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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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 - 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. 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.