Posted by
Kyria Abrahams
• 06.20.12 09:00 am

Last Saturday, in an interview with Larry Getlen in the New York Post, Adam Carolla was quoted as saying what every man I know secretly thinks anyway: men are, as a whole, funnier than women.

“They make you hire a certain number of chicks, and they’re always the least funny on the writing staff. The reason why you know more funny dudes than funny chicks is that dudes are funnier than chicks,” he said, in preparation for a month of masturbating alone in his office.

Immediately, outraged blog posts started popping up, and Adam was decried as a misogynist and an asshole and a bad father for insinuating that his daughter should become a sitcom writer because it’s easy.

Despite this, that guy from The Man Show made it pretty clear that’s how he personally feels and he feels that way because he’s a comedian and it’s his business to feel that way. Adam also said he doesn’t particularly care what anybody thinks about it.

So here’s what people think about it:

1. Adam is mean and a jerk!
2. What if a woman said men weren’t funny?
3. He is wrong for not finding every woman alive absolutely hilarious!
4. Grrrr! Vaginas! Change your mind, damnit!

Now, I don’t know Adam Carolla, nor do I have any opinion on him. He could be a replicant, he could eat black babies. He could, in fact, actually hate women and rape one or two every day at lunch. This is information I don’t have. Ultimately, I don’t really think it’s relevant. The point is, every time a man says women aren’t funny, women respond in the same way. They say: You’re wrong.

The problem is, by simply responding with “You’re an asshole and a woman hater,” you ignore the idea that individual human beings are entitled to their own sense of humor.

For example, I don’t find a lot of humor in Def Comedy Jam, but that doesn’t mean I think the South should have won the Civil War. It means talking about black women’s weaves is just is not funny to me. It’s not my life experience. I don’t care if you pull a Clockwork Orange on my eyeballs and play Steve Harvey on an infinite loop while feeding me a heroic dose of mushrooms and tickling my feet—I’m not going to crack a smile at a man in purple double-breasted suit. I simply don’t care that white people dance like THIS.

But no one would say the reason I’m bored by most Def Jam-style comics is because I’m a racist. I’m not expected to like it. So why does it have to be misogynistic to think most women aren’t funny?

All this is to say: women actually are funny. Women are side-splittingly hilarious, in fact. Mostly to other women. To men, however, they’re usually kinda "meh." I’m a woman, but all of my favorite comedians are men. Does that mean I hate women, too? Do I hate myself? What if I take a hammer to my vagina and scream, “I NEVER WANTED YOU!” while pounding my clit into Veal Marsala and listening to Kathy Griffin? Choices!

Poor, dead, Christopher Hitchens! His legacy, unfortunately, seems to be a boorish, vague observation in Vanity Fair that women aren’t funny because, evolutionarily, they didn’t need to be. Sure, the man had some pretty solid arguments against religion and God and stuff, but let’s remember him for who his favorite female comedian was, shall we? Later, we’ll get a sneak peak at a posthumous recipe book for the Hitch’s favorite home-cooked meals: Linguini is Not Great: How Ragu Poisons Everything.

That women don’t need to be funny is an interesting argument, I guess, but there’s simply no way to prove it. Women don’t need to be funny? OK. I mean. Maybe? You either agree or disagree; and if you do agree it’s on the basis that it “sounds about right.” The baby ain’t swimming because the baby ain’t got no legs.

How about this. How about instead of saying that women aren’t funny (which is histrionic, overreaching, and based in opinion) let’s say this instead: Most men don’t find most women funny. And this, in turn, really pisses off most women. Because they find themselves fucking hilarious.

Instead of getting all red-faced and angry about men not thinking I’m funny (mercy me, whatever shall I do?), I decided that I wanted to delve deeper into the question itself. That is: Why don’t men think women are funny? After some thought, I came up with this hypothesis:

I bet it has something to do with their jokes.

With the help of a magical wizard named YouTube the White, I watched five 5-7 minute (industry standard) sets from five men and five women who are well-respected in the comedy scene as of late. These are not open-mikers, they are rising stars. I purposely did not include great comics such as David Cross, Patton Oswalt, Louis CK, Sarah Silverman, Maria Bamford, or anyone who has had measurable long-term success as a comedian.

Instead, I chose the type of comics who show up in a HuffPo “Comics we’d love to get pedicures with!” photo spread. Where possible, I used a set that had aired on late-night television. I wrote down every premise they covered and then I compared notes.

The subjects the women spoke about were essentially all the same. They were, in short, all about themselves. Their life, their hair, their roommates, their feelings. In other words, all the female comedy was turned inward. Out of five 7-minute sets, there were only three jokes that spoke about outside events and only one joke about politics. It took 28 minutes before I laughed aloud.

The men, on the other hand, rarely spoke about themselves. Jokes about their appearance were used as soft openers in order to lead the audience into the set. This is not to say that male comedians are not capable of being horrible, self-involved, rambling bores. Dear God, are they ever! But out of my personal test group, they were not. They spoke liberally about history, religion, and politics. They spoke in pithy, crafted observations. Never once did they mention they felt fat.

Below is the list of topics I faithfully wrote down as each new premise presented itself (where topics repeated between comedians, I placed a numeric tally after the premise). In alphabetical order:

Female Comics

Apartment is annoying
Bathroom attendants
Being a female comedian (x2)
Cosmo Magazine
Dating is awkward (x2)
Did poorly in school
Doesn’t want kids because she’s “selfish”
Gay marriage
Gynecologists/pap smears
Hates New York
Her body (x2)
Her mom (x2)
Her vagina
How guys hit on her
It’s hard being a woman, putting on makeup, and wearing heels and stuff
Just got engaged
Just went through a breakup
Roommate is annoying
Sex and condoms
She’s flat-chested
She’s fat
She’s too pretty to do standup (x2)
What she’s wearing
What/who she looks like (x2)


Male comics:
Being thanked on an elevator
Clichés people use
Free AIDS clinics
God won’t help you bowl/God doesn’t exist
Having sex with animals
His name
Holding the phone between your ear and shoulder
How to treat AIDS
If the Jews killed Jesus
Jail shows
Mayan 2012 prediction
People asking him where he’s from
Pickle juice
The “ethnic needs” section of the supermarket
The age of sliced bread
The Cyclone at Coney Island
The Roman Empire
The storylines behind rollercoasters
Vegan soul food
What/who he looks like (x2)
White chocolate is racist


The first difference I noticed was how much easier it would be to guess the male comedians by looking at their premises. If you saw "Coney Island rollercoaster" and you know anything about comedy, you immediately know the comic I’m talking about. But, say, did you hear the one about the…vagina? You know the one about the vagina? Am I right, ladies? Oh yes, that one vagina joke. I’ve heard that one!

