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On Women, Being Funny, and Sundries

Okay, my brain is ALLL over the map on this one, but this is... everything. For me. Encompasses everything I think about women, who I am, etc. AHHH! You've been warned...


Okay, first, let me be clear on how I define FUNNY.

AMUSING: "You do! You do doodle too!"
FUNNY: "Bunnies! BUNNIES, IT MUST BE BUNNIES!!"

See, I think most of the female species around here find the Doodle line FUNNY. Which, it's just heh. It's amusing. The second? Ha ha ha! Which is why I think funny and fluff get lumped together. And don't get me STARTED on that one, or we'll be here all night. Would you call Animal House FLUFF? No. Caddyshack? No. Divine Sister Ya Ya Yo Yo Fucking whatever? Yep. But is it FUNNY? No, it's amusing, but I digress.

See, it's like we women are given a choice in the beginning of our development. You can be:
A) Pretty
B) Smart
C) Funny
And then there's the unspoken D) undesireable to men. (We don't need to go into the sexual orientation of some of us, this is what SOCIETY imposes on us, not who we are. Which is the point of this rant.)

And what does everyone want? A). The fall back? B). If you are C), you're the funny thing they trot out at parties, but you are really D). Because funny women (really fucking hilarious women) are grotesque. A side-show. So, what passes for funny women, really ISN'T funny. It's amusing. Because men get to be the crazy ones, men get to be silly and not look-focused and taken seriously as funny beings.

Case #1: Lauren Graham on Gilmore Girls. Amusing, but pretty. She has to be pretty, so you'll watch her, and then Jane can sneak in the amusing lines and fool you into thinking she's funny.

Case #2: Amy Poehler as the one-legged WT character on SNL: she's GROTESQUE. And fucking hilarious. But. Amy has to make that character as gross as possible so we are shocked out of our norm and laugh. Because it's REALLY FUNNY to see an angry one-legged woman fart and audition for America's Top Model. But look at her cast picture at the beginning of the show: pretty, air-brushed, stylish. Because we won't watch women unless we can be attracted to them.

And that is exactly why I love Amy Poehler and Amy Sedaris. They take that "pretty girl" and warp it and bend it and make it more along the lines of what MEN find funny, and crush the whole female image Hollywood has beaten us over the head with for decades. Oh yeah, and they are smart, too.

"Boys don't make passes at girls who wear glasses"

We have to make ourselves attractive. Right? And everything revolves around making boys look at us. (Again, this is what SOCIETY SAYS. There are those of us who don't care if men look at us, 'cause we're checking out the ladies, ourselves.) And vylit has a post (thanks, swmbo) about female relationships in television. How they are NOT like RL friendships where we laugh and snark. Where are they? Read Vi's post about Buffy, etc. and I'll just say that I agree.

As soon as Buffy and Faith become closer, everyone is worried. Then Faith tries to steal Buffy's man, and then we HAVE SOMETHING. And it always comes back to pitting women against each other for the affection of a man. Shit, they made Willow gay, otherwise, I'm sure over time Willow and Buffy would have fought over Riley or something. But Willow and Buffy work because Willow is Smart. She's the Geeky Smart girl who loses to who? Cordy, The Prettiest Girl Ever, OMG. The best moment of that arc was Willow stealing Xander from Cordy. But come on. That isn't real. We all know it. I think this is why Oz is so beloved in fandom, that he chose B) over A). But where in Buffydom is C)?

ANYA. And who do people hate around here? Anya. But she's the funniest female character on the show. But we don't LIKE funny girls, do we? It helped that she was really pretty. But Anya was ostracized from the group, not understood, people were always suspicious of her... And she thought like a man. You plague men for a thousand years with torment, you're gonna think like them. But she was funny and slap-stick, and made inappropriate jokes like a guy, and no one liked her.

"When I tell you I'm broken inside, I'm completely serious."

