It is always fun to disagree with Christopher Hitchens. And from what I know about him, he won’t mind at all that I have the audacity to disagree with him even though he’s dead; he won’t mind anything much at all. But he did once write an article called “Why Women Aren’t Funny”, which skips the question of whether they are funny and gets straight to explaining why they’re not.
Most men, and let’s be honest about this, are tremendously unattractive. An average looking man is not a pretty sight. As Hitchens points out, this puts a great deal of pressure on men to have something more to their content. Personal interests are a hit and miss game; you’re unlikely to be allowed, by your female company, to go on about the wonderful cinematic beauty of video games, no matter how passionately you can hold court on that. No, the shared point of interest that is almost universe is a sense of humour. And given that women are already beautiful, it is the man’s job to offer the comic fodder.
And if you don’t think that a woman’s response to humour has sexual elements to it, consider the appearance of fawning that happens as a woman becomes comically engaged: “the head thrown back and the mouth wide open and the horse-shoe with lovely teeth and the tongue on display”. That spectacle is a great compliment to the male ego, and worth it for its own sake (and is why I like making people laugh). But it is definitely a simulacrum for something slightly more worthwhile. Humour is sexual. Funny women attract me; being funny is very sexy.
Men have higher pressure on them to be funny because they are the less attractive of the sexes (ask any bisexual). It should be no surprise that the reverse is also true: women are under less pressure to be funny because they are, by far, the most attractive of the sexes. Nick Frost, of Simon Pegg fame, attests to this. He says that because he is a bigger guy (and read into that what you will) he needs to make up for his with the larger personality he has developed. It seems being funny is easier than dieting.
But women are funny! And that was the question. Women definitely pass the benchmark for funny. Perhaps men are funnier, or more men are funny. But that was never the question. My female friends are funny. That’s pretty much the criteria for being one of my friends. I hate boredom in company. If I’m doing to be bored I’d rather be alone. At least then I can be bored on my own terms. But, with “being funny” the biggest criteria for being one of my friends, if you think women aren’t funny you have to account for why most of my friends are women.
You could, of course, flatter my ego and say that my devilish charm and rugged good looks mean these beautiful women have tried extra hard to impress me. I don’t disagree with Hitchens as much as I want to, though; men are funnier. I know that from the Stand-Up comedians, and the fact my funniest friends are male. If you disagree I invite you to impress me.