It’s not that women aren’t funny. That’s a stupid-ass thing to think, since obviously there are funny women.

However, I think female comedians don’t really want to relate to a greater audience. And ultimately, I think their core audience is just fine with this. If bachelorette parties are entertained and gay men are drinking it up, the comediennes are doing their job. Just like Def Jam and the Blue Collar Comedy Tour do what they’re paid to do. A lot of comedy is pandering to a core audience.

Interestingly, when men point out the women they DO find funny, they inevitably point to comedians such as Tina Fey and Sarah Silverman. That is, it’s the women who break this self-involved stereotype—comics who don’t constantly talk about themselves, and if they do, there’s a punchline. Comics who write jokes instead of telling stories. Comics who are harsh and focused and practiced. Women at the top of their craft.

Let me talk to the ladies in the crowd for just a minute here. Ladies? If you want men to find you funny, I’m afraid you’re going to need to broaden your topics of conversation. You’re going to need to talk about books and things outside your studio apartment in Brooklyn. However, if you don’t want men to find you funny, then just keep doing what you’re doing. Talk about yourself all day and all night! Talk about dating and read from your fourth-grade diary until the crowd carries you off on its shoulders. However, don’t squirt your period all over the couch when Adam Carolla says he doesn’t think most women are funny and doesn’t want to hire them for his show. Because you have the ability to change that.

Before you write a joke, why don’t you ask yourself: Do I actually have anything new to say? Am I adding value to people’s insights and beliefs? Or do I just tell stories and expect everyone in the audience to find me as adorable as my family and friends do?

How about this:

Instead of getting angry at men for saying you’re not funny, why don’t you go on stage before them and kill so fucking hard that they can’t follow you? Why don’t you write killer material and shove it in their face until they can’t deny how great you are? Why don’t you do what every other comic does and use your anger and determination as fuel to destroy the crowd?

There’s a lot of competition and resentment in comedy. Comedians are fucking assholes. If that upsets or intimidates you—male or female—then I’d say you’re not cut out for it. However, if it doesn’t upset you and inspires you, then get on stage and blow the room away and show Adam Carolla he was dead wrong. And if you can’t do that, then you’re not really funny, are you?




  1. jule_b_sorry says:


    There is nothing unique, interesting, fresh, or funny about the “women aren’t funny” meme. How ’bout coming up with some original material instead of pretending that agreeing with conservative old white dudes is somehow groundbreaking?

  2. RED says:

    1- You say they’re appealing to a niche audience but women represent 50% of the population. How is 3b people niche?

    2- You say crafting jokes is better than telling stories. I actually prefer the latter because the former are lies.

    3- There aren’t as many funny women as there are funny men. We all secretly know this to be true. Out of all the people we know there are usually about a dozen funny guys and maybe 2 or 3 women. This is because being funny means being a pop culture fanatic who knows every corny movie and can recite entire passages from songs. He’s memorized lyrics and thought about TV show plots for days on end. He is adept at doing social commentary because, in short, testosterone is a concentration drug and men are better at concentrating. This is why they’re better at math too. Comedy is basically just silly algebra.

  3. M. David says:

    In this comments section: reactionary, childish feminists.

  4. M. David says:

    If you actually read the article you would understand that it’s basic premise is this:

    Adam Corolla doesn’t find most women comedians funny, and neither do I. I wonder why?

    Maybe it’s the jokes they use!

    There’s nothing really offensive there if you have high school level reading comprehension, which apparently, Julie_b_ImaFucktard, does not.

  5. Nathan says:

    “Why don’t you do what every other comic does and use your anger and determination as fuel . . .”

    Thank you.

    Also, it should be noted that Hitchens wrote his article on women not being funny because someone challenged him to do it, not because he thought it was important commentary.

  6. ChuckD says:

    Brilliant piece, Kyria, and spot-on!

  7. I didn’t know that about Hitchens being challenged. Thanks for pointing that out.

  8. Ring Kodney says:

    I dunno. Sarah Silverman is all I can think of. I’ve got lists upon lists of dudes. Watch that Comedians of Comedy movie…Patton & Zach: hilarious. Maria Bamford: retarded…and not that good, funny, retarded.

  9. Big Gary says:

    I listened to his podcast once and it is a poor mans Howard Stern with sinus congestion.

  10. Baby Rik says:

    Jule- you really need to read this again and calm down. OK? Whoah.

  11. Lair says:

    Adam Corolla, star of THE MAN SHOW, said something “misogynistic”. A stunned world recoils in horror.
    There’s lots of funny cuntmedians, but there’s also a tendency for the sisterhood to coddle the unfunny ones for far too long because unlike cockmedians their feelings “matter”. While men have to go through a rough gauntlet of other grumpy men picking apart every bit after every set that goes poorly (or even ones that go well) I’ve noticed a lot more sympathy for an unfunny female comic after bombing. A lot of “that crowd sucked” and “those dumb guys just weren’t ready for the empowered viewpoint of such an intelligent goddess”. This treatment may force the males to tighten things up and sharpen their skills, while many of the females get nothing out of the deal except a chance to become more bitter.
    Locally there’s a place called “the comedy bar” that runs special classes strictly for women to help them stand-up all that much more. Free from the judgmental ears and eyes of an actual audience (since we all know those assholes never helped anyone become a better comic) something resembling a support group for unfunny women battered by crowd silence takes place lead by a “professional” female stand-up whose qualifications include being a staff writer on such Canadian Comedy Classics as “Being Erica” and “Pretty Single Woman With Some Sort Of Problem: The Series”.
    The only plus side I can see in all of this is that with more and more ladies thinking that telling people things that make them laugh is a viable career move the competition amongst them should force some of the better ones into the spotlight.
    …or maybe we’ll just hire the good looking ones.

