Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Funny AND A Lady

I feel like every time I hop on the Internet, I’m inundated with yet another quote by some blow hard with a penis saying he doesn’t think women are funny.  A couple months ago, it was Eddie Brill, this week it was Adam Corolla, and just a few years ago it was Christopher Hitchens.  I really can’t believe that this issue is being rehashed again.  I mean, honestly, I’m so sick of hearing that some asshat doesn’t think my peers and I are funny solely because we possess the enviable ability of having multiple orgasms. 

The world of comedy, specifically of the stand-up variety, is one that’s designed for women not to succeed.  Starting from the very beginning, when you’re honing your skills at an open mic, you’re usually one of the few women in a room full of men.  Just in case any of you non-comedians have the idea that this sounds like a wonderful way to combine your dating life with your career aspirations, let me disabuse you of that notion right now.  Unless the men you like to date happen to be unemployed, socially retarded individuals with a penchant for talking incessantly about their masturbation habits, these are not the kind of guys one adds to her Saturday night dating rotation.  If you’re lucky, the worst thing that will happen to you at an open mic is that the host will keep you there for over three hours and put you up second to last simply so he can stare at your tits.  If you’re unlucky, as most women who enter the comedy scene happen to be, you’ll probably get molested in the green room before you go on last to an audience of one bored bartender and a busboy who doesn’t speak English.  A lot of women, tired of being treated as a piece of meat, or too sensitive to listen to stories about jerking off and ass rape night after night, never make it past the open mics.  They give up and go back to “acting” or move back home to Iowa and entertain the locals with tales of their time as a stand-up comedienne.

If you do have the ovaries to stick it out, once you graduate from being an open micer, then you have to hustle to get actual booked gigs.  I’ll give you three guesses what sex most of the bookers are, and the first two don’t count.  That’s right, men.  And not surprisingly, they often don’t want to book female comics.  I’ve had bookers tell me that they don’t like women and won’t book them.  Or they say that the audience at their club doesn’t like women.  The thing that really chaps my hide is when the headliner is a well-known female comic and she refuses to have any other women on the line-up.  Way to have a sister’s back!  (Yes, this happens.  Often.)  There have been many days when I actually considered changing my first name to something unisex just to get a booker to click the link to my tape. 

If you do get booked, and you start getting work, then you’re confronted with the audiences’ prejudices.  Comedy is a really, really aggressive art form.  If you aren’t making the audience cry, you aren’t doing your job.  But aggressivity isn’t a trait that society at large is comfortable seeing in women.  When it comes down to it, we’re still genetically a hunter-gatherer society.  Men are expected to hunt, and women are expected to gather berries and not complain that their lazy-ass husband was too busy watching Sports Center to kill a buffalo.  So when a female comic is truly doing her job, and repeatedly hitting the audience with joke after joke after joke, then she gets accused of not being feminine.  Of course, if you bomb, then the booker uses that as proof that all female comedians are terrible, and says that he’ll never book another woman again.  It’s amazing how many male comedians I’ve seen eat shit, and yet no one ever uses their sets as proof that all male comedians suck.  Fascinating double standard, that one. 

The bottom line is that the deck is stacked against us from the outset.  But despite the misogyny, and the fewer bookings, and the prejudice against women, the cream always rises to the top.  Phyllis Diller, Joan Rivers, Roseanne Barr, Ellen DeGeneres, Kathy Griffin, Whitney Cummings; these are funny people, not just funny women.  The notion that women are not inherently funny is B.S.  In fact, I’d like to see some of these male comedians do what we do: work twice as hard for half the reward and then, if you do succeed, get called a bitch and accused of sleeping with someone to get where you are.  I’m guessing that if the roles were reversed, they’d be too pussy to handle it.  So the next time some lousy guy accuses me of not being funny, I’m just going to quote Roseanne and say,

Monday, June 4, 2012

Fifty Shades of Stupid

For the last two months all of my friends have been telling me that I have to read the book 50 Shades of Grey.  I’m an avid reader and always willing to jump on the NY Times Bestseller List bandwagon (especially when the book involves sex), so I fired up my trusty Kindle, ordered myself a digital copy and settled in with a glass of wine for a titillating evening.  Unfortunately, what my friends failed to tell me is that while the book may have hot sex scenes, the writing is atrocious.  We’re talking so bad that my eight-year-old niece could’ve written something better (minus the bondage, of course).  Not wanting to be as uncool as I know I really am, I made a valiant attempt to wade through this amateur-hour porn, but I just couldn’t do it.  The thing is, when my brain is busy rewriting the awkward dialogue and inane plot, it’s basically impossible for me to enjoy the sex.  Which is exactly the problem I used to encounter when I was dating. 

