Are women funny?

(58 Posts)
kim147 Sat 30-Mar-13 16:35:09
TheSmallClanger Sun 31-Mar-13 13:31:06

Conventional wisdom seems to think not, but the funniest people I know, in person, are all female.

notimefors Sun 31-Mar-13 14:24:37

My sisters make me laugh until I cry. Maybe that's just a sibling thing though?

notimefors Sun 31-Mar-13 14:26:09

Other than them I know plenty of funny women. I don't understand why conventional wisdom is as you say Clanger.

MrsWolowitz Sun 31-Mar-13 14:28:20

Well MN is predominantly women and I have honestly has tears running down my face from laughing so much at the wit on here.

Yes, I think women are funny.

Exhibit A - MN
Exhibit B - Dawn French. I rest my case.

The link on my phone won't work, so I don't know who the OP is referring to, but...

Exhibit C: Victoria Coren

I find someone funny when they are both intelligent and humble, regardless of their gender.

kim147 Sun 31-Mar-13 14:47:05

The series has been very good.

People on here have made me crack up. Especially on AIBU and chat.

navada Sun 31-Mar-13 14:54:14

Women are funny, but they're not great at being funny in public ( too self conscious maybe ? ) hence why there's not too many female stand ups.

slug Sun 31-Mar-13 17:07:54

I know I'm funny because when my quips and jokes down the pub are repeated by one of the men they get huge laughs.

Bue Sun 31-Mar-13 17:09:56

In person some of the funniest people I know are women, and MN leaves me in stitches on a regular basis. I can't imagine a forum full of men making me laugh until I cry. I find it puzzling that women's humour doesn't always translate into good 'public funnyness' ie on panel shows. But then you get a golden example like Amy Poehler and Tina Fey, who killed the Golden Globes and were funnier than any male awards show hosts since Billy Crystal in the early 90s.

greenhill Sun 31-Mar-13 17:33:25

In real life, women are naturally more quick witted, good at repartee and have a good line in self deprecating put downs. I laugh out loud, regularly, at stuff I see on MN. I much prefer comedy series written by women (Miranda, Absolutely Fabulous etc) or with female leads (Tamsin Grieg) and find that novels are normally quietly funny, when written by women (Sue Townsend, Fay Weldon etc) yet find a lot of male humour baffling (Terry Pratchett, Nick Hornby etc)

Yet it is often men, in work situations or down the pub, that want to foist their latest joke upon you. It seems more contrived, but can often be a sign that men want to have the spotlight, and also don't want to talk about anything personal. Maybe this is why there are more male stand up comedians, as they are likely to be more extrovert and don't take criticism to heart (ignores honourable exceptions of Bette Midler, Lily Tomlin, Kathy Lette and Ruby Wax etc)

greenhill Sun 31-Mar-13 18:06:50

Oops...Kathy Lette doesn't do stand up, she's a novelist, but appears on chat shows and is funny verbally, as well as on the page.

Hullygully Sun 31-Mar-13 18:19:56


kim147 Sun 31-Mar-13 18:57:26

Has anyone listened to the link? She's a stand up discussing this. She makes a lot of the points made here.

ThatVikRinA22 Sun 31-Mar-13 19:00:19



flippinada Sun 31-Mar-13 19:08:54

Yes, there are loads of funny women.

I'd say that the main reason more women don't do stand up type comedy is because it's rather misogynistic, adversarial and not particularly family friendly.

And yes, I'm aware this is a massive generalisation.

ThatVikRinA22 Sun 31-Mar-13 19:09:45

Josie Long...

go and check out "the alternative comedy experience" on comedy central - hosted by none other than Bridget Christies hubby.....Stewart Lee.

flippinada Sun 31-Mar-13 19:22:05

Josie Long is ace.

Keep meaning up check out Bridget Christie but haven't yet do thank you for the link Vicar

Also recommend Shappi Korshandi and Susan Calman.

Issy Suttie also great.

Not so keen on Sarah Millican, find her a bit bland.

Love French and Saunders, both very talented.

flippinada Sun 31-Mar-13 19:24:44

And I nearly forgot Victoria Wood <slapped wrist>

TomDudgeon Sun 31-Mar-13 19:58:24

I've noticed that though both James Corden and Ruth Jones wrote Gavin and Stacey he got much more credit for it, especially nearer the beginning

piprabbit Sun 31-Mar-13 20:06:02

In no particular order:
Jo Brand.
Vicky Pepperdine.
Jennifer Saunders.
Jessica Hynes.
Olivia Coleman.
Carla Lane.
Caroline Ahern.
Miranda Hart.

Honestly funny women are everywhere, often creating and writing massively successful and entertaining series.

Sunnywithshowers Sun 31-Mar-13 20:10:22


NuhichNuhaymuh Sun 31-Mar-13 20:11:18

Not sure there's that many funny male stand ups though. Some that I've seen on tv don't even make me smirk.