  12. anon says:

    women are just naturally less funny than men. I’m sure its biological.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Lisa lampaneli is funny.

  14. Funnier Than Most Men In Dumb Hats says:

    Amy Sedaris
    Chelsea Peretti.
    Lisa Lamponelli
    maria bamford
    Sarah Silverman
    Kristen Schaal

  15. bonerfied says:

    lisa lampanelli. your arguement is invalid. end of story

    please keep in mind that i’m so stupid, i don’t know how to spell “argument.” period, case closed, point, set, match.

  16. Lair, I think you’re onto something. Great points, and something I have experienced first hand as well. For men, standup is like “Okay jerks, let’s see you follow THIS.” It’s like fighting. For a lot of women, I don’t even think that enters the equation that often. It’s a big group hug.

  17. Juliet Jeske says:

    I am with you to a point, but I see so many men do the exact same thing. I even came up with a character I call “Comedy Mike” its me acting like a man doing the same tired jokes the majority of straight male comedians do over and over again.

    I am broke, I am always drunk, I was so wasted, women are crazy, my ex-girlfriend is a bitch, I am a loser, comedy is really hard, I am AD/HD, or I didn’t do well in school, I have a shitty job

    I just think that basing everything on the tastes of white males is folly. The film “Bridesmaids” wouldn’t appeal much to a white male audience and it didn’t need to, it was extremely successful catering to a female audience. Why do we need to bend over backwards to please a demographic that might have most of the power, but is not the majority of the population. The control group should not be white males. I think things are changing with the rise of Alt-comedians and more women on the scene. Hopefully in the next generation, this won’t even be debatable. But women and men are different and what we find funny is different and I don’t think there is anything wrong with that. Obviously the true greats of female comedians like Lucille Ball, or Carol Burnett transcended gender divides, and they were extremely feminine while doing so. No one would call either masculine or say their comedy or humor was shaped for a white male perspective.

  18. Marco Polo Shirt says:

    Juliet, you are one unfunny bitch.

    And if white males are so privileged, how come white females live ten years longer?

  19. Thanks for the comment, Juliet. I personally don’t really find movies that cater to women that funny, either. But, yeah, it’s a common joke that you drag your boyfriend to the romcom and he puts up with it because he loves you. No one expects guys to love “Never Been Kissed,” they’re just supposed to put up with it. That’s acceptable. But putting up with a female comic makes you a total asshole, I guess? It’s the same sensibility. In general, I’ve never been very girly, despite the fact that my closet overflows with Fluevogs.

    I think there are a lot of women out there who would rather watch Bill Hicks than Whitney Cummings any day of the week. But they don’t really explore what that means because it’s all icky and it feels uncomfortable to look too closely at it.

  20. icantslowdown says:

    Adam Corolla, regardless of what he said or didn’t say, is quite possibly the most interesting man in the world

  21. Campin with Goat Sampson says:

    MMmmmm, Veal Marsala. Oh wait, uh, no yeah, I agree, most men approach comedy as a challenge, most women think it’s the biggest support group they’ll ever be a part of.

  22. Hello says:

    Most women are about as funny as Adam Carolla and other gratingly average/working comics, which is saying very little.

    “Amy Sedaris, Chelsea Peretti, Lisa Lamponelli, maria bamford, Sarah Silverman, Kristen Schaal”

    Take out Bamford & Lampo (repetitive and not great to begin with) and this is a fine list, in part because weird noses get me off HARD.

  23. tommy gun says:

    kyria – are you a comic / aspiring comic? cuz you kinda funny for real. Joan Rivers is funniest lady anyway imo.

  24. Thanks! I did standup regularly for about six years, which means I was just coming out of the awkward learning period when I quit. I stopped mainly because I got a good job and couldn’t work well and stay out until 4 am on a random Tuesday. I’ve performed a couple times in the past two or three years, but not very much at all. I’m out of practice.

  25. Josh Dorn says:

    This is perhaps the funniest thing I’ve read by you since your riotously funny book. I’m Perfest, You’re Doomed. It took a total fucking asshole to write it, and you were more than equal to the challenge.
    I’m no expert on comedy, so I’ll just say write on!

  26. Gilda Radner would totally slap most of these bitches half to death.

  27. nofagshit says:

    most comedians aren’t funny

  28. Lair says:

    Ew. I just spent five minutes looking at the “good men project” that linked to this article as evidence of naughty no-no opinions. Strangely I think he may have actually made his point by being startlingly unfunny in his article while Ms. Abrahams’ actually contained very passable material.
    I think the “good men” in his project might be the type of “good” we refer to in a dog who knows when to roll over and play dead upon command.

  29. Amy Schumer's Pooper says:

    Amy Schumer and @slashleen are fucking killer. Amy in particular is just a funny ass PERSON. Check her out on O&A or Joe Rogan Experience and she will make you laugh. Sarah really isn’t all that funny though. Her delivery sucks. I’d fuck her though for sure.

  30. In answer to Goody Proctor’s questions as posed on his blog:

    1. How do you accurately make any general statement about an entire group of people? — Ignoring this one because I’m not in college or high.

    2. What is your methodology for making such a statement? — Listening to five female comics and five male comics who are at the same general level (ie: all are openly called funny and talented by the media).

    3. Are you basing this statement on experience? — Of course, asshole.

    4. Why is your own experience valid, and moreover, why do you think it applies not just to the people you encountered, but an entire group? — Um, because I applied it to the people I listened to and didn’t apply it to anyone else, you illiterate fuck.

    5. How do you objectively evaluate what is funny and what is not funny, or even what is good dancing or poor dancing? Either you enjoy it or you don’t, right? — Yes, that’s exactly what I said. Can you read? I mean, I know this one had a lot of big words in it, but it didn’t seem like I hid that point.

    6. Why is your opinion/taste/belief correct? What facts or evidence do you have to support this? — Because I’m a motherfucking pimp, you bitchass nigga. Now get your white ass out of here and go make me a sandwich.