I was a good girl, smart, quiet, ladylike. Graduated HS. Decided to see the world before going to college. Took a job as a waitress in a comedy club, then decided to join the troupe. They ruined me. I've never been more grateful to a bunch of guys for doing that. I'm sure you've heard of a little movie coming out called, The Aristocrats? I'm DYING. I need to see it. I need my people. :-D The guys at my comedy club did a little something like that for initiation. It's a test, you see. It goes like this:

After your first workshop (en route to joining the troupe, like an audition) they take you out for dinner. The waitress comes, and they use the most foul language possible. "I fucking want some of this cunt-food here. I think your dumb ass calls it a salad? Can you jizz a little dressing on it?" Like that, but funnier. The newbie doesn't realize the waitress KNOWS these guys. Knows the score, and that she gets tipped HUGE for playing along and taking the abuse. So. Will the newbie be able to figure it out? I passed. So I became the Mormon with the Filthy Mouth. And they tested me: could they make sexual jokes around me? Could one guy stand in front of me (while I'm reading the latest Ball Draining Cum Mag in the Green Room) and ask me if I can tell him what this is, and he whips out his dick, wrapped in a bow, right in my face, and can I make a disparaging remark, or will I squeal and get the vapors?

It's disgusting, yes. And hilarious, too. But here's the thing: I was "one of the guys" in a way, but I was also prized for my girl-ness. They didn't objectify me (really), they accepted that I was another species, but appreciated that I had "guy humor." Clit jokes were as beloved as dick jokes. That was the only time in my life that I could really cut loose, say all the stuff that popped into my head, and not be looked at funny. Because where I live (the South), girls aren't supposed to be funny. Witty? Sure, but don't forget your lipstick.

Now, this scenario is unique. Most comedians will tell you that girls aren't funny. Girls can't tell a joke. This is REALLY true of the older comedians. And part of me wants to punch their nuts. And the other part of me wants to scream at the rest of us, because we don't LET women be funny.

And all through school, I was pretty lonely. I had friends, but no FRIENDS, you know? And then came college where you can drop your created persona and really be who you are for the first time in your life. And met chrissykiedis. And she's pretty and smart and quiet, and maybe one of the funniest people on the planet. And NOTHING is sacred. Her beloved dog Freckles died saving her life. Literally. And we cried and bawled and were chicks, then she quotes "Pet Semetary." And we start laughing about Freckles coming back "sour." "A man's heart is stonier, Louis." And she NAILS that accent. FUNNY.

And we were the ostracized girls growing up because of that, and it drives me insane, because I've met more funny females out here in LJ land than I EVER knew in RL. And I wonder why that is? We can't be funny in person, because we're trying to be pretty? Seriously, why is this? There are a lot of us in the world, but we don't SEE it in television and movies. We see pretty women who recline and toss off an amusing anecdote, but FUNNY women are few and far between in the world. Is it because we need really pretty girls to hold our attention? Shit, Molly Shannon lost all of my respect when she quit being insane and tried to make every character pretty and sexy. Watch reruns, and you'll see what I mean. Plus, she's kind of a one-note comedian.

Cheri O'Teri: funny. But generally sexualizes all of her characters. Two of the funniest things she ever did was the crazy lady with the 5000 prescriptions. "See, I take that opium for my corneal-tear, and the hashsih is for my rheumatism." And the "Simmah down, nah!" character kills me, since it's basically my aunt.

Rachel Dratch: funny. Period. But she's grotesque, yeah? You don't want to screw her, right? So she's safe? But she isn't mainstream. Dammit.

So, let's go back to Buffy for an example, because the show was hilarious. IT WAS FUNNY, PEOPLE. And you can tell that Sarah Michelle Gellar wasn't comfortable BEING funny for the first... four seasons. Every now and then she got off a good one, but it took her a few seasons to get the hang of it. Some of her funniest moments are when she's melodramatic. Or when someone asks her if she and Spike are dating and she busts out laughing. That's acting on cue, and she does THAT well.

