OK so it seems like every year around Comedy Festival time, someone brings up the subject of whether women are funny, because if there's one thing that unites all human beings no matter what their sex, it is a total inability to have an original thought.
So I saw this brought up YET AGAIN, in TWO THOUSAND AND TWELVE, and unfortunately I was driven to think about it.
The usual response for those of on the side of "yes (sigh), women are funny, next question, please", is to roll out a list of women who we think are funny to demonstrate the fact that those who claim women aren't funny actually seem to be alleging some kind of worldwide conspiracy in which the millions of people paying money to see women comedians, and watching TV and movie comedy featuring women, are engaged in a particularly deranged form of affirmative action.
But I'm not going to do that, because it's been done a million times and everyone's heard it before and everyone knows all the names that would be on that list. We are not unaware of these women's existence.
No, what I want to do is just ask a question of those who claim women aren't funny:
What do you mean?
Like, what stops women from being funny? What is the mechanism that prevents funniness in women? What quirk of biology has kept humour from developing in the female human? What genetic defect blocks the emission of comedy from a woman?
I mean, if you're going to claim "women aren't funny", there must be a reason, right?
Is it that women are allergic to jokes? Do breasts repel humour, causing funny things to reflect off the boobs and back into a woman's face so they never make to the wider world? Does oestrogen prevent the activation of the comedy gene? Is funniness secreted from a small gland which men have but women lack? Do vaginas just suck the fun out of everything?
I'm just asking, because on the face of it, given that I'm fairly sure it's been well-established for some time now that women are human beings, "women aren't funny" seems to be a patently ludicrous assertion, akin to saying "Finnish people can't brush their hair" or "redheads don't own singlets". As things stand, claiming women aren't funny appears to be not so much a talking point as a meaningless string of words randomly patched together by a gibbering ape. So I'd love it to be clarified that I may understand.
So please, if you could supply some kind of hypothesis, or research, or blood test, that might explain the "women aren't funny" phenomenon, that'd be great. I ask only for information.