  31. Anonymous says:

    The wind blows hard against this mountain side,
    across the sea into my soul
    It reaches into where I cannot hide,
    setting my feet upon the road

    My heart is old, it holds my memories,
    my body burns a gemlike flame
    Somewhere between the soul and soft machine,
    is where I find myself again

    Kyrie eleison, down the road that I must travel
    Kyrie eleison, through the darkness of the night
    Kyrie eleison, where I’m going will you follow
    Kyrie eleison, on a highway in the light

  32. Anonymous says:

    i don’t know much but i know one thing for sure.

    this long-assed replies to commenter shit ain’t funny (kyria is a lesbian, i’m gonna guess):
    “n answer to Goody Proctor’s questions as posed on his blog:

    1. How do you accurately make any general statement about an entire group of people? — Ignoring this one because I’m not in college or high.

    2. What is your methodology for making such a statement? — Listening to five female comics and five male comics who are at the same general level (ie: all are openly called funny and talented by the media).

    3. Are you basing this statement on experience? — Of course, asshole.

    4. Why is your own experience valid, and moreover, why do you think it applies not just to the people you encountered, but an entire group? — Um, because I applied it to the people I listened to and didn’t apply it to anyone else, you illiterate fuck.

    5. How do you objectively evaluate what is funny and what is not funny, or even what is good dancing or poor dancing? Either you enjoy it or you don’t, right? — Yes, that’s exactly what I said. Can you read? I mean, I know this one had a lot of big words in it, but it didn’t seem like I hid that point.

    6. Why is your opinion/taste/belief correct? What facts or evidence do you have to support this? — Because I’m a motherfucking pimp, you bitchass nigga. Now get your white ass out of here and go make me a sandwich.”

  33. Luis R. says:


    “How do you accurately make any general
    statement about an entire group of people?”

    Depends. If you’re just an average “Joe Blow/Susy Homemaker” off the street, they call your general statement “Racism/Ignorance/Crude Assumptions”. If the Government does it, then they just rename it “Statistics”. There you go.

  34. Ted Danson says:

    I always thought the truth is that most people – and by extension, most comedians, aren’t that funny, and there are fewer women comedians to begin with.

  35. anne-onymous says:

    good article kyria

  36. Finally, I’ve met Ted Danson!

  37. Bryan Scott says:

    Great article

  38. alex says:

    Lucille Ball was a genius.

  39. Lampanelli isn’t funny, neither is Silverman.

    Women simply aren’t good at standup. They are much better in sketch comedy (yet men are still better at that too). Examples include Andrea Martin and Catherine O’Hara on SCTV.

  40. my vagina is never funny, thank you very much says:

    Some things to remember.

    1) When we say “women are less funny than men” we are talking about a world in which the vast majority of media is created for and by men. We are also relying upon men, for the most part, as the deciding body. They seem to think their approach to deciding who is funny and who isn’t is sufficiently objective and gender-neutral. Perhaps we should question this.

    Perhaps we should also question whether or not Kyria is trying to kiss their asses by assuring us all that her favorite comedians are all male. Male comics has a broader appeal? Gee, do you s’pose it’s because at some point, someone decides whether you make it or not, and more often than not that person is male, and they like their female comics to fit inside a nice little vagina box?

    2) Speaking of unfunny women: the MY VAGINA pics really, really, really aren’t funny.

    3) Adam Corolla is an ignorant, mediocre “comic” who would be absolutely nowhere if he wasn’t a white man.

  41. Anon says:

    It’s so fun and refreshing to read people’s open-minded comments here! They all seem like such well-rounded individuals, who are clearly educated about the comedy world!

  42. Why would I lie about my favorite comics? To make a point? If my favorite comics were women, I would say so. Actually, that doesn’t really affect the piece in any way, it’s just my personal top 10 list. So, in no particular order: Louis CK, Patton Oswalt, David Cross, Dana Gould, Bill Hicks, Marc Maron, Zach Galifianakis, Victor Varnado, Joe Mande er… I could go on. As for women, I also think Morgan Murphy is really funny, I like Sarah Silverman although not in that rabid “I wanna stick it up her butthole” way that most of her fans are. Maria Bamford makes me laugh and I love her surreal shtick. Tina Fey isn’t really a standup. Meanwhile, Whitney Cummings is so bad that in order to reach that level of badness as a man she would have to have a dead terrorist puppet… Anyway…

    Has anyone noticed that the people who are “defending” female comics tend to say outrageously misogynistic things? I’m a woman, so I must be lying to try to get somewhere? I’m kissing asses? I’m a woman with a right to my opinion. Either you’re pro-woman or you aren’t. I guess you’re only pro-woman when they agree with you.

  43. Dudeguybro says:

    A male comedian surrounded by a panel and audience of women, makes a joke about women. He expected a laugh, maybe a chuckle. Like most men he soon realized, aw shit, they didn’t think it was funny. He hit a sore spot he didn’t know was there. Women are striking back with a vengeance but why? In this case I think a blow to Adam is meant to be a blow to all men.

    I like your approach Kyria, fight a joke with some humor. As Carolla would say, you burned some calories. To create such an experiment was genius and the male topic list alone had me rolling. Thank you, I hope to see you representing women as a true comedienne and being accepted by them as well.

  44. Ken says:

    Again, you’d make a great kapo.

  45. Lair says:

    I think there’s a tendency in long running debates to lose sight of what the original point was. A lot of people (myself included) are trying to make the argument into “well these 5 or 6 professional comediennes are funny, therefore all women are funny.” Those bitches better be fucking funny, they’re being paid for it.
    The thing is on a whole, aside from those half dozen or so names we all enjoy and like to throw around, women are pretty damn unfunny and pissed off about it. If there’s ever a shitstorm around a comedian or a show, women are almost always at the center of it, demanding that someone be punished because they didn’t laugh or one of the words in the joke was a word they didn’t like. Although it’s a tired and oft used anecdote, it’s worth pointing out that a lady had a stand-up here in Canada fined $22500 (which she won btw, yay Canadykes) for jokes she had no comeback to other than throwing a drink in his face. Maybe she can afford some improv classes now.
    Much of this impotent rage and browbeating comes from women who are angry that they’re not witty enough to one-up some guy’s shitty joke or opinion with something that’ll actually get laughs. Almost all the articles in response to Mr. Corolla’s opinion, which he tempers with the same provisos and names most of us keep dropping, are damning proof of this massive undercurrent of unfunny femalia.