But watch Anya. Watch season 6, when Buffy comes back, and the Scoobies are outside in the sun, Buffy walks up looking disoriented, and Anya says something about how maybe she's a zombie, then immediately laughs, waves her hand in a dismissive way and says, "You're fine." That, my friends, is comic delivery. And she (to use Joss' words) hits them out of the park everytime.

I think the reason people don't jive with Fred throughout her entire story-arc is because the writers couldn't decide who she was. Was the the crazy smart girl? Ha ha! She's just a nerd, that's great! Because why would anyone (Angel) be attracted to her! Then they sexualized her, and everyone called her Sticks on the fanboards, because black men like a little ass, and all we thought of her was her being with a man - she's no longer the smart quirky girl. And the other man (Wes) wanted her, and we were confused, because wasn't she the smart, quirky nerd and no one is attracted to quirky?

And for my other fandom, Star Wars, everyone hated Padme in the third movie because her snark was gone. And who better represents the pre-pubescent mind of males than George Lucas? Talk about objectifying women... But he didn't use to do that... Leia? Carrie Fischer? That woman breathes hilarity. But the funny, snarky woman was dropped from the movies, and everyone hated Padme brooding and being pretty. Which, kinda, gives me hope.

Now the question remains: when am I going to get my dream job of writing on the Daily Show for Samantha Bee? Or when is there going to be a time when we allow women to be REALLY FUNNY, regardless of their appearance, or better yet, when a woman's APPEARANCE isn't what makes her funny? And not hate them when they hit the ball out of the park? (Anya.)

Okay, I go think about how to objectify pretty men and make them kiss, now. Ha! I think I shot my comedy wad with Connie... *ponders*


And to close this out... from Rocky: WOMEN WEAKEN LEGS. Ha ha ha. Ass.

Comments

( 89 comments — Leave a comment )
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tx_cronopio
Aug. 2nd, 2005 08:47 am (UTC)
Oh, I don't even know how to respond. I am weepy today about all kind of life issues and this hit too many buttons. But yep. I'm pretty, and smart, and funny too! dammit. (Except really? not that pretty. Cute, at best.)
stoney321
Aug. 2nd, 2005 08:54 am (UTC)
See, QUIT PUTTING EMPHASIS ON THE A). You have two out of three that you are confident with, yes? Jesus, Donald Trump, who is on paper a successful person, has one of three, and I question the smart. :-D

This is my sounding the drum for the funny and smart girls. And me begging for folks to let us be just that!

*hugs you tight*
*honks your nose*
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tx_cronopio
Aug. 2nd, 2005 09:04 am (UTC)
Tee-hee! I always got "not pretty, but there's something about her" Which should be more gratifying than it is.

I Think Sue is Rill Pretty.
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winterlive
Aug. 2nd, 2005 09:18 am (UTC)
*checks off "pretty but bitch" on SO MANY FILES OMG*
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sdwolfpup
Aug. 2nd, 2005 09:10 am (UTC)
Great, great post. I LURVE Anya, I love how funny she is, how honest, and Emma Caulfield has perfect comic timing. Early Willow is cute, but Anya is funny.

I spent my late teens-early twenties gaming with a group made entirely of guys. Those Friday nights are some of the best experiences of my entire life. They just totally let loose and made so many gross jokes and picked on each other and they were always shocked when I held my own. But they liked that I wasn't offended by, well, anything.

I have to say, I think, um, "geeky" guys tend to like women because of B and C more than A. At least the geeky guys I've known. Because B and C make a woman A. It's the new math!
stoney321
Aug. 2nd, 2005 09:42 am (UTC)
THE NEW MATH!
I love that equation. It's interesting that I didn't date in certain places I lived, then, when I moved to a new location, I had more dates than I could shake a stick at.

EXAMPLE: Utah. Where women are still seen in the Madonna/Whore aspect. Not a lot of dates.
Texas: home of Ann Richards. Got lots of dates, and had fans (FANBOYS!) after shows that liked that I was silly and slapsticky and grotesque on stage. Amazing.