LineRunner Sun 31-Mar-13 20:15:21

slug I find that happens to me as well. smile

Funny women are funny.
Funny men are funny Tim Minchin, anyone?

I know lots of deeply unfunny men, women and children too.

I have laughed tears on MN so many times; I do think the funniness is facilitated by the anonymity and swearing. It is a interesting that many people are not as funny in person as they are online.

Having said that, a lot of professional comedians are not v funny in RL. They too need a script grin.

greenhill Sun 31-Mar-13 21:37:18

Thanks kim I just had a chance to listen to your Bridget Christie link. I'll keep an eye out for her stuff from now on smile

kim147 Sun 31-Mar-13 21:51:40

You should have heard her show on feminism. Full of anger - especially about the Bic pen. But made some really good comments.

joanofarchitrave Sun 31-Mar-13 21:53:59

I do think it's a competition thing. Most women I know make me laugh, a lot. Most men I know, frankly, are dull, and those who think they are funny are painful - I don't know any women except me whose idea of being funny is to recite old Blackadder/Fast Show/Monty Python lines, but I know a miserably large number of men who do this, with the added joy of doing them incorrectly.

However, men will battle each other to be the funniest in a group, and so the ones who want to be funny will work hard to win, and that makes for improvement in the end; they will usually have been doing it for a minimum of 10 - 15 years by the time they get a 'break' in their early 20s.

If I am in a group with some funny women, I want to hear them be funny, not compete with them.

FasterStronger Mon 01-Apr-13 13:31:29

I dont think men like funny women.

there is that research about men doing the most talking in a conversation but perceiving a women, who is not quiet but talks less than 50% of the time, as dominating the conversation.

so if they don't like us speaking (I know I am talking in generalisations here) they certainly don't like us speaking and being funnier then them personally.

(DISCLAIMER: not all men. I like lots of them)

I'll listen to the link in a mo, see if it squares with anything that I think.

Thinking about one specific situation in my life where a lot of funniness goes on ... the women's humour tends to be a lot more situation-specific. It's not all in-jokes, but rather people bouncing off one another, harking back to things that have been said in the past. The men do that too, but they will also 'tell jokes' - often ironically, signalling the TERRIBLE PUN in advance, but ironic or not, they do do it. The women do this very rarely. The result is that a lot more of the men's humour is more generally accessible, they could get a laugh (or at least a groan) out of complete strangers. This is less true of the women.

The other generalisation is that the women's humour is almost never cruel, and the men's quite often is. Again, that seems to make the men's humour a bit more accessible.

So as a massive sweeping generalisation - women's humour is a bonding thing, men's a display thing?

Thumbwitch Mon 01-Apr-13 13:57:06

Some women are funny. Some women think they're funny but I don't agree with them. Some women are not funny.
Ditto men.

But there is no reason for women NOT to be funny.

However, I think a lot of men have trouble with some female humour.

BOEUF Mon 01-Apr-13 13:59:33

I listened to the whole series, it was brilliant. It's a shame it isn't all available online, only the last week's.

Thumbwitch Mon 01-Apr-13 13:59:47

Just to add - I don't find Sarah Silverman funny, for example. But I have seen some very funny women doing stand-up.

IsBella Mon 01-Apr-13 14:20:46

The idea of women not being funny is just another way for men to put down women.

What they mean is, when women are funny and the humour is about us not them, it doesn't interest them.

In the same way that men wouldn't go and see that brilliant, hilarious film Bridesmaids because it was all about women and as everyone knows women aren't supposed to be real characters in films, they're just supposed to be there as a foil to the real hero, the man, they won't laugh at women's humour.

We've been socialised to believe that stuff men are concerned with is universal therefore they're funny - the stuff women are concerned with is just women's stuff and therefore only funny to women.

Don't know about anyone else, but I'm fucking hilarious.

Seriously though...

there are funny women and funny men....just the same as there are serious women and serious men. What a odd question.

kim147 Mon 01-Apr-13 14:37:09

visualise - It's the title of the comedy series on the link.

BOEUF Mon 01-Apr-13 14:45:25

Did you want a discussion about the radio series, Kim, or the issue? I'm n

BOEUF Mon 01-Apr-13 14:45:50

ot clear from your title.

YouMakeMeWannaLaLa Mon 01-Apr-13 15:01:16

I agree with Bella.

And FWIW 'Getting On' is the most hilarious thing I've ever seen, if you ever get the it!

TiggyD Tue 02-Apr-13 10:58:39

Some are and some aren't. Susan Calman is, Gina Yashere isn't.

navada Tue 02-Apr-13 11:05:21

Oh I love Gina Yashere grin

Thumbwitch Tue 02-Apr-13 11:46:02

me too, Navada!

TiggyD Tue 02-Apr-13 12:19:32

Then you are both wrong to like her.

