Monday, January 31, 2005

Here's a great piece on how and why men are funnier than women. There are a few exceptions of course, but as a rule this can't be denied:

Okay, show of hands: How many girls memorized all the dialogue from Monty Python and the Holy Grail when they were 14? No one? Not a surprise. But I did, and a ton of other guys did, followed by Steve Martin routines, Coneheads sketches, and the big John Belushi "Who's with me?" speech at the end of Animal House. What in the world led us to do that? Why is being funny important to young men? Does the Y chromosome carry something the X doesn't?

Well, here's an argument against anything genetic. I know for a fact that I wasn't born funny. I learned it in my teens as a way of getting attention. I wasn't a good athlete or particularly easy on the eyes, so getting a laugh was my best shot at getting girls to notice me. A good sense of humor is never going to compete with a 90-mph fastball in terms of babe appeal, but it's a better path to alpha-male status than, oh, say, learning to program a Radio Shack TRS-80 home computer. (I did that! So lonely!)

Most funny people I know tell more or less the same story: They learned to be funny in order to be noticed, sometimes by parents, frequently by the opposite sex. (One writer I know contemplated calling his company "Look at Me! Productions.") Young girls who want attention have other weapons — they can scream, they can cry, they can grow breasts. They can be heartbreakingly beautiful and call me a nerd for imitating the Coneheads all the time. Learning to be funny would seem, for girls, to be more of a last resort.


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