I'm often asked what it's like to be a woman in the heavily male-dominated fields of comedy and podcasting. This question -- like, "What is your favorite movie?"or "Why didn't you call me back?" -- isn't very fun to answer, which is why I usually don't.
"Hmm, that's a good question," I'll say, as if this opportunity to ruminate and expound is a gift seldom bestowed upon me. Then I'll pause thoughtfully for a moment, point to something that isn't there, shriek and slide under the table until the subject changes.
I realize I'm part of the problem with my disingenuous, "Good question." Here's a tip: If you ask a question that's greeted with, "good question," it's not a good question. I know this seems counterintuitive and I, too, have fallen for it. "Look at me, asking the tough questions like a regular Barbara Walters or Kermit the Frog Newsflash," I've crowed to myself upon having my question complimented. In fact, so enamored was I of my own inquisitiveness, I didn't even notice whether the question was being answered.
But back to the one I'm currently not answering: I can only dodge it so many times, and lately it's been coming up with such frequency that I've decided to finally address it.
With the exception of the times a baby has unexpectedly shot out of my vagina and/or I've had to leave the stage to check on a souffle, I'd say my experience isn't all that different from a man's. Yes, I receive only 77 percent of each laugh and sure, I've been told that with a tan and a nose job I'd be "good to go," but that's just because I'm unfunny, pale and have a nose the size of Montenegro. When I look in the mirror I don't see it, but someone said it on YouTube, so it must be true.
Now I know what you're thinking: You're thinking Montenegro isn't even that big and you're right. For a country it's very small. For a nose? Big.
As for the issue of whether there are more funny men or more funny women, I literally can't answer it, what with not being good at math and always having a dick or bonbons in my mouth.
In terms of material, women are free to do many of the same subjects as men so long as they never talk about their personal lives, struggles to find a mate, weight, periods, insecurities or, if they have them, children.
These topics are considered too "hacky" and the last thing you want to be is hacky, unless you're ugly, in which case that's the last thing you want to be. In order of things you don't want to be: fat, hacky, ugly, smelly, angry.
Instead, why not pick a few traits from the following list: nice, floral, breakfasty, thoughtful, boobs, cute, gluten-free, petite, maternal, perky, Kate Upton, serene, hairless (exception: head hair). Who wouldn't laugh at a hairless, gluten-free, boobs comedian doing jokes about something completely gender neutral that affects us all -- like itchy balls?
As for my process, I imagine it's no different from a guy's except for that one week a month when I repair to a special Wi-Fi enabled hut, where I attempt to be funny in between crying jags. Also during this time, I light scented candles, scrapbook and yell at everyone.
So those are my silly little thoughts on what it's like to be a woman working in a male-dominated field, but if you really want to know, you should probably ask a man because all this thinking has tired me out.
But the question I think people are really getting at when they ask me about my experience is why aren't there more women in these fields. There are a lot, to be sure. Probably more now than ever. But the perception is that comedy and podcasting are still heavily male, and I do have some thoughts about that.
While I believe both sexes are equally capable of humor, it's historically been less socially acceptable for a woman to be funny because humor, even the most benign, even the most self-deprecating, still has a scintilla of aggression in it, and women are encouraged to be gentle and agreeable. A woman who's funny -- who shows that kind of messy, electrifying and at times combative engagement with the world -- will be given a bit of a wider berth.
Now if you'll excuse me I'm going to crawl under the table.
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