The New York Post published an interview with Adam Carolla on Sunday in which he said, among other things, “dudes are funnier than chicks,” and, regarding writing for television, “they make you hire a certain number of chicks, and they’re always the least funny on the writing staff.”
I disagree, and I know what I’m talking about.
In 1998, I was a senior studying acting at NYU. I was crazy about comedy, but I hadn’t thought about making it my sole focus. One day a friend told me to go see these folks called the Upright Citizens Brigade do a long-form improvised show called “ASSSSCAT.” I did, and my whole world got fucked in the ass. I was RIVETED - NAILED - and otherwise fastened to the floor watching the UCB 4, Matt Besser, Amy Poehler, Ian Roberts and Matt Walsh, create the highest octane, uncut, funniest entertainment I had ever seen. I felt like I had my own little “Innerspace” Martin Short flying a tiny vessel around my brain, shooting endorphin missiles into every corner of my grey matter. I’m excited thinking about it fourteen years later. And though the members of the UCB were 75% male, they always, always had female guest improvisers that brought the onstage ratio to about 50/50. Guests like Rachel Dratch, Tina Fey, and Miriam Tolan. Women with VICIOUS, UNSTOPPABLE intellect and comedic chops that could take any man I have EVER SEEN do comedy out behind the barn and SPANK HIM until he cried “AUNTIE!”
Unbelievable focus, unbelievable comic generosity and unbelievable SMARTS rocketed back and forth on the stage, and as such, unbelievable LAUGHTER erupted from the sweaty audience packed into the dirty blackbox shithole the UCB used to call home. Blackbox - If there’s a flight recorder for the modern American comedy experience as we know it, where its DNA, itinerary, crew roster and manifesto reside, it is that theater where I saw women and men working together week in and week out to make the nasty shit - the essence.
I hope it’s not too esoteric, but as I watched these crack improvisers work together and combine their brainpower, you could feel their intelligence multiply, their focus sharpen, and what with the scientifically proven differences between women’s and men’s minds, you could actually see their thought processes meld in a way that DEPENDABLY produced vomit-inducingly funny stuff.
I learned there that the funniest thing in the world is not a group of men, nor is it a group of women. It’s women and men working together. And if you want to make a collaborative, funny project, be it a sketch group, an improv show, a movie or a TV show, you better the fuck involve women and men together in your endeavor, or it simply won’t be all that it could be.
Some years later, Twitter came on the scene and rather elegantly revealed how systemic sexism truly is in the world of comedy. Here we had a TRUE meritocracy. You didn’t have to get hired by a team of producers to get your jokes out there; if you were funny, you were going to get noticed, and that was that. For an exercise, name three hilarious women you discovered on Twitter and hadn’t heard of before. Easy to do, right? I know I could name three times three times three in a jiffy and then keep going.
Funny, I tried to hire Megan Amram, Jamie Denbo, Morgan Murphy, Chelsea Peretti, Molly McNearney, and Shelby Fero (all of them are women, despite some of them having trans-gendered names) to work on my Comedy Central pilot last year either as staff or consultants, and NONE OF THEM COULD DO IT BECAUSE THEY ALREADY HAD JOBS BECAUSE THEY’RE SO WORLD-CLASS FUNNY AND THEY WERE INDISPENSABLE TO THOSE EXCITING, ENVIABLE JOBS - JOBS THAT ANY MAN WOULD KILL FOR, BUT - GUESS WHAT - PROBABLY WOULDN’T BE AS GOOD AT. So I actually wound up having a staff that had more guys than women because I couldn’t get the women I wanted. How do you like them, apples, Matt Damon (who fucked the OTHERWORLDLILY FUNNY Sarah Silverman in that delightful music video we can all hum)? Tell me Matt Damon! Tell me about female apples!
And I don’t feel like a feminist as I write this. I feel like a humanist. I am a comedian, and I am and will remain a consumer of comedy until the day I die, and I know in my bones that the funniest shit in the world was, is and will remain women and men working together.
To suggest otherwise is ignorance.
I know, this is preaching to the choir and we’re all tired of this argument… but this is still great. Especially the humanist part at the end. Good on you, Rob Delaney.
Reblogging so I can read later.