For GQ‘s comedy issue, The Office actress Ellie Kemper skewered the late Christopher Hitchens’s 2007 essay, “Why Women Aren’t Funny.” The notorious article eloquently and eruditely argued that women don’t need to know how to accost the opposite sex with aggressive half-truths, regardless of their reception, as funny men do, because women evolved prettier and can attract mates that way. Here’s how Kemper flips it in “Can Men Be Funny?”:
We women, with our sumptuous breasts and our shapely hips,have to be funny in order literally to survive. Our curves render us useless for just about anything except cracking wise and quip-firing. Sometimes our breasts are so big that we actually can’t move; we have no choice but to sit very still in one place and come up with joke after joke. Sometimes — though rare — our hips are so wide, that we physically cannot fit through the exit door of the comedy club that our office co-workers dragged us to after happy hour. So the only option available to us is to stayinside the comedy club, absorbing comedy act after comedy act, and in so doing, completing the full transformation from comedy student to comedy master.
But the incontrovertible and eternal proof that men actually are not funny comes after the satire, in the comments section, where user “Throwawaycomment” writes:
Made an account just to say this:
Really poor concept for an article. So you’re telling me that a woman doesn’t usually find men funny? You mean like how the entire history of popular comedy has been completely dominated by male performers because the majority of the audience was men and men don’t usually find women funny? How it is a sudden revelation that men and women find different things funny, and that the people who talk about the things they do find funny are really likely to be their own gender? And then, what, you decide to turn it into a dating advice article half-way through, then a switch to commenting on classical poetry? What?
In particular I have to take MAJOR offense to this particular statement: “the truth is, there is no evolutionary cause for you to have to be funny.” Are you kidding me, really? Have you never, ever met a male who wasn’t really attractive, or have you just never paid attention to them? Because let me let YOU in on a little secret, those of us men who can’t get ladies through looks alone (and that would be most of us) have had a serious evolutionary cause to develop other skills. It may not always be comedy, some men go for athletic or artistic ability or the tried and true giant bank account, but many of us spend a long time developing and honing our comedic skills as part of our attempt to attract a mate, and those that are smart about it develop comedy that women appreciate.
And seriously, “men, God bless them, just aren’t funny”? So:
(Just to name a few out of hundreds)
Aren’t funny? Huh, guess all of us fans must just be wrong then.
Men! They can’t take a joke. And there are many more where Throwawaycomment came from. Even the ones who are aware of Hitchens’s essay seem indignant. This in itself would be kind of funny if it weren’t so sad.