This article is going to sting a little to write, as I’ve never particularly cared for Jerry Lewis (or The Three Stooges for that matter, a fact which would instantly bar me from membership in most men’s clubs), and I’ve been a fan of 30 Rock ever since the second season made Tina Fey’s character a bit less “caustic and unendurable” and a bit more “frustrated and vulnerable”.
Jerry Lewis is currently receiving some bad press (from the Washington Post – shamelessly re-posted by the Huffington Post, but we’re used to that by now) for defending his stand against comediennes (And by the way, that is how they are called – not “female comedians”, because comedian is a male word, the feminine form of which is comedienne – deal with it!). Now Jerry Lewis actually took the high road on this one (though you wouldn’t know it, to hear the Washington Post report it), revealing the fact that most good humor is base and degrading – which the lowest common denominator loves, thus expanding one’s possible audience base exponentially – and that he’s still under the impression that modern day women are, by majority count, ladies… and as such, he says: “I cannot sit and watch a lady diminish her qualities to the lowest common denominator … I just can’t do that.”
It’s a bit naive that he gives the honorific of “lady” to the majority of women, so that he may take umbrage at their commandeering of a comedy mike to their own detriment. Granted, a lady debasing herself by doing comedy would, of necessity, basically hand over her ladyship… in effect, self-demoting herself to a mere “woman”. From there, it’s typically only a few words before said woman just “goes for broke”, becoming a full-on bitch in the process. So, if we could live in Jerry Lewis’ mind for a bit (where all women are ladies), then he’d have a valid point. And to be sure, there may in fact be a lady out there somewhere who felt compelled to take up the mantle of the comedienne, who would immediately be in danger of debasing herself. I’m not saying it couldn’t happen, or that it never has, but only that I am unaware of such a thing… and it seems brazenly preposterous on its face.
But how Lewis is really missing the point is just that: comediennes are… not… funny. And I say that knowing full well that I have chuckled at my fair share of 30 Rock, Wendy Liebman, Maria Bamford, Kathy Griffin, and even occasionally Lisa Lampanelli. The point here is that the exception proves the rule. And while the very odd comedienne can evoke a chuckle from me, I have never – allow me to repeat that – never flat-out guffawed at a comedienne’s set with reckless abandon. You know why? For the same reason that the CliffsNotes of Shakespeare are not nearly as compelling as the original – comediennes are a shadow of the talent of good comedians.
For people not averse to the Truth, you’d have to agree that this is true merely on principle, if not in actual performance (where it is actually also true), as women are the “weaker vessels”. Anything that a man can do/perform well, a woman will generally not do as well in performing it. For example: not using the above listed comediennes, quickly name ten of your favorite comediennes. Failing at that, just name ten comediennes. If you completed that exercise without the use of Google, congratulations – you are the 1% (typically, females that are super into comediennes). For the majority of people, that was likely a struggle. Now, name your ten favorite comedians. Now name twenty comedians, whether you like them or not. If you’re exhaling in disgust, then you’re the 1% and I’ve just proven my point to you. Everyone else just realizes that men do comedy better than women.
As countless comedians have pointed out, the best comedy comes from pain. Typically, this is social pain – the kind most men (whether dyed-in-the-wool Alphas or languishing Betas) can identify with from their very first outbreak of acne. The few girls subjected to this type of pain (whether fat or unattractive or both) are generally not the type who would “suck it up” and decide to get in front of a volatile crowd at an open-mike night and joke about it. It takes a social fortitude to risk such public humiliation (with typically a long history of enduring it – again, male) that the average female just does not have. And the females that generally do get the gumption to get up behind the mike? They are not the wallflower, socially-inept types (no matter what statement your glasses are trying to make, Tina Fey). Ergo, their comedy doesn’t come from true pain, and it generally sucks worse than a rainstorm in a fetid swamp.
If you read the article, you see that they intended a “warrior’s pride”-type backhanded swipe at Jerry Lewis on the way out, quoting Tina Fey’s Bossypants (which, incidentally, I own – in both printed and audio copies) where she says: “…whenever someone says to me, ‘Jerry Lewis says women aren’t funny… Do you have anything to say to that?’ Yes. We don’t fucking care if you like it.” Truer and more revealing words have never been spoken. Comediennes don’t care if the men of the world find them funny, because (even though the vast majority of comedy audiences are male) men are not their target market. While men will always be willing to debase themselves for a cheap laugh (e.g. – that jackass Dane Cook), comediennes (by now) have realized that it just makes their sex look sad and pathetic to do so. You don’t have to be a lady to realize that women doing stupid things doesn’t have much of an audience. Their only real audiences are militant lesbians and feminists so “married to the cause” that they’re blinded to how Marxist it actually is. So yeah – women like that don’t really care whether the rest of the world (rightfully so) looks down on them.
Except for the fact that when Tina Fey (and the show’s producers) realized 30 Rock‘s audience wouldn’t put up with that kind of shit indefinitely, she (wisely) decided to play ball… and 30 Rock became much funnier. If you don’t believe me (or are unfamiliar with 30 Rock), go ahead and see for yourself… 30 Rock‘s first season and its second season are worlds apart narratively, and guess which one was most like the rest of its successful stint? Correct – the (funny) second one.
Jerry Lewis ends up being right on principle (while wrong in delivery), and Tina Fey ends up being right for a reason other than the rebellious one she originally intended. The fact remains: comediennes are generally not funny.