The Problem with Feminist Comedians

After reading Hitchens’ article, I couldn’t help but feel a bit perturbed. Not only does he say that when describing a potential soulmate, men don’t say that “she’s so funny” but he also says that most female comedians are “hefty, dykey, and Jewish”. Both of these statements are just plain wrong. Plenty of my friends have dated women partially because they make them laugh; looks clearly aren’t everything. When it comes to female comedians, I just can’t understand how he can just group them into those three categories. Wanda Sykes, Margaret Cho, Maya Rudolph, Amy Poehler, and countless others don’t fit that description. However, he does save himself from further uproar by clarifying, that women can be funny and can make great comedians and he does make an astute observation in that there are more male comedians than female comedians. But, I have to disagree that this is due to men just being more funny than women. It’s also due to the fact that men have been able to be comedians for so much longer than women have. It’s only within the last 70 years that women have been given a voice and I am glad that they’re using it in a funny way.

However, I believe that there are still problems with the topics that women choose to use in comedy, specifically feminism. It’s not that I don’t believe in feminism, I definitely think that women can and should be equal to men, it’s just that I don’t like it being shoved down my throat constantly. As an audience member, I would be more likely to watch a stand-up comedian who talks about a variety of topics and who can make me laugh no matter what he/she is talking about than a comedian who can only talk about what’s wrong with the world/men, which a lot of the talking points of the feminist movement surround. I think DeAnne Smith did a wonderful job of this by being able to mix feminist topics with other jokes to make it more palatable for a wider audience. I also really appreciated her acknowledging that as soon as she started venturing into feminism territory she was quick to tie it to something that the people who didn’t approve of could laugh at. I think part of the reason that she needed to do this in the first place is because a lot of people would have that reaction when a comedian suddenly dives deep into feminism during a bit. In class, we were discussing about ways that feminist comedians can improve their act so that they can remove the “feminist killjoy” title. I think that following DeAnne’s format is the first step.

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