You may have heard something today; a low rumble gradually building into an all encompassing roar. If you’ve been wondering what that noise was, let me help you out. That’s the reaction to Adam Carolla’s interview in The New York Post. In it, he says in no uncertain terms that he does not believe women can be as funny as men. The response, that roar I was talking about, could probably be best summed up by the headline Splitsider’s Adam Frucci used to describe the comments: “Shut the Fuck Up, Adam Carolla.”
Yes, people aren’t happy.
Lets start off with the comments themselves:
The lesson you learned from a sexual harassment seminar was “Don’t hire chicks.” Do you hate working with women?
No. But they make you hire a certain number of chicks, and they’re always the least funny on the writing staff. The reason why you know more funny dudes than funny chicks is that dudes are funnier than chicks. If my daughter has a mediocre sense of humor, I’m just gonna tell her, “Be a staff writer for a sitcom. Because they’ll have to hire you, they can’t really fire you, and you don’t have to produce that much. It’ll be awesome.”
The “are women funny” debate has grown very contentious. You’re not worried about reactions to this?
I don’t care. When you’re picking a basketball team, you’ll take the brother over the guy with the yarmulke. Why? Because you’re playing the odds. When it comes to comedy, of course there’s Sarah Silverman, Tina Fey, Kathy Griffin — super-funny chicks. But if you’re playing the odds? No.
If Joy Behar or Sherri Shepherd was a dude, they’d be off TV. They’re not funny enough for dudes. What if Roseanne Barr was a dude? Think we’d know who she was? Honestly.
Recently, I’ve had to accept the fact that, like people debating evolution, there is no amount of evidence that will keep some idiots from asking whether or not women are funny. The great-great-great-great-great granddaughter of Lucille Ball could be winning the Mark Twain Prize for Humor and there will still be some moron in the audience who will eagerly tell you that she’s the exception to the rule and that the addition of a magical, erect cock would have added immeasurably to her punchlines. Still, one can’t help but shake their head watching a public figure proudly state their absurd notions and then eagerly consent to it being printed for all to say.
Perhaps we shouldn’t be too surprised. Carolla has had immense success (Not an exaggeration. His podcast was one of the most listened to in the history of the entire medium) by speaking his mind, and he tends to do so in a fairly reactionary way. Take, for example, his nuanced view of the Occupy movement.
Still, I find this personally depressing.
Over the weekend, we all got to reminisce some of our favorite memories about our fathers. One of mine, as silly as it may be, were the nights my dad and I would sneak to the smaller TV in the back room to watch The Man Show. The show, which Carolla co-created and hosted with Jimmy Kimmel, was basically designed for fathers and sons to watch together. My household couldn’t have been the only one with the same exact routine; two generations of men watching together, a mother walking in to see what was so funny, her groaning instantly and walking out, this just making the whole thing seem funnier.
Sure, the show was horribly sexist. But it’s “Guy’s Only” brand of sexism was so absurdly up front (girls jumping on trampolines, anyone?) that it went beyond being offensive. There was something almost sweet to it, like a father telling his son his first dirty joke.
Maybe I was just projecting though. Maybe I liked the show so much and liked the time I got to spend with my dad so much that I didn’t want to accept that it was actually mean and reductive. Honestly, I’m too afraid to go back and watch clips to find out. It depresses me enough to read the quotes in that interview and know that, for Carolla at least, there was clearly some genuine anger behind his his jokes. And, yes, I said “anger.” You can’t say in an interview something that you know is going to break the hearts of countless aspiring comediennes and not have at least a bit of malice behind it.
Again though, I’m not particularly surprised. Really, I’m just going to spend the energy I’d waste being shocked on praying that Kimmel doesn’t feel the same way. Because I still love that guy.
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