ANYA! I love her. You, too! And in conclusion, Red thirty-two! I'm ready for a comedy a la Ace Ventura where women aren't relegated to "straight man" roles. SHeeesh!
somecandytalkin
Aug. 2nd, 2005 09:15 am (UTC)
Heh:) I get ya. And lurve you so much! Will email ya back later today.
stoney321
Aug. 2nd, 2005 09:42 am (UTC)
I LOVE YOU TOO!!!

*waits*
amybnnyc
Aug. 2nd, 2005 09:17 am (UTC)
GAH! Amen. Don't really know what else to say but that (particularly to the witty-only policy in the South.) Anytime I visit home and I start being really, inappropriately funny (which I do a lot now, given that Gabe and I have the exact same VERY twisted sense of humor and I've just gotten used to spouting whatever I think), the looks I get range from mystified to horrified. Bah.

I like to think I'm some decent mix of all three of the main categories there--I'm not a supermodel, an astrophysicist, or always hysterical, but I've finally gotten to the point where I'm cool with that. Most days. Today I am hormonal, so my ass is too big. Oh well.
stoney321
Aug. 2nd, 2005 09:44 am (UTC)
Okay, pretend I've cut and pasted your whole comment __HERE__ because YES. Mr. S is silly and obnoxious and goofy and likes that I am (which is why I married him) and people don't know what to DO with us.

And I hate that I think too much on my thigh spread, but ultimately, I wanna laugh and drink 'ritas with my girls and have my hair not wonky and THAT is a good day.
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ely_jan
Aug. 2nd, 2005 09:21 am (UTC)
Am secure in the knowledge that I am smart and funny...you know, pretty? Never was a huge issue for me. There will always be someone prettier, someone uglier. It applies to the other two as well, but somehow (and rightly so, I think) a person's mind and their sense of humor is so uniquely personal that it is not judged by the same standards sometimes used as regard appearance.

Loved this post - Has been too long since I widened my eyes enough to see the whole of the whole picture on a topic that means something to me personally.

Damn, you're good.
stoney321
Aug. 2nd, 2005 09:45 am (UTC)
EDDIE!! Sue said above something I love: pretty gets old and fat, but we'll be slaying 'em in a retirement home with the brains and funny. :-D
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winterlive
Aug. 2nd, 2005 09:26 am (UTC)
I LOVE YOU I LOVE YOU I LOVE YOU I LOVE YOU.

I love Anya too. But mostly YOU. (Buffybot: How is your money? Anya: *surprised and pleased at bot's considerateness* Fine! Thank you for asking!)

I weigh 350 pounds. I'm NOT THE FUCKING PRETTY ONE, and I never have been. I've been the goofy sidekick, the grotesque distraction, and I'm fucking hilarious. I had to be. Choice A not an option, gotta go for B + C, right?

I'm Janeane Garofalo in The Truth About Cats & Dogs. Women like me are Cyrano, making the pretty interesting - or that's what they tell us. So we get cynical and jaded and angry and bitter, because for the most part, that's what they're telling the boys, too, and everyone buys it, so insecure teenage guys (ie: all of them) go for a trophy so nobody will make fun of them for their less-than-perfect girlfriend, and promptly get bored in fifteen minutes. Girls learn that you need to be beautiful if you're going to be dateable, end of sentence. Oops. Everybody's screwed. That's totally why everybody likes Oz.

Uh. So. Yes to everything you said. <3.
tx_cronopio
Aug. 2nd, 2005 09:42 am (UTC)
I love JG in Truth about Cats and Dogs!
And I've adoped a new motto, cribbed from a C&W song --
Some boys don't like girls like me *evil grin* but some boys do!

The happier with myself I am, the more men I get. I am also NOT THIN.

And I LURVE Anya. She's second only to Willow in my love for Bverse females.
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mskakaako
Aug. 2nd, 2005 09:28 am (UTC)
SING IT, SISTAH!!
Dammit Laura. You always say funny, pretty and smart as hell things. AND you've got a nice rack to boot. <--Heehee, that sounded like I want to kick your boobies. You're the perfect package. Hahah...package is funny. Anyway, how much do I love you for saying...