  46. Matt says:

    Excellent article.

  47. Ring Kodney says:

    Maria Bamford is about as funny as a sack of dead babies. Whoever thinks otherwise is probably in dire need of some deep dicking and their colon scoped. Cheers!

  48. damn says:

    this is really interesting but i feel like a lot of these supposedly non-autobiographical male stories come from hari kondabolu – def. the “where are you from”, etc etc. a lot of his jokes are about him being indian american, and he tells them to white audiences and you know what? they can’t relate but HE IS FUCKING HILARIOUS. same with “god won’t help you bowl”… donald glover is mocking religion in this bit, but what about all his jokes about being black, or even a black nerd (NOT a huge part of the population). even louis ck has a bunch of stuff about being a dad that i find hilarious (as a young, female adult who hates kids).

    i wish your theory worked- it’d be so easy. it seems like a really neat easy explanation for everything. and i think it does hold some merit. but i don’t believe its this simple :(

  49. Thanks, ‘Damn’. I appreciate you actually considering what I said and disagreeing on the basis of the thesis of the article, because I think a lot of people just got angry without actually reading what I said. Well, such is life on the internet.

    Anyway, if it’s not just the material then I guess it’s also the delivery…? Or maybe that we’re predisposed to make a woman “prove herself” more than a guy. That’s also possible.

  50. cambridge_elitist_schmuck says:

    I’m surprised no one has mentioned Ellen Degeneres, possibly because her stand-up career is retired. She can hold a candle to anyone as far as I’m concerned, and my qualifications are impeccable, as my penis is about the same size as Adam Corolla’s, and is somewhat candle-shaped.

    As far as ‘damn’ and Kyria’s response, I think it’s not that men wouldn’t find stuff about a woman’s own life funny (the master of self-absorbtion is Woody Allen, is it not?) but a matter of breadth and depth. Pure anatomy (of either gender) jokes or other body (hair, make-up, shoes) jokes wear thin quickly because they’re inherently superficial. Perhaps a better thesis is that female comedian’s humor from the above sample is more over-done, more superficial, and lacking in aggression and pain. We know comedy is a way to make mental and physical pain approachable by taking away some of its power. This is the “silly algebra”. Maybe the training of physical fighting and playful insult-talk that boys do more than girls prepares them for this better. (Kyria, did you slap ’em around good growing up? :-))

    So that’s where I see what women have to overcome from their own life. Then looking externally, I see a perverse selection process in 4 stages, perverse because it is coming directly from my ass to the page: 1) a brave few must first overcome general female socialization of politeness in order to be aggressive and frank; 2) there will be some affirmative action not weeding out the weak quickly enough, 3) many talented ones will be turned off by bad-faith competitiveness by less talented or similarly talented men; and 4) sexist, abusive, or other inappropriate behavior by the male power structure specifically directed at them and not the men.

    And that, as they say, is the square root of negative dick.

  51. Ellen always made me laugh way back when. And “way back when” means sitting on the floor in front of a giant wood paneled television for hours upon hours watching Evening at the Improv and The Half Hour Comedy Hour and… Jesus Christ, I’m old.

  52. […] Kyria Abrahams lays out a theory on the funny gap between men and women comics.  Women talk about themselves and men talk […]

  53. K says:

    Solid argument that makes that makes the whole controversy look even more ridiculous. Though I’d like to point out, as many others have, that Corolla Never Actually Said Women Weren’t Funny. He just said men were funnier, and it’s pretty obvious this wouldn’t happen if a random woman said women were funnier in an interview.

  54. MK says:

    There have never been as many funny women as there are men, but Carol Burnett and Lucy were comparatively more funny to the men of their era than women are today and the reason is largely feminism. Feminism is to humor what the Soviet Union was to art. Most female comics today try to be ersatz men, very few can pull it off, and why go for the inferior knock-off when you can get the real thing? I watched the first couple of episodes of ‘Whitney” to see if it was worth recording (it isn’t) and one of those episodes was all about how Whitney isn’t at all romantic because romance, you see, is girly and retro and I Am Woman, Hear Me Roar, blah, blah, blah. Who’d want to live with such an ice cold shrew, or find her character in any way interesting in a relationship comedy? This agenda driven pseudo-rebelliousness permeates female comedy today, and is the actual source of its vagino-centric nature; it’s not surprising that the result is tractor art. We all know that people who are obsessed with a hobby tend to be crushing bores.

  55. Days of Broken Arrows says:

    Well-written piece and an original idea. While I find the premise spot-on, I want to add that women’s self-reflective subject matter is only half the problem.

    The other half is the delivery of so many female comics these days. In the old days, women comics — like male comics — seemed to have individual characters and deliveries. No one would mistake mousy Rita Rudner for tell-it-like-it is Elayne Boosler or laconic Ellen DeGeneres or sarcastic Joan Rivers, for example. These were true individualists.

    Today, it seems, virtually all female comics adopt the same persona, which is: “Look at me! I’m wild because I don’t look like I’d say vagina but I do!!” The graphics of this article allude to this. This becomes tiring after a while. You just want to say “OK, we get it already.”

    The same thing goes for sitcoms or movies. No one would question the comic timing or hilarious facial expressions of, say, Julia Louis-Dreyfuss, Diane Keaton, Goldie Hawn, etc. But today’s comediennes all seem to have the same wild-eyed “aren’t I zany?” thing going on.

    The commenter above mentioned that feminism and comedy didn’t blend, and I think this is part of the problem. When the main thrust of your presentation is an agenda — in this case proving you can be as wild as the guys — you narrow you’re comic range considerably. Great comedy can be about everything from embarrassing yourself (Lewis, Carrey) to making the audience think seriously (Carlin, Hicks) to self-effacing confession (Dangerfield, Allen). But it can’t do any of that if all you’re saying is “Look at me!! I’m wild! I’ve got it all!!”

