Sunday

Letter in reply to Christopher Hitchens "Why Women Aren't Funny"

What makes the female so much deadlier than the male? With assists from Fran Lebowitz, Nora Ephron, and a recent Stanford-medical-school study, the author investigates the reasons for the humor gap.
by Christopher Hitchens January 2007


Be your gender what it may, you will certainly have heard the following from a female friend who is enumerating the charms of a new (male) squeeze: "He's really quite cute, and he's kind to my friends, and he knows all kinds of stuff, and he's so funny … " (If you yourself are a guy, and you know the man in question, you will often have said to yourself, "Funny? He wouldn't know a joke if it came served on a bed of lettuce with sauce béarnaise.") However, there is something that you absolutely never hear from a male friend who is hymning his latest (female) love interest: "She's a real honey, has a life of her own … [interlude for attributes that are none of your business] … and, man, does she ever make 'em laugh."

Now, why is this? Why is it the case?, I mean. Why are women, who have the whole male world at their mercy, not funny? Please do not pretend not to know what I am talking about.

...All right—try it the other way (as the bishop said to the barmaid). Why are men, taken on average and as a whole, funnier than women? Well, for one thing, they had damn well better be. 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. Making them laugh has been one of the crucial preoccupations of my life. If you can stimulate her to laughter—I am talking about that real, out-loud, head-back, mouth-open-to-expose-the-full-horseshoe-of-lovely-teeth, involuntary, full, and deep-throated mirth; the kind that is accompanied by a shocked surprise and a slight (no, make that a loud) peal of delight—well, then, you have at least caused her to loosen up and to change her expression. I shall not elaborate further.

(Read the full article, if you can stomach it...)

~
Dear Christopher,
There is no need for you to elaborate further, probably put us all to sleep if you did...
I actually feel sorry for you, ol' bloke. You're a dreary sack who imbibes in the liquor so as to imagine that you're funny. I know 100s of women that have more humor in their handbag than you've in the whole of your gasping carcass. I know women that can make me guffaw for hours. I mean the snap my head back and show God my glottis kind of laughter. Blistering and unbridled, delivered deep into my soul by women that you, poor teetering Mr. Hitchens, can only dream about.

Oh, Chris! You heels heel! Funny women (perhaps all women) you're lucky enough to meet cause the misogynistic, inebriated urchins drinking scotch and arguing about Kafka deep within your gut to run screaming from the pub.
~
Joan Rivers: “Men find funny women threatening. They ask me, ‘Are you going to be funny in bed?’ ”
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Maryon Pearson: "Behind every successful man there is a surprised woman."
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Charlotte Whitton: "Whatever women do they must do twice as well as men to be thought half as good. Luckily, this is not difficult."
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Gloria Steinman: "A woman without a man is like a fish without a bicycle."
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Elayne Boosler: "When women are depressed they either eat or go shopping. Men invade another country."
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Erica Jong: "You see a lot of smart guys with dumb women, but you hardly ever see a smart woman with a dumb guy."
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Golda Meir: "Whether women are better than men I cannot say—but I can say they are certainly no worse."
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Fran Lebowitz: "Being a woman is of special interest only to aspiring male transsexuals. To actual women, it is simply a good excuse not to play football."
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Linda Ellerbee: "If men can run the world, why can't they stop wearing neckties? How intelligent is it to start the day by tying a little noose around your neck?"
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Marie Corelli: "I never married because there was no need. I have three pets at home which answer the same purpose as a husband. I have a dog which growls every morning, a parrot which swears all afternoon and a cat that comes home late at night."
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Gilda Radner: "I base most of my fashion taste on what doesn't itch."
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Rita Rudner: "Some women hold up dresses that are so ugly and they always say the same thing: 'This looks much better on.' On what? On fire?"
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Erica Jong: "Show me a woman who doesn't feel guilt and I'll show you a man."
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Rebecca West: "I only know that people call me a feminist whenever I express sentiments that differentiate me from a doormat or a prostitute."
~
And, Christopher that's only a short list of the millions of funny women that exist world wide. And we only know of their spoken words because they happened to be lucky enough to have been heard above the godawful, incessant braying of the millions of men like yourself who are desperately trying to be humorous so that even the least of funny women will pay attention to them!

With all due respect,
thepoetryman

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