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Girls Poop

This past weekend I saw two Boston University School of Theater shows. Despite the fact that these shows were some of the first to go into performances this quarter and therefore had shortened rehearsal periods, both appeared incredibly well rehearsed and professional. Both were musicals. Both were funny. Both had elements of puppetry and moments in which the fourth wall was intentionally broken for the purpose of storytelling. Both were all male casts.

One was Gutenberg! the Musical!, a musical comedy in which two men pitch their idea for a new musical to broadway producers they hope are in the audience. The other was Three Blessed Brothers, a children’s show based off of native american folklore. Though the story of Three Blessed Brothers was not inherently comedic, moments of comedy were required in order to ensure meet the needs of the targeted audience.

As a female actress currently cast in a non-comedic piece of theater, I became increasingly jealous of my male peers. Additionally, as a circus clown, slapstick appreciator and lover of both comedic texts and physical comedy, I often find myself jealous of male actors.  We live in a society that seems to be continuously asking, “Can women be funny?”

In a Vanity Fair article entitled, “Why Women Aren’t Funny,” Christopher Hitchens writes, “The chief task in life that a man has to perform is that of impressing the opposite sex, and Mother Nature (as we laughingly call her) is not so kind to men. In fact, she equips many fellows with very little armament for the struggle. An average man has just one, outside chance: he had better be able to make the lady laugh… Women have no corresponding need to appeal to men in this way. They already appeal to men, if you catch my drift.” Additionally, Hitchens quotes Fran Lebowits in his article: “The cultural values are male; for a woman to say a man is funny is the equivalent of a man saying that a woman is pretty. Also, humor is largely aggressive and pre-emptive, and what’s more male than that?”

Actor, Joseph Gordon Levitt‘s response when asked what it was like to work with Emily Blunt, “Most pretty girls aren’t funny,” provides evidence for the theory that women aren’t funny because they are already attractive to men in other, superficial ways.

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Sentiments like Joseph’s and that which are expressed through the previously mentioned Vanity Fair article are what encourage nearly every female comedian to include a section in their set devoted essentially to apologizing for being or insisting that they truly are who they are: funny women.

Men are intimidated by funny women because they are then seen as not potential dates but as competition. Its hard to laugh, even when something is funny, if you are intimidated. Therefore, it seems that in order to be found purely funny by men a woman would have to be either lesbian or asexual. 

However, something that is universally funny is the breaking of expectations. So, when female comic, Sarah Silverman– a pretty, normal looking, well dressed, jewish girl- spouts out strings of profanity and toilet jokes its funny

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. Additionally, something that is universally funny is the solidifying of stereotypes. So, when Mindy Kaling‘s character on the TV series, Mindy Project, emotionally eats its funny.

images-2 The truth is, the best comedians are self-aware. Perhaps us girls need to embrace our femininity as a source of comedy. Let’s use our stereotypical love of chocolate, our hot flashes, and our ability to poop (despite the male preference to assume we don’t) to make everyone laugh.

One comment on “Girls Poop

  1. Zoe, your blog post really resonates with me. As a comedic actor, I find that the roles I play become funny because I am a woman, not because I am trying to emmulate something that is masculine. In embracing the feminine I am able to find the humor in the parts I play

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