my conversation with two male friends on campus this evening, was “Can girls be funny?”

Unfortunately, it’s not the first time I had this conversation. And even more unfortunately, my two male friends concluded that girls can be funny in a “cute, ditzy way,” but can’t really make them laugh the way their male friends do. Hm. I’d like to think of myself as fairly funny. I’m not looking to enroll in comedy school anytime soon, but I love making people laugh and do so on a fairly regular basis. Humor is obviously subjective, so I couldn’t take it too personally that my friends might not find me particularly hilarious.

But as I walked home tonight, I thought, maybe they’re right. I tried to name some female friends that I find really funny–and I couldn’t think of any. Of course, there are actresses like Tina Fey and Mindy Kaling who are awesome, but at the same time, I could instantly pop off five names of guys I know personally who never fail to make me laugh.

What’s the deal? Can women be funny? If not, why not? Nature or nurture? Are we not wired for comedic timing the same way men are, or are we not rewarded enough for humorous antics and quips in our formative years, our parents and teachers instead reinforcing our compliance, interpersonal skills, and domesticity?


Also, just to push it a little more…can a woman be beautiful and funny? I’d like to think yes:


12 Responses to “Funny Girl?”

  1. Aaron November 16, 2010 at 12:05 pm #

    These are probably the same kind of guys who would say women are bad drivers. But guys don’t usually list humor at the top of their “Must Haves” list. More like, “Loves to laugh/smile.”

    And Tina Fey recently won the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor.


  2. netanya November 16, 2010 at 12:11 pm #

    Yes, I was telling one of them that I have heard that when women say they want a partner with a good sense of humor, they mean one who makes them laugh. On the other hand, if a man desires a partner with a good sense of humor, he wants a woman who laughs at his jokes… I think this is true enough, as I do want someone to make me laugh, but I would also be pretty irritated if my boyfriend didn’t think I was capable of making him laugh!


    • AA.DA.RA. November 16, 2010 at 4:16 pm #

      Joy. I think slapstick’s your shtick.


  3. Brenton November 16, 2010 at 3:18 pm #

    I can’t think of any guys I know who I would say are funnier than any girls I know. I think in general that women elicit more laughter from me than guys, and that the guys who make me laugh the most are also the most ditzy.


    • netanya November 16, 2010 at 3:24 pm #

      Thanks for weighing in, Brenton. It’s interesting to hear the word “ditzy” applied to men! I think it also depends on our idea of humor…is it physical comedy and slapstick that makes us laugh, or glib, dry one-liners, or hilariously over-exaggerated stories? These factors definitely come into play.


  4. Jess November 20, 2010 at 4:17 pm #

    psht. I think you and I are comedic gold.


  5. grackyfrogg November 22, 2010 at 9:09 pm #

    i actually wrote about this on my blog a while back, in response to a Vanity Fair piece titled “Why Women Aren’t Funny” (published in 2006, so that just goes to show, the question isn’t a new one!) here’s the link to my post if you’re interested:


    • netanya November 22, 2010 at 9:17 pm #

      Grace!! Oh my gosh. Read it, loved it. Your post, that is. I wasn’t willing to read the full article because I knew it would get my blood boiling. My favorite of your excerpts, though, was the observation that funny women tend to be “hefty, dykey, or Jewish.” I shudder even as I type that. Well, at least I’ve got one out of three…and that’s where I’m gonna stay! Oh, and the “cunning minxes” part! That made me want to poke that guy in the eyeballs. But, I may start calling you a cunning minx, just for laughs. Although, since we’re women, it won’t really be funny…just kind of cute, or something. :p Thanks for sharing!


  6. grackyfrogg November 22, 2010 at 9:46 pm #

    glad you liked the post, joy! yeah, i remember how mad i was way back when i first read that article, so don’t waste your time. but i do find it interesting that this topic keeps coming up!


  7. AA.DA.RA. November 22, 2010 at 10:32 pm #

    JOY: While listening to my favorite female singer/songwriters, I saw a correlation between your topic and the world of female pop-musicians. As a biology major in college, I would have to say that it all boils down to sex, more specifically the process by which animals pass on their genes to the next generation. Contrary to what the Fashion Industry may tell us, women are not the “fairer sex”. I referring specifically to the concept known throughout the Animal Kingdom as “Male Plumage.” Men grow beards and lose their hair (Women, Thank God, Do Not), both sexual signals of dominance, likened to the silver-back gorilla, the peacock, or the lion. But besides physical traits, these sexual markers show up in animal behavior as well, most obviously noted in the song bird. The male song bird has a farther range and melodic repertoire than their female counterparts. All this to say, when a guy is up on stage singing a song or telling a joke in front of any audience, biologically speaking, he’s just trying to get laid. When a female tells a joke, it’s likely because she’s just naturally funny.


  8. Dawn December 1, 2010 at 10:51 pm #

    As a funny male friend of mine once said:

    Most people think they have a “good” sense of humor, and most of them are wrong.


    • netanya December 3, 2010 at 2:10 pm #

      Ouch! Well, like I said, humor is subjective…but I hope I’m the exception to your friend’s rule because I think I’m pretty damn funny.


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