  56. Drive-by Diva says:

    I sort of assumed, by the inputted name (“jule_b_sorry”), that that 1st comment was a none-too-subtle satirical sally. Or did I miss the joke here…

  57. sg says:

    Remember, kids, you can never ever ever criticize women. You can criticize guys all day long for the things we think that many, but not all, guys tend to do or think or be, but not women. No way, no how.

    Guys who live in their mom’s basements and play video games: irresponsible losers.

    Women who have a mountain of college debt on their 2.7 gpa Sociology degree, tons of consumer debt and an illegitimate kid: responsible and hard working.

    It is insane, of course, but there you go.

    Women=> good

    Men => not so good

  58. Anon says:

    Seriously, who gives a rat’s ass what Adam Carolla says? When was the last time THAT dude was funny?

  59. Lolzzlolzz says:

    “Seriously, who gives a rat’s ass what Adam Carolla says?”

    Other than you?

  60. Maradoll Mynx says:

    When interviewed by the Onion A.V. Club and asked whose comedy he enjoyed a couple years back, Chris Rock replied with two or three names, one of whom was Ellen Degeneres.

    Personally, I find Rachel Feinstein hilarious, as well as Margaret Cho. Cho is of my favorite comedians, along with Sommore, David Cross and Aziz Ansari.

    Also, Joan Rivers is one of the funniest people alive and working today and is another of my faves.

    I don’t care whose male or who is female, these are simply my picks of the funniest people working now.

  61. Curtin says:

    “What if I take a hammer to my vagina and scream, “I NEVER WANTED YOU!” while pounding my clit into Veal Marsala and listening to Kathy Griffin?”

    Well, that one’s going right into the spank bank.

  62. Roodie says:

    I love that some people miss the point of the ‘my vagina’ memes.

    Female comedians who fall into the stereotypical role are no different than any other type comedian falling into a stereotype – urban, latino, gay, frat boy… a stereotype is a stereotype and is never funny unless you’re doing it first.

    Janine Brito up in the SF Bay area is hands down one of the funniest people on the planet. There are tons of other women who are just as funny (funnier) than men that you’ve never heard of (Rachel McDowell, Coleen Watson). But one thing that is glaringly omitted from this article is that women are not afforded the same level of opportunities that men get. So many times I have been asked to recommend a feature comedian for the road and every single time I recommend a woman the headliner (always a man) says no. That mindset is pervasive in a lot of comedic circles. So women – funny or not – are working from a decidedly disadvantageous position it seem.

    Anyway, this was a fun read.

  63. sg says:

    “every single time I recommend a woman the headliner (always a man) says no.”

    Headliner always a man? Hmm, is that because it is a sort of glamourless job that few women are interested in it? If so, doesn’t that just sort of go along with the gist of Kyria’s point here that women are less diverse than men in what they are interested in?

  64. Jesus says:

    Women don’t need to be funny because men don’t value sense of humor in a mate as much as women do

  65. Lilah says:

    Thing is I don’t find men funny at all. I don’t understand what all their hype is about, the only male comedian I ever actually laughed with is George Carlin, the rest of them are just clones doing the same old slaptick jokes over and over, sometimes with a good old dick joke thrown in there.

    I’ve noticed that men on average think they are funnier and I just don’t see it the majority of the time.

  66. Nojuan Especial says:

    PERSONALLY (Read it, READ IT) Personally, I think that women aren’t funny because they will unrelentingly bitch about misogyny, but half of them don’t even know what misandry is, even though they are experts at it.

    Hypocrites aren’t funny to me.

  67. carlito says:

    I just happened to stumble across this article when i was actually doing a search for Christopher Hitchens’ Vanity Fair article on Google. You nailed it. Women generally talk about themselves and it’s usually not funny because they would talk about themselves anyway. And that’s the stereotype. Women who break from that stereotype, I give them credit.

    Plus I’ve very rarely come across a woman who could just be hypothetical and talk about dumb stuff or just be ‘in your face.’ 2 guys could be hypothetical about a topic that could just go on and be blatantly funny about it with their various conclusions.

    Plus the main truth is, men know how to deliver jokes. Women just cannot. Tina Fey may be funny on screen and at imitation but she’s no Louis CK. Plus being funny is what women love in a guy. They’d love a guy to make them laugh. Guys don’t need women to make them laugh. They have other guys.

  68. Sean says:

    Every comedian you listed (with the exception of Bill Hicks and Louie CK) are alternative comics. You should give the new york comics a chance, I think you would like some of them given the way you joke in your article.

    The legend – Colin Quinn, Nick DiPaolo, Jim Norton, Patrice O’Neal, Greg Geraldo, Sean Rouse, Billy Burr, Bonnie McFarlane, Rich Vos, Bob Kelly, Otto & George, Dave Attell, Big Jay Oakerson, Kurt Metzger (your ethnic store joke might be his), Joe DeRosa, Joe Matarese, Keith Robinson are all hilarious.

    I know the rift between the alternative comics and the road comics is a deep one but its worth watching both sides. David Cross, Patton, and Sarah Silverman all started as road comics and then moved into the niche alt rock/hipster rooms only after they grew that following.

  69. Anonymous says:

    All i had to read was the comment about “strong arguments against God”. Hitchens was a word smith and a contrarian. His arguments were ridiculously bad. Any philosopher would know that.

  70. unecocomical says:

    Great read, thanks.

    If you say that women, generally speaking, are directing to a smaller audience then you are agreeing with Hitchens. Less people find them funny, nb they are less funny. In much the same way 8 year old boys aren’t broadly that funny even though the other boys find their fart and poo jokes immensely hilarious.

    I guess this is merely regurgitating your insight into the substance of different comedy which was, to my experience, novel and interesting.

