Christopher Hitchens wrote an article in Vanity Fair in 2007 entitled, "Why Women Aren't Funny." He stated that it's the man's job to be funny and the woman's job to be pretty. He talked about men not wanting to be with a comedic lady because, "they want women as an audience, not as rivals." For a lot of men, humor is the lubrication that eases in the delivery of their package. Personally, I've had a lot of rush deliveries.
When this article came out I had just graduated from writing jokes for comedians to performing my own stand-up. I was also coming off of a soul-crushing, six year, sex-less marriage. I knew that being divorced was going to be strike one against me, but I had no idea being a stand-up was going to be strike two.
I grew up in a hilarious family. Jokes were always being told at holiday gatherings, weddings or trips to the Podiatrist. Comedy was in my blood or in the water in Brooklyn where my family is from; I'm not sure which. My sense of humor also developed out of necessity.
My nickname in grammar school was "witch" because I'm a Jewish girl with black-hair, pale skin and I hadn't gotten a nose job yet so I had a honker the size of New Jersey. I stood out in my small Massachusetts town like an ethnic anchovy in a sea of beautiful goldfish.
Now I'd like to clarify something here, I'm talking about dating post divorce as a female stand-up comedian. A comedic actress or improvisational actress is far less threatening to men. A woman stand-up writes her own material and performs on the same aggressive stage as men.
My first date post divorce was with an internet lawyer. He took me to an Indian restaurant and this is what he said... "So, I Googled you, I didn't like that bit you did on YouTube. I think being raunchy is cheap." He told me this even before I had a chance to put my napkin on my lap.
Then there was the (gasp) Republican guy I dated. He also saw my YouTube videos. I asked him if he wanted to see me perform in an all female comedy show at the Improv. To which he responded..."No way, so I can hear jokes about tampons and sex! Women shouldn't be disgusting like that." His views on women in comedy were as conservative as his politics. It was then I knew I had to take down those YouTube videos; my sex life was at stake!
I had a new strategy. I waited six months to tell the next guy I dated that I have herpes and that I'm a comic...the guy was like "wait, what? You're a comic?" (That was a joke by the way). The truth is that I was petrified to date while doing stand-up, so I took about six months off from performing. In that time I met a very nice gentleman who if you squinted looked like Steve McQueen. He loved my sense of humor (although I did subdue it quite a bit). But, I was itching to get back on stage. I was safe, right? We'd been together six months!
I was so excited. My first gig back was at the Comedy Store. My hands were sweaty, I threw up in my mouth slightly, but as soon as I hit the stage my nerves were gone. I started my routine...
"So, I can tell you honestly, I'm definitely not a lesbian, because one time I inadvertently tasted myself and I didn't like it." The audience laughed but of the corner of my eye I saw my Steve McQueen look alike leave the club. I'm a professional, damn it. I finished my set! When I got home though, I ate an entire box of Thin Mints and slept in my closet.
He called me the next day and broke up with me. He was terrified that I would make jokes about him on stage or if we got into a fight I would annihilate him as if he were the subject of a Comedy Central roast. Little did he know I fear confrontation so I'm passive aggressive instead.
Joan Rivers said. "Men find funny women threating. They ask me, "are you going to be funny in bed?" I say to all you single gentleman out there, open your minds to a new experience, throw out your outdated ideals of femininity and give dating female stand-up comedians a chance. We will only laugh at you in bed if you give us reason to.