Saturday, January 10, 2015

The Boyle Rule

I don't think this "comedian" thought through his attempted defense of women posing as comedians very well:
[T]he BBC made it policy early in 2014 to ensure at least one woman appears on each panel show. Frankly, it was about time, given the move followed years of men dominating such programmes.

Heck, I shouldn’t even be talking about “female comedians”; "female" isn’t a genre of comedy. Comedians are comedians, pure and simple. Audiences don’t rock with laughter at comedians because they’re women. They laugh because they’re funny. Heck, I shouldn’t even be talking about “female comedians”; "female" isn’t a genre of comedy. Comedians are comedians, pure and simple. Audiences don’t rock with laughter at comedians because they’re women. They laugh because they’re funny.
If comedians are comedians, pure and simple, then why does the BBC need to mandate at least one woman on each panel show. The point is that most audiences don't rock with laughter at "female comedians". Very, very few female comedians are even remotely funny, and watching a UK panel show makes that all the more obvious. Men still dominate the panel shows, the difference is that now there is a woman on the panel, mostly sitting there in silence watching her nominal peers be funny.

Watch an old episode of Mock the Week sometime. Frankie Boyle effortlessly dominates the show, but even the lesser male comedians are as far beyond the women posing as comedians as Boyle is beyond them. I used to amuse myself sometimes by counting how long it took before the token female comedian on the show dared to open her mouth for the first time. And when she did, it's usually some short joke based on the tired old cliche of there being humor in the notion of a woman saying something sexually rude.

Actually, some of the funniest moments were the expressions on the faces of the women on the show in reaction to something hilariously offensive that Frankie said. So, I suppose there is a defensible reason for having women posing as comedians on panel shows so long as Frankie is on there too. Call it the Boyle Rule.

Consider, here are what one woman posing as a comedian claims are the very best jokes told by women:
  • "The best way to a man's heart is through his hanky pocket with a bread knife" - Jo Brand 
  • "A woman without a man is like a fish without a bicycle" - Gloria Steinem 
  • "I saw a pair of knickers today - on the front it said, 'I would do anything for love' and on the back it said 'but I won't do that'" - Sarah Millican  
  • "Gravity is the story of how George Clooney would rather float away into space and die than spend one more minute with a woman his own age" - Tina Fey 
  • “In advertisements, there are just two types of women: wanton, gagging for it; or vacuous. We’re either coming on a window-pane, or laughing at salads” - Bridget Christie  
  • "I blame my mother for my poor sex life. All she told me was, 'The man goes on top and the woman underneath'. For three years my husband and I slept in bunk beds" - Joan Rivers 
  • "I was raped by a doctor, which is so bittersweet for a Jewish girl" - Sarah Silverman  
  • “Men don’t realise that if we’re sleeping with them on the first date, we’re probably not interested in seeing them again either” - Chelsea Handler. 
Granted, the Silverman and Fey jokes are genuinely funny. But do you notice a certain... theme? Women simply have no range. All they can ever talk about is sex, sexual relations, men and sex, and women and sex. Most of their emotional vibe is reactionary. Even in the rare event that a woman is actually funny, her thematic monotony soon grows tiresome.

Meanwhile, good male comedians throw off much funnier jokes across a much wider range of topics just in passing:
  • (To a crowd in Newcastle) You may not recognize my accent. It is, in fact, educated. - Simon Evans
  • I've been studying Israeli army martial arts. I now know 16 ways to kick a Palestinian woman in the back. - Frankie Boyle
  • (On being mugged in Hull) Incredibly awkward when you're involved in a confrontation of this sort and you have to spend the whole time saying 'I'm terribly sorry, young man, but I really can't understand a word.' Turned out he was saying 'give me your money'. I said, what, all of it? Most of it's tied up in land. - Miles Jupp

41 comments:

Duke of Earl said...

I did hear one from a woman who acknowledged that female comedians have a one track mind. Her period joke, "what has two legs and bleeds?" "Half a dog."

Jack Aubrey said...

The Joan Rivers joke wasn't bad, either.

VoodooJock said...

Adding a token female in ruins the whole dynamic. She either turns into an attention whore (like Yoko Ono when John Lennon and Chuck Berry were jamming--look up Bill Burr's take on that), the others become deferential to her, or she winds up getting offended at something and ruins the dynamic entirely

cailcorishev said...

"The best way to a man's heart is through his hanky pocket with a bread knife" - Jo Brand

A lot of comedienne material is basically "wouldn't it be funny to cut their dicks off" or worse; stuff comedians would never get away with in reverse. Maybe the shock of it would have been kinda funny a couple generations ago, but not anymore.

"A woman without a man is like a fish without a bicycle" - Gloria Steinem

Again, man-hating and politics. I didn't even know this was supposed to be funny.

"I saw a pair of knickers today - on the front it said, 'I would do anything for love' and on the back it said 'but I won't do that'" - Sarah Millican

Ok, that one made me chuckle a little on the inside. Yes, it's about sex, but at least it's clever and timed well.

