Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Funny Girl (special bonus at the end)

Ever since I was five years old, I wanted to be a star. I would watch Annie on continuous loop, and knew every word of every song. So much so, that I'd subject my family or anyone that would listen to my impromptu performances, complete with several wardrobe changes in and out of my grandmother’s old fancy dresses. There in front of an intimate audience of about five or so, I'd belt out the words of "Tomorrow" from one side of my mouth. Once I was old enough to reach the sustain pedal, and under the tutelage of our family’s foreign exchange student, I started to play my own accompaniments and even write my own music. With formal lessons, I'd say I had become pretty damn good. Even before I entered kindergarten, I was landing the leads in my preschool’s plays.. All except for Alice and Wonderland, for which I was passed over for not being a blonde. I'm not bitter about it though because the script was absolute crap anyway. Then one day I realized my absolute favorite thing to do while riding in the car on my way to Saturday morning bowling league. My father was driving and had made some off hand comment on something that just hung out there like the perfectly pitched curve ball. So I did what only seemed natural, I swung for the fences. The entire car erupted in laughter. I had made my first legitimate funny.

Turns out I had always been the goofy kid. Always making off-the-cuff remarks to anyone. Some even landing me in the principal’s office after school, like the time I called the boy in preschool a ‘silly ass’, because I had heard Mary Martin call one of the Lost Boys that in Peter Pan. But as my mom was quick to point out.. Peter Pan also didn't have a mother to answer to. Touché.

Quoting TV shows and my favorite movies, I was pretty much unstoppable. Especially if I found the one-liners entertaining and able to improv from. To those who knew me best.. I was the "funny girl."

Twenty years later, I'm still the first one to "go there," sometimes regardless of whether or not the situation is appropriate. After all, life is too short to not spend every minute loving it. And if science is right, I'llsave a ton of money in the future on Botox the more time I spend in stitches now. I was the type of girl who found the humor in even the most serious and inappropriate of situations. Whether with a quirky one liner, or a misplaced metaphor, I'd find ways to make the people around me smile. It was just my way of life.

Then about a year or so ago, I dated a guy in the industry who had an issue with funny women, particularly me. He didn't understand how women could possibly be as entertaining as men, or think they could get as many laughs. He’d criticize my sense of humor and quick wit til no end, all the while telling me.. “Don’t to take it personally.. Girls just aren’t funny.” He’d say I was an "easy laugh," which I found fairly ironic coming from a dude who made his living making fart jokes, song parodies about erectile dysfunctions, and making his poor producer (and my roommate) the ass of his social science experiments. In all honesty, I didn't find his humor as genuine or funny as others, simply because he was never willing to be the ass of his own jokes. Then one day, I overheard a line on the radio that sounded vaguely familiar as the voices around it burst into absolute hysterics.

That bastard had stolen my line. Apparently, I was dating Carlos Mencia.

People all the time cringe when they hear there is a female stand up comedian in the line up. That's total bull$hit. Not all girls tell menopause, “I'm fat,” and baby jokes. No… we tell boob jokes too. We aren’t all brutish, or unattractive either. The more successful female comedians are the ones that are willing to break societal rules and skirt the edges of political correctness. Unfortunately for me, people take my sense of humor as lack of personal awareness in social situations. In which case I say to them.. Lighten the @#$! up. So many women are afraid to go "there," that only a select few will tread the fine line of indecency.

But the thing about comedy no one seems to understand.. particularly women, is.. comedy is ugly. You can't be afraid to be the ass of a joke, whether you're the one telling it or are on the receiving end. I'm a big fan of self deprecation, it keeps you humble. After all, if you can't laugh at yourself, how are the rest of us supposed to without looking like huge a$$holes?

Some people argue that women aren’t funny because they don’t have to be. For men, being funny is ingrained in their evolutionary process. Simply put, men HAVE to be funny. Especially the ones that are less than good looking. Sad, but true. Men have to be funny, to get the girl. Girls simply have to have a sense of humor, to match the guys. So a girl.. with her own sense of humor, her own well of laugh material. Well those girls, are just special I guess.

My main point of contention with the ex was that women and men had different senses of humor. Its just how were wired. Don't get me wrong, I love bathroom humor and will chuckle at a stupid fart joke, but at some point you've gotta get newer more mature material if you want to keep them rolling in the aisles.

What makes a person truly funny is people’s ability to relate to them and the situations they face. They're called sitcoms for a reason. You have to be able to tell a story where your audience will say.. Damn, that's definitely happened to me before. The days of slipping on banana peels has long come and gone. Even living in a city like Manhattan, where every day is arguably a driver’s test road course where anything can and will happen… I dunno that I've ever run across THAT scenario. Ever.

