Do Men and Women Laugh at Different Things? (Post #331)

So, I’m in the midst of pitching a piece where I discuss whether or not gays and lesbians laugh at different things.  Most comedians will tell you, unfortunately, that it’s more fun to play an all gay-male room as opposed to a lesbian one.  I have this distinct memory of playing a gay and lesbian ski weekend in Vermont.  (Yes, this exists.) The show was at a town hall.  When I arrived, the men were on one side of the room and the women on the other.  An aisle separated them.  It was not some kind of Sadie Hawkins dance gone awry.  It was a “ladies only” / “men only” evening – never would there be an “all skate.”  The do-we-laugh-at-different-things question was laid out very clearly for me that night.  When I got up to perform, the right side of the room (filled with gay men) howled with laughter, while the left side of the room (lesbians) stared.  The gay men got so rowdy that, at one point, a man threw a glittery slipper up at me.


red glitter shoe

From an Arab, an insult. From a queen, the highest form of praise.


Now, you could say that maybe my comedy is more centered towards (or attractive to) gay men.  Possible.  You could also say that this is true of ‘older’ lesbians – the stare and glare approach, that is.  Perhaps the older generations of lady lovers tended to be more politically correct in their struggle for equality.  While the younger generations, less so.  Also possible.


But, then I took sexuality out of the question and I started thinking about a bigger, more holistic, thought…DO THE SEXES LAUGH AT DIFFERENT THINGS?


boys and girls laughing

What the feck is he laughing at??!!!


I can’t help, but think of Seth Macfarlane’s Oscar hosting and the subsequent fallout when bringing up this topic.  SEXIST.  That’s what all the e-papers were saying the next day.  SEXIST.  Full of boob and rape jokes.  Seth doesn’t like women, etc.


I don’t -typically- see it that way.  Sure there’s that rare comedian that I think is just an absolute mysogynist.  The truth is, I’m not sure that’s the case with Seth.  Shock is his brand of humor.  Look no further than Family Guy and he’s waving around an advertisement for the envelope he often pushes.  I think the one big thing we’re all missing is that we allow cartoons far more leeway than we do actual humans.  An animated something or other can say the most horrible thing and we go, “Ha, ha…that dog/ muppet/ cartoon man/ thing that isn’t real said this…”  THAT is why I think some of Seth’s jokes fell flat.  The female stuff was not the biggest bomber to me.  The biggest bomber was the line, “Who got into Lincoln’s head deeper than Spielberg…John Wilkes Booth.”  Boos.  It received actual boos.  But, imagine if Stewie had said it.  Now it’s much funnier.


The comedian in me just really didn’t find the show all that sexist.


However, I can’t for the life of me understand how Jackass is funny – the show or the movie.  Yes, slam a 2×4 with exposed nails into your genitalia, but don’t expect your idiocy to make me belly laugh.  Sure, cut your self with a piece of paper over 100 times and then jump into a bath filled with rubbing alcohol.  If actual punchlines are now to be substituted eternally with, “God, you’re an a**hole” then I suppose Jackass IS funny.  But, I don’t buy it.  I suppose I don’t get it.  Is it because I have a vag?


I don’t know.  My hope is that funny is funny.  My hope is that I liked Tina Fey and Amy Poehler hosting the Golden Globes better than Macfarlane hosting the Oscars -simply- because they were funnier.


What about you?  Is your undercarriage the boss of your funny bone?



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Photo creds:

boy-laughing, slippers