Christopher Hitchens

Why Women Aren't Funny

In a Vanity Fair article written in 2008 titled "Why Women Still Aren't Funny", Hitchens addressed his views on female comedians. Within the article and subsequent interviews, Hitchens makes the point that women simply are striving to be more funny, while not having as much ability to do so as men. However, Hitchens doesn't completely denigrate female comedians, more so the female type of comedy, which he makes clear by saying:

"I'm not saying that there aren't great female comedians, there are many, many, many, that's not the same as the female sense of humor. I say the problem with female comedians up until now is that they tend to be either dykes or Jews or butch.

Roseanne Barr, Sarah Silverman, etc. etc. and these are all forms of emulating male humour - she says the same. What does she say is different? Well, now there are some that are some that also pretty even if some of them are a bit butch and a bit Jewish.

Well, okay, but she says, and I quote "By and large however stand up comedy is tougher and meaner and the women who do it play by men's rules." Well that's exactly, in so many words, what I said. But now they're prettier and sexier, and they wear less and care less about the proprieties, so what has been the achievement of my essay? It's been to make sexier women try harder to amuse me. Well that was my whole plan to start off with."

Alessandra Stanley, a journalist whose primary work was done with the New York Times, wrote a response article to Christopher Hitchens and in it made a quote that says "By and large, however, standup comedy is tougher and meaner and the women who do it play by men's rules." Hitchens believed that this rebuttal simply missed the point and that it's the type of female comedians that bothers him. In his original article, which was itself a sort of response to similar comments by comedian Jerry Lewis about how women aren't funny, Hitchens states that men are funny because this is one of the only ways they can be attractive to women, while women don't need to be funny, as men are attracted to them even without a sense of humor. Following Hitchens original article in 2008 and his rebuttal, there were a great many supporters and dissenters of his view point, which is the case with the vast majority of viewpoints that Hitchens spoke about in his lifetime.