And who do people hate around here? Anya.
I have never understood why people hated Anya. I mean, both the Scoobies and the fans. I freakin' LOVE Anya. She's my favourite because she was freakin' hilarious and REAL. I never could forgive Xander for treating her like a freak when he was around the Scoobies and that ONE piddly little, "I love you because you make me feel like a man" speech doesn't do it. Hardly. *spits* Like Andrew said, Anya really is the perfect woman. Period. Full stop. End of story. I can spontaneously burst into tears when I think about how she met her end. Waaaaaaah! She deserved better!

AND THIS!!!
And then came college where you can drop your created persona and really be who you are for the first time in your life.
YES!!! I totally know what you are saying here and I love you for it.

Kind of OT, but...
The whole thing with the initiation reminds me of Grill Bitch from Kitchen Confidential. She was awesome. She has BALLS! Have you read it? I can send you a copy. I'm still thinking hard on what to get you for your birthday and yeah, it's going to be late because a few packs of Coffee Crisp does not a birthday present make. I love Anthony Bourdain for that book and for motivating me to go to Vietnam with A Cook's Tour, even if he's sold out with the tv show thingee.

Amy Poehler is hilarious AND married to Will Arnett. Their kids are going to be HEEfrickinLARIOUS!!! Samantha Bee killed me yesterday with the Arnold and pot hole sketch. Bwah! She's Canadian y'know. :D
stoney321
Aug. 2nd, 2005 09:52 am (UTC)
Re: SING IT, SISTAH!!
I LOVED that character in that book. I was just talking to someone about that, too... entrenous88? I cannot WAIT to see The Aristocrats. Judy Gold. LOVE her.

Amy Poehler can do no wrong in my book. Her one-legged character, her Appalachian old woman... Her WT whore with Jack Black... I love it. I love funny women, period.
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dlgood
Aug. 2nd, 2005 09:34 am (UTC)
Now the question remains: when am I going to get my dream job of writing on the Daily Show for Samantha Bee?

The other question being... Where is Beth Littleford? Because she was really freakin' hilarious.

I think the reason people don't jive with Fred throughout her entire story-arc is because the writers couldn't decide who she was.

Bingo. What one person or another finds attractive can vary (I though Fred was cute, but never sexy) but it's tougher when there's no understanding of the character. I'm not even talking about a case where someone has a character, but you just can't "peg" them. Fred was a case where I don't think anyone had the character.

And see, with Anya - I thought she was plenty funny, but I had trouble warming to her. Humor about stuff like murder and death does cross the line a bit, if you're actually a murderer...
stoney321
Aug. 2nd, 2005 09:56 am (UTC)
NOOOOOOOO!!! OMG, you did not compliment Beth Littleford in my journal... Okay, lemme 'splain. She is not funny. SHe represents what I HATE about wanna-be funny women. Oh, I'm just jumping down your throat, aren't I? Let's just say that I know things about her, and disapprove of her. She's the queen of going for the sexual aspect instead of really being able to be funny on her own. Anyone can say boobies and get a crowd to titter, but to make an audience roll with laughter? She can't do it. Sorry to yell at you...

Good points about Anya, but then... Spike was a murderer. Angel was a murderer. Shit, GILES killed someone. Does it matter that they are tortured male leads? I'm curious about that one.

