The video shown in class on Monday, where the female comedian doing stand up was openly talking about feminism and employing aspects of charged humor was particularly interesting when looking at the audience. While some of the audience members were having a great time and enjoying the set, others, like the male at the front of the room, were visibly taken aback by the feminist humor and jokes at the white male stereotype. This type of reaction is not that all surprising, and the context of why the male reacted this way is a good indication of why many men are turned off in general by predominately female topics in comedy.
Hitchen’s article, while extremely flawed in multiple methods of reasoning, brings up an interesting point regarding the power politics of comedy. By being funny, Hitchens says, women would be seen as gaining more power, and thus disrupting the current state of social power, where males dominate many sectors of society. Hitchen’s other methods of reasoning were much more sexist than this, but his point on the power politics of female comedy is spot on. Many men, whether subconsciously or openly, see the rise of women and topics of charged humor to be disrupting the status quo that has been set by the humor genera, or white male comics. With the rise of comedic access through popular websites like YouTube and Facebook comes the ability for many who had been previously cast out of comedy, like women, due to lack of attention at the national level.
Many males, especially white males, feel like they cannot relate to the topics at hand. While to a certain extent I can lament to their woes and understand their reasoning, it is this close-mindedness that has forced the “feminist killjoy” to become a topic in feminist comedy in the first place. The fact that an entire subgenre of comedy is devoted to calling out those who are openly or insinuating sexism is ridiculous, and only highlights the struggles that female comedians face over their male counterparts. Women also in general have much more to prove to their audience, and may not give off the same bold persona that many white male comedians give off in their opening entrance.
My suggestion for males with the perception that women are unfunny and can’t contribute to comedy would be to try and expose yourself to new viewpoints. There is more than the feminist killjoy female comedian, and many more besides Amy Schumer and Sarah Silverman that can make you laugh and think at the same time. As a male who has experienced the privilege of being perceived as the “funnier” gender, it our responsibility to see that arguments like Hitchen’s are based on sexist and demeaning standards that dominated the 20th century and previous. Exposing yourself to different comedy topics can bring a new insight into the perspective of a race/gender/religion/etc. that you didn’t feel a connection to. It is this use of comedy by minority groups and women that will help shape positive dialect for how to solve institutional issues of the past and future.