It’s Time To Stop Pretending That Women Aren’t Funny

Alyssa Stathis, Reporter

A statement that I’ve heard far too many times this year is the classic “women aren’t funny.” Anyone with a real knowledge on the history and craft of comedy knows that this just simply is not true. One’s gender does not determine how funny or unfunny they are. It honestly baffles me, that in the year of 2018, people still have this openly sexist view on women in comedy. With successful comedy shows like The Mindy Project, Broad City, and Girls, it’s obvious that someone thinks women are funny and that someone would be correct. There are so many truly funny and creative women in the comedy business who have contributed to the art of comedy in more ways than one.

Fanny Brice, also known as “America’s first female comedy superstar”, broke barriers for women in comedy. Brice was discovered by Florenz Ziegfeld Jr and soon rose to fame as a comedic actress both on stage and in film. Fascinated by her humor and bold personality, a Broadway show based on her life was written and perfectly entitled Funny Girl. Later on in her career, she created and starred on her own radio comedy show called The Baby Snooks Show which was the top-rated radio comedy series at the time.

When The Mary Tyler Moore Show graced televisions in 1970, no one had any idea how much of an impact it would have in the comedy world. Portraying a single, working woman, Mary Tyler Moore inspired the classic sitcoms that we know and love today. Twenty-five out of the seventy-five writers on the show’s staff were women which was almost unheard of in 1970. One of the first female writers hired on the show later on became the first solo female writer to win an Emmy for comedy writing.

Mindy Kaling broke the glass ceiling when she became the first Indian-American actress to star in her own comedy show. At the age of 24, Kaling was the only woman on the writing staff for NBC’s The Office. She’s the mastermind behind the iconic season 6 episode entitled Niagara in which Jim and Pam get married. She has also written three books in the humor genre: Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (and other concerns), Questions I ask When I Want To Talk About Myself, and Why Not Me? all three making it to the bestsellers list. Mindy Kaling is living proof that women belong in the comedy world. Without her, comedy simply would not be the same.

Brice, Moore, and Kaling are just a few names on the long list of successful female comedians. I will never understand how someone can claim to be a fan of comedy without acknowledging the sheer genius of Michaela Coel, Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Tig Notaro, or Megan Mullally. It’s sad to me when I hear people completely disregard all of the contributions that women have made to comedy.

In a generation as progressive and open-minded as this one, it’s odd that people still say that women aren’t funny. I’m not saying that you can’t think a woman isn’t funny because some women aren’t, just like some men aren’t. I could name about 5 men that I don’t find funny but does that mean I’m going to generalize an entire gender by saying that “men aren’t funny” ? No, because for every man that I know who isn’t funny, there’s one that I know who is.

Women shouldn’t have to prove that they can be funny, it should be obvious that they are capable of doing so because the reality is that anyone from anywhere can be funny, regardless of their gender.

Before Carol Burnett stepped out into the comedy world with The Carol Burnett Show, CBS tried their hardest to talk her out of it and even went as far as to say “You know, Carol, Variety is a man’s game.” Just a few years after that was said, Burnett was being praised for her comedic genius. The ratings for her show were outstanding and Carol was undoubtedly funny as she continued to captivate the nation with each new episode. I’m constantly inspired by women like Carol Burnett who, despite what people say, are confident within themselves and don’t need anyone’s approval to know who they truly are.

So, before you say that women aren’t funny, take some time to research all of the hilarious women who are currently dominating the comedy scene and all of the revolutionary women who came before them. The truth is that women ARE funny and they always have been.