And I agree with your comment on Fred. They just... never figured out WHO she was, then tried to tell us she had been all of those things all along, but we knew better, didn't we?
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bitchygrrl
Aug. 2nd, 2005 09:43 am (UTC)
I do know what you mean I was always the smartest girl in the class from 1st grade on and I embraced it, I always wanted to be pretty instead. I thought it was either or. Then I got to HS it was an girls school for the "academically talented" and there were girls who were pretty and funny and smart. Teachers told us there was no or. They said pretty was pretty was pretty useless, but you better be smart, and funny was part of smart. That they said made you one of "the girls". I learned pretty ain't bad, but it ain't important either. Funny is a gift from god if you've got it use it. See my definition of bitch. *points to user page* I think funny goes with that. 'Cause when I say what I think, and add a bit of wit, sarcasm or snark, or when I'm funny that's what some people say, but people worth knowing get me. I wish more women were funny. And for the record I loved Anya. My RL friends (all 5 of them, a small but elite group) say were rather similiar, so maybe that's why I liked her.
BTW "Boys don't make passes at girls who wear glasses" But baby I love my glasses had 'em since I was five won't give 'em up for anything. The question is do girls who wear glasses make passes at men. Oh baby you don't know the half.
stoney321
Aug. 2nd, 2005 10:00 am (UTC)
Oh, honey, I have EWAN-ESQUE glasses. And I got the men. That line is a lie. Heeee!

For the record? I'm a complete whore. HA HA HA!
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marlo
Aug. 2nd, 2005 09:54 am (UTC)
Janeane Garofalo, Margaret Cho, and Sarah Silverman. ^_^
They're my faves.
stoney321
Aug. 2nd, 2005 09:57 am (UTC)
Oh, SARAH SILVERMAN. That girl has a MOUTH. I love her. SHe's in The Aristocrats. What I love most about her, is that she's a comedian's comedian. And is a girl. She's brilliant.

All good choices, and I whole-heartedly agree.
hellziggy
Aug. 2nd, 2005 10:13 am (UTC)
But Willow and Buffy work because Willow is Smart. She's the Geeky Smart girl who loses to who? Cordy, The Prettiest Girl Ever, OMG.

But...but...but...Willow was so way prettier than Cordy and Buffy. Xander was a moron for not wanting her. Heck, all the boys were morons for not wanting her, and the girls too! She's tied at second place with Angel for the Buffy character I most wanna shag!! Yeah, you know who's first...
stoney321
Aug. 2nd, 2005 10:31 am (UTC)
Yes, I know that YOU (and my husband,too, for that matter) think Willow is the prettiest. But that is not what media tells us, which is the point I'm making here. *I* think she's lovely, too, but Cordy and Buffy are the "pretty ones." You see?

Now. Tell me what you think about funny women. :-D
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zyrya
Aug. 2nd, 2005 11:03 am (UTC)
Wait ... we hate Anya? She's my #1 girl!
stoney321
Aug. 2nd, 2005 11:15 am (UTC)
No, WE *points to you and me* don't hate her. But there are a LOT of people who do. I usually stop reading a fic (and the writer, too) when they go on about the Evil Anya. Yeah, S7 she became evil again, but... before? She was comic relief. I love her.
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stoney321
Aug. 2nd, 2005 11:20 am (UTC)
Good point about Hermione. And I love how she took Ron to task in GoF for not realizing boys would like her - even though (IMO) Ron just wasn't aware of HOW to tell her he liked her. But she didn't compromise anything about herself, and she's this horrible person with no friends at the beginning of the series. I love that she's figured out how to use her brains, her sarcasm, and just her... growing up throughout the series. I love love love Hermione.

And I was surrounded by outright hilarious women. My mother, for all her major faults in life, is absolutely hilarious. My sisters. Our female friends as I grew up - all wet your pants funny. So... it was weird to not have anything like that available growing up outside of my own home. We were encouraged to do funny voices, silly walks, goofy whatever, all for the sake of the joke.

It's discouraging to find that television/movies try and discourage women from being crazygonutz - we are pretty women who open a funny door, which is the very OPPOSITE of comedy: you open a door FUNNY.
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Are You Actually

Reading this? I'm just curious. Because that's really detail-oriented of you. Feel free to stop reading. But you can see that there's more here, so are you going to keep reading? Really? That's pretty dedicated. I'm impressed. No, really. I'm not being sarcastic, why do you get like that? See, this is the problem I have with your mother - yes. YES. I'm going there. It's time we put all of our cards on the table.

I love you, why are you doing this? After all we've been through? You don't have to be like this. You know, still reading. You could be baking a pie. And then sharing it with me.

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