I want some male comedian bits... on gender
March 9, 2013 3:48 AM   Subscribe

Dave Chappelle. Chris Rock. Louis C.K. Some of the funniest male comics are the least funny when it comes to gender -- incisive humor suddenly deteriorates into sexist tropes and gender war cliches. Are there any male stand-up comedians who have interesting routines about women?
posted by spamandkimchi to Media & Arts (8 answers total) 26 users marked this as a favorite
George Carlin has done several pieces on gender. I find the one I've linked to be among the funnier, less preachy ones.
posted by thatdawnperson at 6:05 AM on March 9, 2013

You might try Tim Minchin.
posted by vers at 6:09 AM on March 9, 2013 [1 favorite]

I was in a Florida hotel room on a ghastly mid-'90s family holiday when I saw an excellent comedian randomly on TV-- youngish, male, black, I don't remember his name. Anyway, one bit from his routine has stayed with me:
"[something about dreading that moment after sex where she cuddles up to you and says] 'Honey? What are you thinking?'

I'M NOT THINKING ANYTHING!! We're just a penis and two eyes!"
posted by Pallas Athena at 7:04 AM on March 9, 2013

Hari Kondabolu has a fantastic feminist dick joke. Most of his material is on race, but he's got his head screwed on about gender as well.

Hal Sparks' Charmageddon special had some very good positive material about ladies, if I recall.
posted by whitneyarner at 9:28 AM on March 9, 2013 [3 favorites]

Eddie Izzard is (probably for obvious reasons, being a transvestite and all) very progressive on issues of gender and sexuality, though it's more that he just peppers his routines with little references/asides that make it clear that he's not a member of the Ugh Women Amirite Army, rather than doing any extended riffs on the topic. I do remember a funny "I like my men the way I like my coffee" bit, which I seem to recall from either Dress to Kill or Glorious.
posted by scody at 10:36 AM on March 9, 2013 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I LOVE this bit from comedian Jamie Kilstein, which manages to talk about street harassment, rape culture and machismo while being hilarious.
posted by hippugeek at 11:00 AM on March 9, 2013 [3 favorites]

I don't know Chappelle that well, but I think Rock and CK can be funny and perceptive when they talk about how they see women. But the thing is, there are talking about how they, as men, see women, and while it can be healthy to get that stuff out there, it can also mean that they are venting some hostility and other ugly stuff.

My girlfriend used to like Louie, but she went off it recently, claiming that it was just CK meeting one psychotic woman after another, and having sex with most of them. In other words, that CK was essentially bashing women while indulging in some wish-fulfillment. (She also complained that it wasn't "funny enough" anymore, which I think indicates she just wasn't totally getting what CK was going for. His shows are all funny to some degree, but sometimes they are more dark dramas with a comic edge.) At the same time that I can sort of see what she means, and I did think the recent season of Louie wasn't as strong as the others, it was frustrating because I felt like CK was depicting some women who felt very true in their own fucked-up ways.

What I'm trying to say is, if a comedian is truly honest about their dealings with the opposite sex, there will probably be some ugly stuff in there, and maybe even some stuff that seems trite or trope-y to you. But to other people, that stuff may be hilarious and brave, the voicing of something they'd never have the guts to say themselves. I don't believe Rock or CK are misogynists, but they both have some anger towards women. Really honest comedy tends to be negative and critical, because so much of life sucks. Men have good reason to be angry with women, just as women have good reason to be angry with men. If you're looking for something more positive, edgy, contemporary comedy probably isn't the place to find it.

That being said, yeah, Izzard is probably about as positive toward women as any male comedian you're going to find. But then, relationship stuff doesn't seem to be his big thing. I think Woody Allen has sometimes been very loving in his depictions of women in his movies, but obviously not everybody sees it that way and his personal life has tainted his work for some people.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 5:38 PM on March 9, 2013

Response by poster: Thanks for all the suggestions! Been enjoying a lazy Saturday checking out these clips. Have especially enjoyed whitneyarner, scody and hippugeek's tips.

I noticed that a lot of the recommendations have been routines that skewer men as hormonally sex-obsessed. Maybe the most straightforward way to avoid the "Women Amirite? Hyuck-hyuck-hyuck" trap puts you into "Men Amirite?" territory, but making fun of your own gender is much less problematic.

Ursula, I agree with you that a lot of powerful comedy comes out of anger. I guess I'm not looking for positive depictions of women per se, just something more nuanced than evo-psych typologies. Louis C.K. sometimes gets there, but the anger sometimes erupts down pre-determined paths that have been well-trodden by sexist comedy routines of yore. (Whew, what a tangled metaphor!)

To take a page from Hari Kondabolu, when I cut off someone in traffic and that driver trotted up to me to give me a piece of his mind, saw my face and said "Go back to your country, you chink!" I don't think he was a simmering cauldron of racism just waiting to yell racial slurs. I think he was pissed at me (for being a jerk 19-year-old driver) and the quickest way to lash out was with racism.

Mostly, I'm hopeful that stand-up comedians can find more interesting ways to talk about relationships, gender roles, etc that don't rely on sexist shorthand. Any additional recommendations are much appreciated!
posted by spamandkimchi at 8:12 PM on March 9, 2013

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