Guys, I’m a pretty confident woman. I may not be “traditionally” beautiful, but I know that I’m beautiful. Why? Because I showed up, and beauty isn’t an ideal, it’s a participation award. You are beautiful simply because you exist, and existence as a woman is something that should be cherished and respected on principle alone. Luckily, I’m living in a world where people are starting to understand that.
But, as much progress as we have made redefining beauty and ending the constant media assault on women and their bodies, a whole new problem is emerging. The media is now inflating the idea of funny women to unrealistic standards.
Broad City and Inside Amy Schumer are two women driven comedy programs on Comedy Central that have been getting a lot of good press lately. Some have even gone as far to call these programs triumphs of feminism. While at first glance it may seem that way, I’m here to put on my thinking cap and tell you that’s not true at all.
Whenever I catch myself laughing at an episode of Broad City, I’m overwhelmed with a sense of shame. Even though I find the show entertaining, it’s just a reminder that I’m not as funny as these women, and that’s really fucked up.
Because I am funny. I am really fucking funny. But I’m funny in like a regular, just as funny as everyone else sort of way. I’m good tweets and clever status update funny. I’m not scripted comedy show funny. I’m not television funny. When I’m confronted with these unrealistic standards of funny, sure I’m entertained momentarily, but ultimately I’m left feeling empty and worthless. Good comedy is supposed to make you feel like you could have written it yourself. You’re not supposed to laugh, you’re supposed to nod in agreement and then go back to your shitty day job where you convince yourself that you’re there on accident. Entertainment is supposed to be a fourth-wall shattering wink towards the undiscovered genius that consumes your subconscious — an acknowledgement of your untapped potential, and a cosigner on your thinly veiled narcissism. It’s not supposed to be a showcase of other people’s talent or ability.
When you have shows that feature these super funny women, it might be beneficial to them and their careers, but it’s at the expense of the rest of us, and that is just wrong. I’m sorry, but you need to get these women off of the air. They need to be replaced by twenty five year old stock clerks from Twitter with at least ten thousand followers, but no more than twenty thousand. They need to be replaced with women with attainable levels of talent.
Even the concept of “funny women” as it stands now is a tool of the patriarchy. In a just world, these funny women would conform to my standards of humor. Shows like Girls and the snarky dismissive tone of Tumblr activists are the kind of humor that represent real women. They aren’t unrealistic marionettes of the white male agenda to kill us all. Real women comedy is devoid of punch lines and plots. Its agreeable recycled rhetoric about gender issues, ironic Pokémon references, and asking, “seriously?” after every indignant presentation of anathema.
Essentially, we need to redefine funny like we’ve redefined beauty. We need to make it clear that all women are funny, and funny shouldn’t be something that is decided upon by anyone other than the woman herself.
Unfortunately, shows like Broad City make that impossible, and for the sake of us all, we need to cancel it and replace it with something that represents the new funny. The real funny. The kind of funny that everyone can participate in.
Or, I could just make an effort to not view the world through the lens of a gender-obsessed critic, spewing tired cant about inclusion and micro-aggressions. I could of course accept the shows as just funny shows, rather than funny-girl shows, but that wouldn’t fit my agenda, and more importantly, it wouldn’t make me feel superior to the people on television.