Friday, September 18, 2009
Birds, Bees And Tee-Hees
We were talking about comedians at work this week and being a shallow lot the discussion quickly moved on from merely which ones we thought were funny to those we thought were attractive. And it quickly became apparent – certainly from the males – that if they found a female comedienne attractive they tended not to find her very funny. But this was OK. This lack of comedy skill was forgiven totally provided there was the redeeming presence of a nice face, or nice tits, or a nice arse. Eye candy made up for all the comedy shortcomings.
And yet those comedians we (the men) deemed to be masters of laughter were all unanimously declared – by male and female alike – to be Hound Headed Troglodytes From Planet Ugly.
Or at the very least Plain Janes and Joe Averages.
Such a judgment seemed rather sweeping.
And it got me to thinking. Is it true across the board?
On the face of it, it seems to be. A quick example: I think Frankie Boyle and David Mitchell are the funniest things on the comedy circuit period. Witty, sharp, intelligent and frequently thought provoking. Everything I could desire in a comedian. But attractive? To anybody?
Surely not (though some of you may prove me wrong). Frankie Boyle by his own admission looks like one of The Proclaimers (which isn’t a good look even for a corpse) and David Mitchell is, well, er, very funny.
As for comediennes I find attractive, Lucy Porter would be top of my list. Petite, brunette, curvy, vaguely elfin in an early Kate Bush kind of way... she’s hot hot hot. I like watching her.
But she doesn’t make me laugh. Much. She raises the occasional smile and something else but that’s about all.
Jo Brand, however, I think is much funnier and well, there you go. Argument proved.
Or is it?
I think the possible explanation for this rather sexist dissection of who is good and who is not good at comedy is centered around gender politics in a different way. Being heterosexual I don’t, by and large, find other blokes attractive. Sorry, I just don’t. Instead I seek out other admirable traits in men. Intelligence, wit, a certain coolness, etc. As for women, well, I know what I like and I gravitate towards it.
But women’s humour is just different from men’s. Stand-up comedy isn’t as broad as people think. It’s the old French & Saunders thing. Women (mostly) found them very funny while us men (mostly) just didn’t get the joke. Because it was from a strong female perspective. It just wasn’t meant or pitched for us.
Is the converse true though? Do women not get bloke jokes?
Plainly they do. So are male comedians pitching their gags to a more universal audience while female comediennes pitch theirs to a stronger female demographic?
I’m confused. Maybe there is no clearly defined right or wrong answer.
It was interesting to note, however, that some of my female colleagues found Frankie Boyle and co. not only “not funny” but also not very attractive as well. They lost out on both counts.
I guess there’s no accounting for taste.
But as long as everybody is happy and getting their laughter injections somewhere, does any of it really matter?