I could hardly make it all the way through the Hitchens article because it was that goddamn bad, but I have a few things to say. Fun fact – this guy, who I looked up, is dead, in case anyone was wondering. Another fun fact – he once waxed his balls, which is fucking insane to do even once. His writing, at least in this piece, is pretty well-developed and articulate, but similarly insane. This guy writes with a holier-than-thou style which does a very good job of pointing out that there is not any kind of argument to be made that women are, in fact, funnier than men (note: I do not agree with this). He does the opposite. He also claims that because the only thing men have to do in their life is impress women (which is an incredibly stupid thing to say), men are, by proxy, funnier than women.
“Women have no corresponding need to appeal to men in this way. They already appeal to men, if you catch my drift.” This phrase roughly translates into “I cannot get laid.”
The entire Hitchens article is based on the notion that comedy is directly tied to sex (and the desire to impress the other sex), and that is dumb. It’s dumb. Men can want to be funny for other reasons other than to impress a woman, and women can be funny for their own personal reasons as well.
Moving on to the Stanley article, which I liked much more, the author discusses Kristen Wiig, Maya Rudolph, Tina Fey, and Sarah Silverman. For me, I consider all of these women to be extremely funny at their best and unbearably unfunny at their worst. To cite an example, Kristen Wiig seems to be unable to play a comedic character that doesn’t annoy the shit out of other characters in a given sketch. It seems to get a bit old. To return to my greater point I’m trying to make, this is the same outlook I have on most male comedians as well. I get that not all jokes are going to be a hit, but there are instances where I just cannot sit through a one-hour special from one of my favorite comedic actors because it is not funny to me.
Comedy is completely subjective. I do not think that either article does a spectacular job of nailing this particular matter. To be fair, to argue for one side or the other, a writer does need to be able to use evidence to make a case for their viewpoint, but it is possible to both identify the subjectivity of comedy and also make a case for one’s own viewpoints in the same piece of writing.
I think taking the subjectivity of comedy into consideration when analyzing the topic of gender and how it relates to comedy is extremely important. Even more important, however, is asking the question “why would anyone ever wax their balls, and why do I now specifically know that ‘Christopher Eric Hitchens, Anglo-American author, columnist, essayist, orator, religious and literary critic, social critic, and journalist,’ waxed his balls one time?” As a wrap-up, here is how this dumb motherf****r described the feeling:
“I had no idea it would be so excruciating. The combined effect was like being tortured for information that you do not possess, with intervals for a (incidentally very costly) sandpaper handjob. The thing is that, in order to rip, you have to grip. A point of leverage is required; a place that can be firmly gripped and pulled while the skin is tautened.”
For those of you that are interested, here is a very good article by Jeb Lund on Christopher Hitchens → Burn in Hell, Christopher Hitchens