Women are not funny.
So said someone to me at an Edinburgh Fringe years ago. I was not a performer at that particular fringe; I was not producing a comedy show nightly to audiences. She was. Yes, she. That statement was said to me (on Chambers Street) by a funny woman in the middle of her comedy run at the largest arts festival in the world. We were walking in a group with her fellow performers looking for a late night bar. Following her statement, I said ‘what?’ her fellow performers said ‘yeh, women aren’t funny: at least not as funny as men.’ In the spirit of putting things in quotation marks, my brain (and possibly my mouth) said ‘fuck that’. I went back to my digs and wrote 5 minutes of stand up. I am not a stand-up comedienne, but I wrote the thing, because I was angry. I was really, really angry.
I’m not just angry at people saying that women aren’t funny; I’m angry that it was a woman who said that women aren’t funny. I’m not just angry at people saying women can’t be funny, I’m angry at anyone saying that a woman can’t do anything to the same standards as a man. It’s true that stand-up comedy started in men’s clubs. A man would literally stand up and tell a joke, and then another man would stand up and tell another as a response or an adage. It’s stand-up because you’re standing up. That night in Edinburgh, I chose to stand up. (Read more, click cont)