"Gravity is the story of how George Clooney would rather float away into space and die than spend one more minute with a woman his own age" - Tina Fey

Too wordy, but maybe it'd be funny if I'd seen the movie. She's funny sometimes, but she seems funnier than she is because she's hot.

“In advertisements, there are just two types of women: wanton, gagging for it; or vacuous. We’re either coming on a window-pane, or laughing at salads” - Bridget Christie

What?

"I blame my mother for my poor sex life. All she told me was, 'The man goes on top and the woman underneath'. For three years my husband and I slept in bunk beds" - Joan Rivers

Joan was genuinely funny; this one doesn't work so well as text, but when I hear it in her voice, it does.

"I was raped by a doctor, which is so bittersweet for a Jewish girl" - Sarah Silverman

"I'm Jewish, so it's okay for you to laugh at Jews if I tell the jokes."

“Men don’t realise that if we’re sleeping with them on the first date, we’re probably not interested in seeing them again either” - Chelsea Handler.

The problem with this one is it's false, and not false in an ironic way, just false. Good humor hits the truth somehow.

You're right. Most women aren't that funny, and when they are, it's usually in reaction to men, which limits their humor to boy-girl topics. Women should stick to things like sketch comedy, where men can do most of the writing for them.

Xmas said...

Joan Rivers is genuinely funny. I heard her once when she was a keynote speaker at a conference I attended. Her best joke revolved around pitfalls of running an international business and Cathy Lee getting busted for using Chinese child laborers for her jewelry collection, "Tiny fingers set tiny stones!".

Matt said...

I give Tina Fey a lot of credit. 30 Rock was a genuinely funny show. In large part this was due to some extremely honest humor about its overarching theme - "No, you can't have it all." And of course Alec Baldwin being a good enough actor that his conservative stereotype Jack Donaghy turned out in his flawed way to be an admirable and successful voice of reason.

jimmy-jimbo said...

Comedy has taken a backseat to political correctness. Women comedians are merely piling on the unfunny.

Conscientia Republicae said...

Tina Fey is hot. She and Joan Rivers are the only female comedians I consider funny, but still male comedians are far ahead of them. Rivers I consider to be a sort of female Dangerfield.

All time favorites are Dangerfield, Gaffigan and Burr.

Conscientia Republicae said...

30 Rock was funny due to Fey, of course but also the talent on the show. Top notch.

idd said...

The coercion, tokenism and complete anti-freedom and spontaneity of panel shows or anything is just a sickening example of the totalitarian manipulation we really have behind the scenes.

There are of course a very few funny women, and when choice is free and not forced, their presence can be genuinely appreciated. BUT not like this. Same with the other tokenism. It is beyond laughable!!!

BBC is a joke. So true that women are not funny--- it is said that humour is a male secondary sexual characteristic.

Or perhaps just an example of the masculine mind at work on reality.

Iowahine said...

re: Steinem's fish and bicycle quip

The only thing funny about the statement is that it's usually presented as if it's profound.

Survival Gardener/David The Good said...

My three favorites: David Mitchell, Bill Murray and Groucho Marx. Totally different styles, but still way ahead of the pack.

Conscientia Republicae said...

I was just talking about standup. Marx is definitely top five outside of standup.

Earl Thomas said...

I agree that 30 Rock was funny...if you watch it you notice that Fey makes fun of her feminist life quite a bit in it.

Joan Rivers is the only female comedian that I can recall that has made me laugh...and a lot of it was because she basically told the truth.

Conscientia Republicae said...

The talent on 30 Rock...breathtaking in many ways. Fey and Katrina Bowden? Yes. Tracy Morgan, Alex Baldwin, Jack McBrayer, Judah 'Friedlander's hats... Jane Krakowski as the stereotypical hot mess crackhead.

Unknown said...

Joan Rivers is the only female comedian that I can recall that has made me laugh...and a lot of it was because she basically told the truth. Earl Thomas

As noted good comedy is based on truth and is usually a form of irony. The late Mitch Hedberg is a master at stand-up, as good as they get for a real thinking man. Rickles and Dangerfield are classic Old school and Richard Pryor was a good black comedian, before "**** You" became the black man's idea of comedy.

Women don't do comedy well, because they need to feel empathy for a victim, while good comedy is often administration of pain, psychic or otherwise and a good comedian dishes it out, whereas women empathize with the victim, against the "disher, leaving things flat.

AmyJ said...

Tina Fey and Joan Rivers are the only two comediennes who have ever made me laugh out loud because of what others pointed out: not taking themselves seriously. The rest simply strike me as mean-spirited. It's always at someone else's expense, never their own.

Sarah Silverman is vile on so many levels.

Conscientia Republicae said...

I've never laughed at anything she said or did, mainly just changed the channel.

Alexander Thompson said...

All Jo Brand jokes boil down to "I am a fat, old slag."

Sean Carnegie said...

Seth Meyers: "Michael Vick got 2 votes for MVP, both coming from cats." Perfect joke, no wasted words.

