Humor and Satire– Shmatire!

Tag Archives: Funny women

 

 

Jill Anderson (Laff Tent, Las Vegas, 2007):

Thanks for having me everyone, it’s great to be here in Las Vegas!  I love this town!  Anyone here from Boston?  Yeah, I live in Boston.  There’s some terrible neighborhoods in Boston.  I was walking down the street in my neighborhood the other day when suddenly this homeless guy jumped out of nowhere and got all in my face.  He’s got this Bible and he’s literally thumping it right at me.  

               Seriously though, I feel like my life has new meaning ever since I became a mom.  I just love my new baby so much and I’m so happy and fulfilled by taking care of her.  Children are so amazing.  Even just giving birth was this incredible experience for me.  It was completely life-changing, you know?  It’s like, before I had a child, I really had no understanding of the enduring power of love.  Bringing new life into the world is just really the most inspiring and worthwhile thing I have ever done.

                You’ve been a great audience, thank you so much! 

 

Myra Briggs (Chuckle Hut, NYC, 2009):  

Hello New York!  I love it here.  Seriously, such a great place.  But you know what I don’t love?  Your f*#&ing airports—am I right?  It doesn’t matter where you fly into; NYC airports are absolutely the worst.

You know what I do love though?  Shopping!  Especially for shoes. It’s funny, I already have a lot of shoes–I mean, a LOT of shoes, all different kinds– but sometimes when I’m getting dressed up to go out with my girlfriends, it’s like I still feel like I have barely ANY options as far as shoes to wear.  You know what I mean?  And shoe-shopping cheers me up like nothing else.  When I’m having a bad day, sometimes I head over to DSW and just browse the shoes for an hour.  Even if I don’t buy any, it really turns my whole mood around.

              Wow, you guys are the best!  Thanks for coming out tonight!

 

Gwen Daughtry (Bedford Grill, Chicago, 2010):

            So the other day my husband and I went out to dinner, and we were at this French restaurant we’d never been to before– and the menu was completely unpronounceable!  It made me feel like an idiot!  I didn’t know what any of the dishes were, so when the waiter got there I just pointed at one and nodded, like I knew what I was talking about.  

            Also, I have to ask, can anyone here recommend a good moisturizer?  One that’s really light– I have oily skin– but also that lasts all day?  They stopped making the one I’d been using for years, and it’s been pretty rough experimenting with new brands, you know?  I’d much rather try out something that’s been suggested to me.  My problem is, my forehead and nose get really oily, but my cheeks are always so dry!  Also, I’ve heard that as you age, certain types of moisturizer– mostly tinted– just kind of sink into the wrinkles on your face and make you look older.  That’s why I’ve always tried to stay away from tinted moisturizer.

            You guys have been great!  Thank you so much!

 

Karen Marble (Tuney McGee’s, Ft. Worth, 2012):

            So lately I’ve been on this diet, and it’s really cramping my style—by which I mean, my ability to subsist on straight Burger King three meals a day.  We’ve all been there, right?  You guys know what I’m talking about?

            Anyway cramps bloating high heels Pamprin equal pay have a headache appletini BFF tampons maternity clothes uterus mani-pedi heavy flow crying probiotic yogurt mascara!

            Thanks, everyone!  You’re all fabulous!  Good night!

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I’d like to devote my next several posts to the female humorists I’ve loved and admired since early childhood.  Here’s to you, ladies!  You helped make me who I am today.  It’s ok, I forgive you.

First up:  Erma Bombeck.

You were one of the first humorists I ever read, at the tender age of 9 or 10, and I’ll never forget how excited I was to discover your voice.  You wrote about being a housewife and raising a family in the suburbs—not the most scintillating subject matter, but you made it funny and real.  You were humbly self-deprecating, but you also had a sly wit and a way with zingy one-liners.  As a child growing up in New York City, the life you described was far from my own experiences, but you made it tangible, and I wanted to read every book you wrote.

Reading your work now almost twenty years later, I have a slightly different perspective.  I still love your shrewd observations and gentle wit, but I also see you as a bright, passionate woman who loved her children and her husband but wasn’t sure exactly how she was supposed to spend her days as a housewife.  Someone who struggled to find meaning in her life in an age when raising a family and taking care of your husband and your home was supposed to fulfill your every need.  You knew better, Erma, and you recorded your struggles with wit and wisdom, with charm and devastating humor.

As a little girl, reading your work taught me that women can grow up to be funny and smart, and to bring wit and life into whatever they do.


Howard, Steve and I took on women in comedy in this week’s Perpetual Post.   Check it out!

I’m growing tired of hearing about how Tina Fey and Amy Poehler are such funny women.  I mean, yes, they are.  But is this such a revelation?  The amount of attention those two receive for being funny is becoming a little patronizing, because for the most part it’s the same reaction of good-natured astonishment that would be elicited by the sight of a gopher wearing chaps or a tap-dancing kitten.  The implication is:  Look!  These women are breaking down barriers, they’ve turned our misconceptions upside down; they’re thriving outside their element!  It’s as thought the general public thinks each of them woke up one day and said, “Today, I think I’ll be funny– unlike women.”

Tragically, I was never informed that women aren’t funny.  As a result, I spent my clearly misguided youth worshipping witty, smart-ass female authors like Erma Bombeck, Jean Kerr and Cynthia Heimel.  I listened to old records and radio programs and grew to love the crackling improv of Elaine May and Joyce Grenfell and the sweet guile of Gracie Allen.  I rented early Saturday Night Live episodes and marveled at the physical comedy of Gilda Radner and the snarky wit of Lily Tomlin.  All of these women were brilliantly funny.  I guess none of them got the memo.

It’s true that my many female comic idols are often less well-known than their male counterparts.  George Burns’ fame far surpassed that of his counterpart and comic foil, Gracie Allen.  Ricky always told Lucy she couldn’t be in the Babalu show.  Saturday Night Live, for all its talented female stars, never seemed to launch their careers as far as it did the careers of legendary comedians like Steve Martin and Jim Belushi.

Indeed, for every smart, funny female role model I discovered through books, radio and television, there were many mediums which suffered from a distinct lack of vibrant female characters—or any female characters.  After all, Bugs Bunny had all the good one-liners.  None of the women stranded on Gilligan’s Island had decent comic timing; Smurfette was dull as dishwater.  But to me, the lesson there was still not ‘girls in general aren’t as funny as boys’—it was ‘those girls aren’t funny’.  So instead I watched Murphy Brown raise hell, and dreamed of the day I would live un-chaperoned in the Plaza Hotel like bossy, outrageous Eloise.

I agree with Steve Murphy that humor thrives on awkwardness and alienation, and that an adolescent penchant for feeling like an outcast is very likely to produce an individual who is quick with a one-liner and has a Simpson’s quote for every occasion.  But I disagree that humor is a defense mechanism and a means of social survival mostly for males.  Rather, I think it is a natural reflex for either sex—one that, if properly nurtured and cultivated, can be merrily abused as a dysfunctional means of self-protection by both boys and girls.  After all, both face a tremendous amount of pressure to fit into their respective roles—and there are always going to be those on both sides who look around and think, “Wow, this shit is hilarious.”

I also agree with Howard that individual women who are not funny are often used as an example to somehow prove that women in general are not funny—which I find unfair.  Were this standard applied to men, Pauly Shore alone would irrevocably prove that all men as a rule are desperately unfunny.  Which is fair to no one, except Pauly Shore.



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