The BBC is a bit like an embarrassing uncle who keeps getting pissed at family parties, and upsetting everyone with his casual racism and crude sexual innuendoes. Actually, if the beeb were a person then it would be Jeremy Clarkson. But this isn’t a piece about Clarkson’s potential departure from Top Gear, for I have to actually give a shit about something in order to write about it.
This is about a story that aired yesterday, concerning a decision made by the BBC to start ticking boxes on their comedy shows. By that, I mean that they released a statement to the effect that shows such as Mock the Week must now feature at least one comic with breasts on their panel. Or else.
Breast-free comedian, Jason Manford, has piped up in support of ‘the laydeez’ by exclaiming that the BBC shouldn’t have just said it out loud like that. Now everyone will know that the breast-festooned (breastooned?) comedians are merely token females.
This story has raised some interesting questions, such as: are women funny? Or: can women ever be as funny as men?
Much as these sorts of questions – and the inevitable “no, not now, not ever” answers I always receive in response (from both sexes) – infuriate me, I can understand why there may be this misconception.
I have personal experience of my own prejudice against female comics. I mean, who hasn’t scrolled through the various stand up comedy titles on Netflix, systematically rejecting every comic who has a vagina? I know I have. So the other day I decided to watch just the women, to see if I could be proved wrong, and I was.
You see, of all of the stand up comedy videos on Netflix, perhaps ten percent of the comedians with boobs are funny, and about the same percentage of comedians without boobs are funny. The rest of it is utter shit, regardless of the gender of the comedian.
The reason it would appear that men are funnier is because there are considerably more male stand ups in the first place, and you don’t need to have a masters in further maths to know that ten percent of not very many equals fuck all.
So why aren’t there more female comedians?
I have a theory, and it has to do with hotness.
I hope you don’t think I am being sexist when I say this, but… Men are shallow. There. I’ve said it, zero fucks given.
You see, while women will see qualities such as wit, self deprecation, and the ability to make us laugh as extremely attractive, these very qualities are likely to make a woman extremely unattractive to men.
This paradigm tends to produce unattractive female comedians, who’s material focuses solely on how unattractive they are and how shit their life is. Which gets old very quickly.
Now don’t get all huffy at me and launch into a diatribe about how you love a funny woman, and how just the other day your life partner, Hermionie, made you do a wee with her bang-on impression of Janet Street Porter. Sorry, buddy I’m not buying it.
I’m not sure why a woman can’t be hot AND funny to a man. Perhaps it’s not considered feminine to crack jokes. Perhaps (if I may be so bold) men find it a bit threatening. After all, women are meant to prettily laugh at men’s jokes. Not the other way around.
I mean, if women start going around being funny, before you know it they’ll be earning money, and asking men out, and paying for things. And then what?
I know. It’s a terrifying thought, but luckily we aren’t there yet.
For now it seems all women must make a choice. Shall I be hot? Or shall I be funny? In the interests of propagating the species (or maybe just maintaining the option to indulge in a little carnal delight on a Friday night), most women have gone for option A.
So, what can be done?
I’m damned if I know. Sadly, I believe it all rests with the men folk. Because until you lot man up and grow a pair, women are always going to be weary of showing you their funny side, in case you get all insecure and run away.
Until that day, we have beautiful mavericks like Ms Shlesinger (pictured above) blazing trails. Read her blog here, and then tell me women can’t be funny.