He's become much more blue pill since getting married (what man doesn't, it seems), but Bill Burr might be the funniest man doing standup now. Jim Gaffigan's a close second.

Ibelin said...

You can always spot a delta as the guy who laughs hysterically at a woman who isn't remotely funny

Conscientia Republicae said...

Gaffigan /Burr

I'd pay to see that show.

Vogon X said...

Although I loathe Sarah Millican, her line was actually funny.

Women simply have no range. All they can ever talk about is sex, sexual relations, men and sex, and women and sex.

This goes for feminist pundits as well, although not all female pundits.

mmaier2112 said...

I liked Rita Rudner way back in the day.

I love the Sarah Silverman doctor rape joke but that's about it. She seems like a seriously bitter bitch.

Her getting punched out in "Way of the Gun" is her best comic performance ever.

Vox said...

Seth Meyers: "Michael Vick got 2 votes for MVP, both coming from cats." Perfect joke, no wasted words.

I disagree. It shows he doesn't know the NFL. It would have been better thus: "Michael Vick got 2 votes for MVP, from Jacksonville and Carolina."

Perhaps it expects too much from the listener. But it is funnier.

Retrenched said...

@jimmyjimbo

True that. Most male comics these days aren't funny either. Emasculated by political correctness.

Still, the point holds that men are generally much better at comedy than women are, overall.

Tommy Hass said...

To Charlie Sheen:"You’re just like Bruce Willis — you were big in the 80s and now your old slot is being filled by Ashton Kutcher.” — Amy Schumer

Tommy Hass said...

"Her getting punched out in "Way of the Gun" is her best comic performance ever."

What was she saying before she got punched in the face? Btw, Jews aren't a bunch of subversive pro fag degenerates. No sir.

Colonel Blimp said...

Jo brand is usually funny especially on qi . The difference is she is Bea Arthur esqu dry And old almost like an old aloof man. The rest are quite dull which is the worst thing a comedian can be

Pirran said...

The best of the bunch right now are Garfunkel and Oates. Jo Brand delivers the occasional half-joke, but little else. Sarah Silverman was always over-rated. Joan Rivers could be funny, as could Rita Rudner at her peak, but then you're starting to rack your brain. Tina Fey can write (as could Vicki Wood). Sue Perkins is a quick wit (but no stand-up), Chelsea Handler and Whitney Cummings are awful - the very essence of PC protectionism and essentially the same act. No man could get away with such trite and gormless smut in a third rate dive bar.

subject by design said...

I don't know how the BBC is set up, but if this means there will be a female on Top Gear - oh, that's awful.

Pirran said...

@subject by design

Clarkson would quit, which would be the end of Top Gear. Even the rabidly PC Beeb Management team aren't quite that dim, given the export markets that Top Gear sells to.

Corvinus said...

Given the epic fail of most female humor (with the qualified exception of Joan Rivers), I think it would be fun to guess the sociosexual rank of different comedians based on their jokes.

I disagree. It shows he doesn't know the NFL. It would have been better thus: "Michael Vick got 2 votes for MVP, from Jacksonville and Carolina."

Perhaps it expects too much from the listener. But it is funnier.


@Vox
Yeah, too much of an in-joke. It may be funny, but most women and many men (myself included) wouldn't get it.

Jason Lee said...

Ellen D is pretty funny and has a good range. But I suppose she would be the lesbian exception who truly proves the rule.

SirThermite said...

Even worse are the few amateur female comics who will occasionally venture on stage during an open mic night. Brace yourself for abortion jokes and personal anecdotes about their own mental illnesses.

Conscientia Republicae said...

Ellen isn't funny at all in my opinion. I'm mainly resentful towards her for keeping Portia DeRossi off the market.

cailcorishev said...

I saw Ellen on some comedy special or other back when she was starting out. I remember her being at least somewhat funny -- enough that I remembered her, anyway. But she was also cute back then, wearing a dress and having feminine hair, before she came out as a lesbian. As best I recall, most of her comedy was the usual girl stuff about boyfriend problems.

We seem to have made Vox's point very well: some women are funny, but funny or not, their comedy is all centered on sex and relationships -- in other words, about themselves. With the possible exception of one Joan Rivers.

JP said...

"I don't know how the BBC is set up, but if this means there will be a female on Top Gear - oh, that's awful."

It's called Fifth Gear: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zm4J_5JKtrM

xandohsa said...

My favorite female comedian is Jeanne Robertson. You may know her as the one who refers to her husband as, "Left Brain". She's devastatingly funny, but also unlike your typical female comedian. She doesn't come at you with any kind of punky or precocious attitude, like most female comedians do. She's coming at you like a mother-figure, which is a most unexpected vector for comedy. She's brilliant. That's something I can't say about 99% of the other female comedians out there.

Owen said...

Of modern comedians, I like Brian Regan. I have younger children, so I look for cleaner comedy that they can still relate, like Regan and Gaffigan.

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