  71. muqq says:

    Really, the responses to this idea are so reactionary. This is just truth and its more than topic selection it’s also about delivery. Hitchens made the point and it is still relevant: women may have the capacity for humor but they dont necessarily develop it. The women that tend to be funny are generally unattractive. Nuh UH TINA FEY TINA FEY……. exactly pulling out one attractive women to prove your point just proves hitchens point. Actually tina fey doesnt even contradict the model because she was quite unattractive for most of her years (look up school pics and college pics). she was not attractive and had to develop alternate skills to be social. Ive seen the same thing in men who are stunningly attractive (sup) they dont develop skills to navigate socially. Still the most funny men are fat, unattractive or were so in their youth

  72. happy says:

    Ugh! It’s so disgusting when a woman hates women and hates being a woman. Say that’s not who you are and not what you’re doing all you want. Yes you are…..YES…YOU…ARE. The most annoying of “annoying female cliches” is Little Miss “Women are so this and so that but I’m not, I’m all COOL and DIFFERENT, wouldn’t you dudes looooove to have a beer with meeeee?” Ugh! SHUT UP!

  73. Ecgtheow says:

    Great compare and contrast (mostly contrast) of the genders’ subjects of choice. The world is comprised of a limitless supply of random shit in need of human reckoning. Men seem more up to the task of engaging this in order to elucidate this cluster fuck of dust and gas. Spending an hour of your act talking about your anatomy or “the girls” becomes so mind-numbingly unbearable after the first or second joke, it’s a wonder more men don’t rush the stage and beat you to death with a good dicking. And that brings me to this point. Ladies, get it through your thick skulls that if you’re b/t the ages of 18 and 45 and considered moderately attractive or better, the only reason – and I mean the absolute only reason – a guy listens to what you have to say or carries your bag while you order another goddamn tofu burger is for the chance to experience a wet suctioning. That’s it. That’s all. Honorable exceptions go to hard science ladies like engineers, surgeons, pathologists, etc.

    p.s. Lucille Ball, Carol Burnett, Gilda Radner, Sarah Silverman, Kristen Wiig were/are brilliant because of their mastery of the physical execution – an extention of each one’s genius. That physical part goes a long way if you’re trying to be funny.

  74. happier says:

    @happy People are entitled to their own opinion, you are aware of this right? Or for you is it more of an opinion like “If you don’t agree with me, you hate women and yourself.” Take your feminism shit down the road —>

  75. Chris says:

    It’s just basic evolution.

    Men are generally funny, entertaining, and prone to violence, as they’re competing for intelligent mates.

    Being the “chooser” (ie the person that picks the best available companion) women have had no real need to compete, intellectually or physically.

  76. Chris says:

    Truth is, men compete with other men, mentally, as it’s what women like. Being funny and entertaining is something women have looked for, probably for millions of years. So men have learnt to get good at it.

    Women, generally, aren’t competing with other women, mentally. They’re competing with them physically – as men are generally, primarily driven by looks (no matter how much we deny it).

    So men have spent the last 5 million years learning how to fight, and be funny. And women have spent it beautifying themselves

  77. Nick says:

    I’ve got to be honest – I’ve never met, or seen a women I thought was remotely funny. On television, in a movie, on radio, or in real life.

    Truth is, women generally laugh at anything. I sometimes say something jokey, which they think is hilarious, and there’s no way a guy would think it was even slightly amusing.

    That’s the truth. Women just like comedy, and laugh at anything remotely funny. So they find other women funny

  78. Leon says:

    The vast majority of women from my experience are not funny. I love viewing comedy specials just like anybody else. Whenever they are on tv I watch them. I go to a live show several times a year. I live in New York so I have the pleasure of having access to probably the best comedians in the industry. In short, I have seen hundreds of female comedians. I also have many friends who are females.

    Now having said all of this, the only woman I have ever regularly laughed at was Lisa Lampanelli. Judy Gold, Wanda Sykes, and Joan Rivers have their moments too. The rest are bad. Famous female comedians like Sarah Silverman, Tina Fey, Kathy Griffin, Rosie O’Doonnel, Whoopi Goldberg, Monique, Amy Poehler, Janeane Garofalo, Margaret Cho, Roseanne, Chelsea Handler, Ellen Degeneres, Whitney Cummings, etc have NEVER made me laugh.

    My female friends are also not funny. They’ll sometimes tell a joke and I’ll laugh just to be polite and minimize the awkwardness, but said laugh is always forced.

    I’m not saying women can’t be funny. I’m sure they could be if they tried different material and approaches. But until then they are just going to have to deal with the fact that most of the population (this includes many women) just don’t find them humorous.

  79. female comix sux says:

    theres that one latin woman shes pretty funny maybe a hoandful of others but they ok at best as a whole the guys are way funnier. there are many big name male comedians but cant think of any woomen

  80. tremendous article. You and I think 100% alike where this subject is concerned. There are countless amazing sketch comediennes, Laurie Metcalfe being perhaps the greatest ever, but all of the best female comics–pardon the expression–think outside the box.

  81. Sparkles says:

    Yeah…biologically I must be off. Sure I’m a woman, but I’ve been raised by women who were a tad the manly side (lo and behold, finding my feminine side is struggle). I didn’t learn until college by reading Satoshi’s works that all I had to do was EXIST to be accepted by men. That is not to say you may even find remotely amusing but I polish my funny bone quite often. And why? Because I go into panic mode if someone doesn’t get my punch lines…its like the connection between us is fading… I wonder if this is what men feel when they try to court a woman?

  82. merryn says:

    another women trying embarrassingly hard to be funny and shocking, hang your head in shame. As a rule only ugly people are funny, most women are just to good looking to be funny. sometimes the fat ones are though.

  83. jimbo says:

    i dunno why but look at recent trailer of tammy the movie. the lead actor tries to do the same bumbling slapstick moves in the movie that is done countless of time by male actors. it’s just not funny when a woman does it. she looks the part (fat round short, etc. like many fat male actors) But somehow it didnt quite work for me. dunno why? the male actors doin it somehow has a finesse quality even in sloppy clumsy slapstick.

  84. Sarah Goodwich says:

    Sarah Silverman and other “funny” female comedians aren’t funny, just gross or shocking. Silverman typically talks about her vagina as much as the rest, Lisa Lampanelli uses blatant racism and sex-jokes, etc. The rest just talk abut boring, lame-ass crap, and anti-male arrogance which shows her to be a complete stuck-up bitch that puts down men, thinking it’ll make her look good.
    I think the main reason women aren’t funny, is that their lives are all based on getting people’s approval, while comedy requires being honest, original and direct; but women’s only mode of conversation is either to make idle chit-chat, or jump to extreme of offending people to get noticed. Needless to say, there’s no humor in either one.

