June 27, 2012

Women ARE Funny: By Dan Friesen

All you women out there, I love you. I really do, and I hope nothing I say in this post gives you reason to suspect otherwise.

A week or so back, Adam Carolla made some rather unfortunate comments about women not being funny. It's not my goal here to discuss this very, very tired argument any further, but I know that some people get confused easily, so let me start by making it perfectly clear that I could not disagree with him more. Some of my favorite comics in town are women, something, something, I'm into women's lib.

There are a lot of people (men and women) in this world that I can't stand, and one of the things that connects most of them is that they see the world as a zero-sum game. We're trained from an early age to see other people's wins as our losses, and when you immerse yourself in a lifestyle that is so generally desperate and full of struggle as doing stand up, it's hard not to see a booking someone else gets as nothing more than one more set you're not doing. It's bad enough when individuals look at the world this way (see: last year's JFL lead-up), but when larger groups start to interpret things like this, big bullshit problems pop up that can never really be solved.

When big groups start thinking they're playing a zero-sum game, we get all that bullshit about Southside vs Northside. We get the conversations about whether women are funny or not. These are issues we can argue about all day and get nowhere.

Now, I have no interest in defending Adam Carolla, mostly because everything he said is pretty demonstrably false. However, this shit is a two way street, and since people have been making such a big deal of this, I would feel remiss not to point out that there are multiple shows in town that do not allow any male performers. Don't get me wrong, I would never make the argument that men are victims, but I'm totally comfortable saying that it's horseshit to complain about some shock-jock saying sexist things but being totally cool with shows that are quite literally segregated.

I accept that as a heterosexual, white male, it's inherently stupid for me to complain about any of these issues, but this just strikes me as such amazing nonsense. When you refuse to book a certain type of person on your show, you can really only be doing so for one of two reasons. The first possibility is that you don't think people of that type are funny, so you don't want them on your show. Holding this belief makes you an asshole. The second possibility is that you accept that people of that type are funny, but you like the kind of show and atmosphere you can create when they aren't involved. I'm not sure what that makes one, but I think it's something slightly worse than chauvinistic.

What I'm getting at is that we're all in this thing together, so let's all love each other a little more.

Dan Friesen
Contributing Writer