In Which We Attempt To Discern Which Women Are Actually Funny


Women Are Funny Right I Mean Check This Out

by Alex Carnevale

The women are funny issue of Vanity Fair that really got me to thinking – are women funny? According to Hitchens, no.

Molly was funny until I realize she ripped all her slang off urban dictionary. While it is amusing to watch a ginger blogger call, for example, a penis a ‘jangle dangle’, I can always watch Night Court reruns if all I want to do is chuckle.

The story of funny women in my life began with my first real friend of the opposite sex. She would makes “jokes” that mostly revolved around that week’s episode of The X-Files. As she got prettier, her love of science fiction dimmed and she mostly resorted to stealing my jokes and rehashing them to the less brainy types in our school. This backfired on her sex life, but probably that and her new breasts got her into Harvard.


sandra and sarah

My first real high school girlfriend was also a highly humorous woman. We had a lot of material, mostly about her taking on an alter ego of this other girl we went to school with. She thus would call up my house and announce, “This Is Tiffany!” My dad once caught the receiving end of her catchphrase and I believe he viewed the incident as inflexibly as Richard Gere in The Mothman Prophecies.

The male humor of the time was largely based around how adept you were at the various catchphrases of the MTV show The State. We used to pass around The State‘s now extremely rare travel guide and laugh about all the balls jokes.

The humor of the grade above us, in contrast, was far darker, and more drug-induced, like this one time my friend Mike became convinced we were plotting to kill him and hid behind a rock in his backyard for three hours.

Things got pathetic quick. The more boys you added to the mix, the sadder it got. The key to humor was women. They made the real observations, they lived outside themselves, creating the distance necessary for humor.


high school era comedians

Male high-school humor of that mid 90s period tended to be more based on repetition and catchphrases. We all enjoy a good catchphrase from time to time, especially when it is also a joke at the expense of someone. On my junior varsity baseball team, the hot word of the season was ‘fugly’ until I called a big team meeting.

“You guys,” I told them, ‘I need to start questioning the relative comedic merits of the term ‘fugly.’ I can’t help but think that if we had something funnier to say between innings that we wouldn’t be 7-12.”

In an effort to provide that funny, team rallying moment, I tied myself up with a seatbelt during the next road trip and was promptly suspended from the next week’s road game at Windham.


chelsea handler: likely conversation point in VF office: “Can we get someone hot who’s kinda funny?”

Sports were a big time for the joke culture in my high school. The funniest players often got the most playing time, once leading to a start for me at power forward when our regular big man got caught cheating in his Spanish class. That year I received the freshman basketball team thinking man’s award. If only my brand of
low-turnover, high rebound unselfish basketball
were more highly regarded in high school coaching.

To be honest, I really didn’t want to play, I more wanted to crack inappropriate jokes in which I gave the more athletic opposition lines from the show In Living Color.

As we got older and class, gender, and racial differences began taunting us the way they are in this election of our souls, it became more important to focus on that which brought us together-sex. Sex jokes were both easy and revealing. They were easy because the mere mention of the phrase cockring was enough to send even the most hardened 16 year old exploding in laughter, and they were revealing because you might accidentally learn that much more about a classmate’s sexual dysfunction, a development which would gainfully prepare you for the magical moments to come.


I was always a big fan of Jan Hooks. tina fey

When I was a sophomore, I began spending more time around the older girls at our school. I learned a lot about how to be bossy from them. Their sexualities were far more complicated, and jokes about their period far more frequent.

When I went to college, dork humor emerged in full force. I wasn’t really aware of the nuances of private and boarding school humor of the East and West coasts.

One thing that is consistent about this brand of humor is that it is entirely male – see the Lampoon – and as base as you can get, with the sole exception of a punchline based on some upper class affect, like, “…but then he realized they were fucking in a maserati.” I thought a Maserati was pizza parlor until the age of 20.

she’s f-ing matt damon

I’d rehash the particulars of college humor, but for me they largely consist of Danish provoking someone and then pointing at me to indicate I was the real source of the venom. Once he victimized a young lady by telling her she had a ten dollar haircut and the girl ended up punching me in the jaw.

Anyway, as you can see things didn’t have any actual humor in them until I met women. Not these women, though, who are just being chosen for their good looks, except for token fugly Sandra Bernhard. See how I brought it back there? Nevermind.


hitchens response

I can’t help but fear the women of TR are more hilarious than any motley collection of film and television. Wanda Sykes excepted of course, she is the black female Me. When Molly’s not off on some jag where she begins every sentence with, “As a feminist…” or “After I invented emosogyny…” she can be the funniest person I know.

unfunny author of the rejoinder

The funniest joke someone told me this week was by Rachael, who for some reason is still reading Andrew Sullivan. She described AS’s continual Obama ass-kissing as the equivalent of someone posting a picture of Obama and writing First!!! after it. (Rachael wrote about why she is the funniest person she knows here.)

When I think about it harder and with photosets on hand, all the most hilarious people I know are women. Women aren’t afraid of looking silly, they laugh at the right jokes, not just when they feel they should, and they don’t look like Patton Oswalt.

Alex Carnevale is the editor of This Recording.


My point of view on these girls is: I resent that I even know who they are. I couldn’t hum one tune that Britney Spears ever sang, and yet I have seen her vagina. – Susie Essman



Tess reimagines hell

Molly made me laugh about California and Texas.

Ellen Page’s iTunes playlist

Molly on Diane Keaton

molly lambert

Rachael’s pet peeves

Karina in Ireland

Molly and the king of comedy

Claire made me laugh about country music.

Our girl Jess’ adolescence entry.


Tess vs. Nostradamus

Becca’s observations on the Julia Allison phenomenon are so choice

Rashida Jones‘ favorite things

Amy King is v. hilarious

Lamby reasons with her homophobic cousin

m. young

Joan Ben Didion and Molly Young’s revolutionary series, The American Colony

Karina and Cher

Becca in high school was the cool kid

Tess was basically Jodie Foster in Silence of the Lambs: Part 1 & Part 2


“Jenni Anne” – These United States (mp3)

“These Few Presidents” – Why? (mp3)

“How Does It Feel?” – Spacemen 3 (mp3)

“Today I Sing the Blues” – Emiliani Torrini (mp3)


Two books to whet the whistle.

The collector makes her mark on the unsuspecting male.

Tess spoonfeeds you sunshine.



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