I suppose I should be thankful that I’m intelligent, well-read, and have an impressive vocabulary, but these are not traits that worked well for me when my pool of dating candidates included actors, stand-up comedians, and guys who didn’t seem to have any job other than hanging out at The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf.  Before I moved to Los Angeles I dated a lot of freaks, but none of them were actually dumb.  Sure, one of my exes liked to call me “Mommy” in bed, but the guy had an MBA from Harvard, so other than his truly disturbing Oedipal issues, he was a great catch. 

My first (and only) foray into the world of sex with a really dumb guy left quite an impression on me; and not in a good way.  At first, I was really charmed by Derek.  He had seen me driving in my neighborhood, thought I was cute, and proceeded to spend several hours driving around until he found my car parked on the street, wherein he proceeded to leave a note on my windshield asking me out.  In hindsight, I probably should’ve been creeped out by the fact the guy was clearly a stalker in training, but I was so flattered that he’d taken time out of his busy day to find me that all thoughts of Sleeping With the Enemy went out of my head.  I called him right away and we made plans to meet for a drink.  I had no idea what to expect, but I figured if the guy was a total troll I could at least get drunk on someone else’s dollar and then go home and watch a Lifetime movie while I cried.  To my relief, Derek was hot.  Really, really, REALLY hot.  When he came over and introduced himself and proceeded to tell me how he had been so taken with my beauty he had to find me, I almost fainted and fell off my bar stool.  I couldn’t believe this guy, who looked like he belonged in a Versace ad, was into me.  I figured I should probably seal the deal before Derek realized either a.) I was a complete and total dork unused to sleeping with attractive men or b.) I hadn’t washed my hair in several days and was therefore a dirty and disgusting woman more fit for a commune in Ojai than a fancy bar in Hollywood.  I downed my Belvedere martini, invited Derek back to my place, and hightailed it out of there before we’d had a chance to find out anything more about each other than our names and whether we had theatrical representation. 

When we got back to my very glamorous, un-air conditioned studio apartment, I turned the lights down very low (the better to disguise my greasy hairdo), mixed a couple of drinks, and proceeded to get to know Derek better in the Biblical sense.  I practically devoured this poor guy.  I’m ripping off his clothes, falling over myself trying to get my own pants off, and pretty much wrestling him into my bed.  I was so hot for this guy I could barely contain myself.  Derek kept telling me I was beautiful and sexy and he was doing everything right and then I told him that I’d never in my life been filled with such wanton lust.  All of a sudden, Derek stopped what he was doing, looked at me with confusion, and said, “What do you mean?”  “You don’t know what wanton means?” I asked.  “Well, I always order wonton soup at Chinese restaurants, but I don’t get why you would talk about that now.”  And that, dear reader, was when I knew I could never go through with sleeping a guy who had no idea that wanton and wonton were two very different words.  It’s not that I minded so much that my burning desire had been confused with my favorite hangover cure from Szechuan Palace; it was more that my vagina dried up like the Sahara at noon on Tuesday once I realized Derek didn’t understand this simple word.  I could no longer see the beautiful face and perfect body without also picturing him scoring only 200 on his English SAT. 

Poor Derek didn’t know what hit him when I practically threw him out of my apartment.  He tried calling me a couple times in the weeks that followed, but I avoided his calls; I just couldn’t face telling the guy that he wasn’t smart enough for me.  When it comes down to it, I’m a nerd at heart.  I need physical as well as mental stimulation.  So while I may be one of the only people too obsessed with good writing and big words to enjoy 50 Shades of Grey, I comfort myself with the fact that I found a guy who’s very happy to discuss Nietzsche with me after we do the nasty.  

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