  85. MakeAVillainOuttaMeCosI'mG says:

    I am a laady.

    I agree with Kyria’s point of view, however I don’t agree with the delivery as is written above.
    I don’t believe there are many girls who would disagree with the assertion that “men are funnier than women”, especially as it’s their main attraction that separates them from women. However, Kyria’s lists of women’s comedic go-to’s: periods, vaginas, how men hit on them.. vs. men’s: politics, cultures, bestiality etc. succeeds in inducing an overwhelming response from neo-feminists.. Who have nothing better to do nowadays than debate the comedic value of a woman!

    I consciously remove myself from female company to hang out with men. On the rare occasion that I meet a girl with the tenor of chat that I enjoy (the focus of which, would be poop), I want to be her best buddy.

    Each to their own. It could also be dependant on how masculine/feminine our brains are. Mine is 50/50 and I have 2 brothers- probably has a bearing on my filthy chat.

  86. Frank H says:

    I just stumbled upon this article and I have to say I think Kyria hit the nail on the head. I don’t find many female comics very funny in exactly the same way I don’t find many black comics very funny. Women seem to only talk about “being a woman” and black comics (with some exceptions) seem to only talk about “being black”. Well, I’m neither a woman nor am I black so I don’t really relate to either viewpoint.

    That said, that doesn’t mean white male comics only talk about “being white, and male” and that this must be why I relate to them. No, they talk about EVERYTHING (including being white and male) but they also touch on many other subjects as well.

    Lastly, some of the comments on here from females just reinforce what the article says. “How dare men not think women are funny!?” Because we don’t have to, and many of us don’t for exactly the reasons stated in the article, why don’t you do something (funny) about it ladies?

  87. Me says:

    Female comedians are indeed more self-absorbed with their material than male comedians. But I think this points to the wider issue that we are at a point in history when society/their environment is pushing almost ALL women to be incredibly self-absorbed. It is very infrequent that I encounter a woman who seems to have much interest in other people. When they do take an interest in other people, it is either to praise women who are just like them or criticize those who aren’t….so even when they take an interest in other people, it still ends up being ALL ABOUT THEM. I don’t really see women taking an interest in men any more aside from a few alpha men at the top of the pyramid. And they are interested in these alpha men only because of what they perceive these alpha men can do for THEM, so again it’s all about THEMSELVES. I’m not convinced American society is capable of producing women who are interested in other people purely out of intellectual curiosity or any other sort of healthy curiosity. Yes, it’s hard for most men to like the comedy of most women….but these days, liking them as people is often even more of a stretch. Has feminism gone way too far? In some ways it perhaps hasn’t gone far enough, but some of the directions it has gone have been incredibly unproductive and have only led to total misery for men AND women. Ladies, it’s ok to have humility. It’s ok to have interest in other people. It’s ok to view men (not just alpha men) as your equals, rather than as animal-like creatures who are viewed reflexively as inherently beneath you. You can be funny to men. A little bit more humility and a lot less misandry would help, both with comedy and with everything else.

  88. women=men-(reason+accountability) says:

    Sadly, in todays society, feelings are trumping facts…Fact – women are not funny nor do the majority excel in mathematics. Women operate on emotion and should never hold a position of great importance. Men operate on facts and reason, its that simple ladies, deal with it.

  89. Learn Blog says:

    Master Being Funny With Women With Comedy Mastery

    […] poke about themselves. Jokes about their appearance were used as soft openers in […]

  90. JBizzle says:


    the blatant sexism and racism on here is just too delicious.

    raise bloody hell for making a generalization about women, blacks, etc. but hey, fight it by making an even more moronic stereotypical comment about white males.

    as white males, we’ve grown to actually be more tolerant because we’ve been beaten over the head for the last 50 years that we are the problem, we need to understand ‘others’ more, etc. meanwhile, you’ve just been on a pissing parade railing against white men and not ever tried to put yourself in our shoes.

    besos 😉

  91. teri says:

    when i discuss women in comedy i have mostly disappointing things to say about some. that they aren’t funny, that tina fey is not a comedian

    and is an improv comic actor. she is very good at that kind of comedy. iliza schlezinger is a real comedian and a hilarious one at that. by my

    standards she commands the stage like a man. she’s got real showmanship and doesn’t waste time with her lady parts. she ‘s a good looking

    woman and isn’t afraid to make scrunched up faces when her routine calls for it. and gracious enough to not attack other people.

    the other lady comics that are funny are not traditionally caucasian. hilarious women from the middle east, india and africa, and basically from

    countries that have lived a lot. by that i mean they’ve seen things you know, man . . .bad things like walking through dead bodies real. the only

    other white woman i can think of who immediately springs to mind is me. Ive lived in 3 different countries and cultures. lived through a

    kidnapping at the age of 17 and kept in forcible confinement for a year. i was funny before that but given the nature of my trauma it took me

    another 30 years to get over fear of the stage. I’ve always made men laugh mainly as well as women but women are a tough crowd when it

    comes to having to sit through me because i hit hard and make no apologies for stuff bordering on what many millenials think is racist.

    I’m as dry as newhartand ballsy like mr ck. i got this way from being a fashionista i guess would describe me best. though i do have a love of

    history and politics which i studied briefly during an equally brief stint and university. and I’ve lived in 3 diff countries and had 3 real accents.

    and because of my trauma i was too depressed to do much and lost a lot of normal continuity. and no i was not sexually molested. the reason

    I’m as good as the foreign girls i mentioned is because I’ve seen shit too. you have to survive years and years of undiluted shit to have the

    confidence to take the stage and talk about how peter sutcliffe almost got you, or going to george wallace middle school and seeing a rope tied

    to a tree on the playground. i forgot to say I’m 52 and am just starting. I’m usually at the comedy corner on monday nights in toronto. if you’re

    going to call yourself a woman you might try being one and leave your twat/ego at home.

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