Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Essay You

I'm going to get to a 10 Things list later. It's going to be Michael Pollan-related so let's distract ourselves for a moment with something completely different.

I have an essay question. Are female comics edgier than male comics or do they simply seem edgier because we are socially trained to be surprised to see certain material as shocking when expressed by a woman?

I went to see some very funny folks (Pat O'Shea, Leah Bonnema, Zach Broussard, Greg Manuel, Jason Saenz, Phoebe Robinson, Seth Joseph, John Flynn, Ray Devito and Chris Lamberth) last night. There were 2 female comics which was impressive because it's still a place where women are a rarity.

The first female comic, Leah Bonnema, kicked off her set with the recent passing of Utah's Kill The Miscarriers bill. Her least controversial bit was about telling a kid in PetCo to "Shut the fuck up!" She's only the second comic I've ever seen, after Sarah Silverman, to pull off abortion jokes and I don't know that I've seen anyone do a suicide joke and make it the perfect button to their set.

Phoebe Robinson went racial but not hugely. She couched it in a little slamming of Facebook but she rounded out her set with a bit about watching a slavery documentary with a white friend. Squirming as you laugh, but you're still laughing!

Maybe men do things that are just as borderline. I mean, John Flynn, organized his entire set around the story of a Craig's List hookup with a midget drag queen. To explain how good the set was you have to understand that even by telling you those things I am not spoiling the tale.

So is Lisa Lampanelli offending more people than Denis Leary? Does Mo'Nique  push more buttons than George Lopez? Does any of it have to do with the need for a bra?

Don't forget to put your name on your paper before you turn it in.


  1. I find Lisa Lampanelli way more offensive than Denis Leary. That said, I've never thought that it might be because she's female. I will think aobut this and report back.


  2. Well, I haven't had my coffee yet, so I'm really not up to an essay question. I don't think Sarah Silverman is funny at all. She is like the annoying 12-year-old brother who will say anything to get your attention.

    But in general, I think I find women funnier. Maybe it is a gender thing - that I can relate better - but it seems almost like women can dig deeper without descending into insult, stereotype and aggressiveness.

    I don't know Lisa Lampanelli. I will go over to YouTube and see how offended I get.

  3. No wait! Lampanelli is a self-described "insult comic" it will not be enjoyable for you. She doesn't descend to insult, she...sort of perfects it.