FreudiansSlipper Tue 02-Apr-13 12:25:05

I think when you get a group of women together it is the honesty, no trying to get one up on someone else that makes us funny smile we are happy to share the downsides of not being perfect and find humour in it

lots of funny women

Rossanne Barr she really pushed boundaries too and made it funny
Sarah Silverman
Jo Brand
Joan Rivers - not everyone likes her but no one is sharper or quicker at comebacks
Kathy Lette
Victoria Wood
Tina Fey
Susie Essman
Wanda Sykes
Amy Sedaris (David's sister)

I think Gina Yashere is very funny. I like Victoria Cohen too

Sarah Millican is not as funny as she thinks she is

FreudiansSlipper Tue 02-Apr-13 12:28:41

coren not cohen

Thumbwitch Tue 02-Apr-13 12:31:44

Only in your opinion, TiggyD, which I believe to be wrong. smile

Pootles2010 Tue 02-Apr-13 12:41:41

I think the Ruth Jones/James Corden thing is really interesting actually. G&S made me weep with laughter, but James Corden's stuff with that other one from G&S is absolute bilge (suggesting that she's far superior maybe?), and yet he's far more famous that Ruth Jones.

Would be interesting to know if he's more famous because he gets offered more stuff, or because she's not as interested in doing all the tv shows he's in iyswim?

greenhill Tue 02-Apr-13 13:02:36

Ruth Jones was also excellent in Hattie, the Hattie Jacques biopic on BBC4. She was the lead in a series on Sky called Stella. I think a new series has just been commissioned.

James Corden's squeaky voice is on CBeebies as he is the narrator of Charlie Bear. I'm not sure that makes him more famous than her!

MooncupGoddess Tue 02-Apr-13 13:39:02

I know several very witty men and women... but men are much more inclined to laugh at their own jokes, in my experience... and they're often not very good jokes.

Most of the feminists I know are hilarious.

FucktidiaBollockberry Tue 02-Apr-13 13:54:26

James Corden has ordinary looks and a penis and is therefore accepted into the sleb club. He's prepared to use his male privilege to appear in misogynistic boys-club TV programmes and fit the role of "chubby mate".

Ruth Jones is beautiful but fat and therefore doesn't meet the patriarchal beauty standards a woman needs to in order to be accepted into the sleb club.

Hence his greater fame.

Some of my favourite comedians are female. I love the Kath & Kim comedy series, especially the woman who plays Sharon, and I've recently discovered Mae Martin, I love her!

The thing is, men always think they're funny because women will laugh at the feeblest joke, because they don't want to seem rude. I always feel compelled to laugh along because otherwise you just get accused of having no sense of humour. I'd like to be brave enough to stop though, and I'm getting there. Laughing along with a boring man who shouldn't be encouraged is part of the social flirting women are raised to do, that so often backfires.

piprabbit Tue 02-Apr-13 16:40:35

I'd like to add Kathy Burke and Julia Davis to my list.

YouMakeMeWannaLaLa Tue 02-Apr-13 17:03:33

Good point Singing I can't bear to let anyone's joke fall flat even if I can see the punchline a mile away or have heard the "hilarious" story a million times or even dislike the person so will always fake laughter.

Yet I have a particular male friend who never laughs at my hilarious grin observations but I will often hear him repeating them to others or even back to me.

Anecdotes are not data and all that but it fits with your theory.

BOEUF Tue 02-Apr-13 20:30:04

I've just listened to the whole show again, and laughed even more. I actually love her a lot, in my heart.

monica77798 Thu 04-Apr-13 10:13:34

I think there is a big difference between being funny with your friends, family, or co-workers, and standing up on stage and making an audience laugh. Most of the people that most people know who they think are hilarious would actually make awful comedians.

DonDrapersAltrEgoBigglesDraper Fri 05-Apr-13 06:30:22

I think women are hilarious; Mumsnet is a daily case in point.

The thing is that when a male comedian crashes and burns, it's his failing. When a woman comedian flatlines, it's proof that 'women aren't funny'. <rolls eyes>

I know it's not popular to admit it, but I adore Miranda - she has me weeping with laughter. I also love the other Miranda (Richardson). She is brilliant. Plus loads of others already mentioned. Ruth Jones, Kathy Burke, etc. Saw French and Saunders love once - practically left with a hernia. Ab Fab, with a pretty much exclusively female cast, achieved the near impossible by being popular with both sexes.

Also, thinking of various actresses who have impeccable comic timing, like Maggie Smith. And - hear me out grin - Jennifer Aniston. As she progressed in Friends, her comic talent improved exponentially. Shame it never translated into anything else...

Don't worry Biggles, I also love Miranda. grin And Sarah Millican. And one of the women at my work, who is very professional right up until she's animatedly telling you a story with wild hand gestures and fantastic facial expressions and has the whole room in stitches!

Maybe I'm lucky, but my DH mostly gets "women's humour" and laughs just as much as me, he even bought Bridesmaids on dvd, then gave it to me!

I think you need quite a lot of confidence to be publically funny, and of course, us women should not be confident in front of the menz. hmm

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