Now you want to talk about sitting on the toilet to do an embarrassing deed and realizing mid-act there's no toilet paper? Now, that's eff my life material. It’s gotta be something we've experienced. Humiliation is best when it’s shared with everyone else. It’s what makes us human.

In order to be a funny girl, you have to be willing to strip away your inhibitions, your looks, and your dignity. Lucille Ball may not have been an absolute sex symbol, but boy could she make us laugh. The reason the country fell in love with Jessica Simpson wasn't for her singing as much as it was her lovable goofy nature and the fact she was willing to reveal her shortcomings and embrace them. At the end of the day, no one cared if it was chicken or fish, because she wasn't afraid to put it all out there for MTV’s cameras.

While it may have cost her her marriage, it endeared her in the hearts of a nation of viewers. Women like Tina Fey and Anna Farris have forged into new territory where women can get just as many laughs as men, as long as they commit to the cause. And as for the brilliance of Judd Apatow style comedy… well, it just proves behind every funny man, is a funnier woman. Just ask his wife and star of Funny People, Leslie Mann. These are the women I love. I love their comedic ugliness, their “go there spirit,” but most of all.. I love their brutal honesty.

To be funny, you have to take chances. You have to not worry about failures, but most of all, you have to be yourself. Bare your soul in its entirety, even the parts that are just downright awkward and disgusting. My life hasn't been all rainbows and kittens, but it has been a wildly entertaining, and fun ride. I often say that my life is one sick joke after another, often starring me in one less than favorable situation after another. Where anyone watching would cringe, yet empathize, because well, we've all been there at one point or another. That's why I don't mind sharing my embarrassments, my triumphs, my laughs and defeats with you all. I'm only human. Sure I've made my fair share of mistakes and goofs, but that's what makes my stories endearing to people I've never met. Besides, who wants to be perfect anyway? Perfect is so ugly. I'm the kinda girl that gets the hiccups at least once a day from laughing. The type of girl who loves a good bathroom scene in a movie, and won't lie I've probably had more than one in real life. (Sorry to ruin the illusion, but girls poop. Were just far more discreet about it.) I'm the kinda girl who stumbles on her own two feet and nothing else. I wear my sunglasses into the club, not because I'm cool, but to mock the a$$holes arrogant enough to think they are. I don't hesitate to laugh when a guy gets punched in the nuts, but that's only because I don't own a pair. I'm guilty of loving a little schaudenfeude, but only because I expect my misfortunes to bring others a tad bit of comic relief every now and then.
Even in our darkest days, there's still always a reason to laugh. After all, it’s when people take life too seriously that they have trouble making it out alive. Girls can be funny too, and I just so happen to be one of them.

Knock, knock..

Just kidding.


This is the video of the skit I did at a recent 12 Angry Mascots:

5 comments:

Val said...

good stuff, well put together id like to say that being funny is natural some people just have it and some arent as quick. Its not a sex issue at all - there are great female entertainers. majority of people are too conscious of being made fun of if they fail so they dont even try. esp for a girl i can see that being intimidating. but everyone needs laughter in their lives

Edward said...

this just makes me more attracted to you....gorgeous and a guys sense of humor ! what is not to love if you are a secure masculine male ?

Brian said...

*hiccup*

:-)

Joey said...

I couldn't date a chick without a scence of humor! And how could some Jackhole say chick's can't be funny? I hope you parked his A$$ on the side of the road, and like Rehab sing's, "And stepped away"!!

Later girl

Veritas said...

This is a tricky subject.
Although I agree with you, that women can be just has funny has any man, the only ones I know that are that funny are my girl friends.
Seriously, on TV when I see a women trying to be funny I'll go completly nuts, because I simply don't find women that do stand up comedy any funny, through the entire show my lips don't even move and I only don't fall asleep because the stuff they are usually talking about simply isn't funny.
I have girl friends that can make me laugh almost till I hit the ground and almost can't breath, but on TV, it is an nightmare I'll will change the channel in less than a second.
Now, I'm not saying that you aren't funny but the video on this blog also doesn't hit the point; sorry but I say it has I see it, and the worst part isn't even you, far from that, the guys on that show think that humor is telling a series of knock-knock jokes, and that simply doesn't do it for me.
I wouldn't mind seeing you on a stand up comedy show just to see if you could equal the big ones of comedy.
Women don't usually accept well the fact that guys don't find them funny and that is another negative point, because men can handle negative comments better then women or at least with a smile on their faces; women on the other hand if they see the croud almost falling asleep get out of their minds and we can almost smell their anger.
Are men more funny than women?!
No!
On TV the best comedians are men?!
Yes! Without a doubt!