Misogynistic Comedy & The Tyranny of "Nice Guys"

'Red velvet-cupcake' photo (c) 2010, cyclonebill - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

Good little Girls Eat Their Cupcakes

(This is a blog from 2013)

I have a news flash for all comedians out there.

"Edgy" is not the same thing as "funny."

Shocking, right??

Unfortunately for normal people who want to enjoy a laugh, often we have to wade through a sea of misogyny, racism, sexism, ageism and just plain BULLYING to find a few who actually have something to say that is worth listening to.

So many use so-called "comedy" to cover up their real issues.

But comedy isn't comedy unless it's actually FUNNY.

And it flabbergasts me how many people weakly attempt to disguise their insecurity by attacking other people and calling it humor.

Case in point, yesterday I saw a tweet by a guy who goes by The Funny Dad. His innocuous bio reads thusly "Husband, and Father of 3! I believe laughter can cure all, and life is too short to worry about the small things!"

Sweet, right? I'd follow him. Surely he'd have funny stories about his kids and a positive attitude?

Not. Even. Close.

I first became aware of this guy when he got into it with a twitter friend. Jessica Martin-Weber of The Leaky Boob online breastfeeding support community  often posts pictures of women nursing their babies to help normalize nursing, and to educate & support other breastfeeding mothers.

For some reason "The Funny Dad" decided to say to her "Women should praise us for knocking them up so they can post slutty milk pictures."

Ignorance? CHECK. Misogyny? CHECK. Humor...nope.

When she objected politely he went on to call her a lesbian (as an insult and no, she isn't), said she was raised by "right wing idiots," (huh???) and that she was a disgrace to women by playing the victim (calling idiots out for their bigotry is not playing the victim) and to go spend time with her husband (because wimmin should be making sammiches for the menfolk and not wasting their time on activism, I reckon.)

I feel bad for this dude. He's probably wondering why he can't build an audience, not understanding that simply being insulting is not the same thing as actually being a funny person.

Note, I am not talking about "bad language" or "inappropriate subject matter." There are comedians, like the oft-mentioned Louis C.K. who are MASTERS of comedy, who are incredibly vulgar, but somehow not offensive. This is because he owns his depravity and is shamed by it, for one. So much of his comedy is calling out HIMSELF, as well as injustice at large. You might not like the way he or other comedians express certain truths, but the message is more important that the medium.

Being funny is hard work. You can't just throw out an insult and expect it to land. Real humor transcends shock value and aims to teach, expound, and reveal truths. If you are making people uncomfortable, make absolutely sure you are doing it for the RIGHT REASONS. Are you making the world a better place? (See Lindy West's excellent piece for a deeper foray into this concept, and be sure to read this one too. )   If you are using shock value for the right reasons people will respond positively. If not, re-evaluate your strategy. 

Here's another side of the coin. Nice guys. Lately I can't turn around without woman discussing "the friend zone" and so called "nice guys" who feel entitled and get angry when woman don't respond to their "niceness."

I got to see it in full force last night and the subject? CUPCAKES.

Basically this dude on twitter was complaining that he met a girl who came to his house with a friend. They asked how she was doing and she told him it was her birthday and no one had wished her a Happy Birthday or helped her celebrate. So he did the "nice thing" and went to the store and bought some cupcakes for the gathering.

And do you know what she did???

She didn't eat a cupcake. 

Now I know I don't have to explain this to you all. You guys are grownups. But this super sweet nice guy was so stupid that he didn't understand that this chick did not ask for a cupcake, and all he's entitled to is a thank you for his thoughtful gesture, which I assume he got because he didn't complain that she didn't say thank you.

He was so very smart and so very nice that JUST IN CASE she was allergic to Chocolate he went ahead and GOT HER A RED VELVET CUPCAKE TOO. *slapping my forehead with the heel of my hand*

Ok. Quick cooking lesson. RED VELVET CUPCAKES ARE CHOCOLATE. They are flavored with cocoa powder.

But it really doesn't matter. It doesn't matter if she is allergic to chocolate (or gluten, soy, dairy, eggs or whatever else you will find in a store bought cupcake.) It doesn't matter if she was dieting, or a diabetic,  or just really hates store bought cake, or cake in general, or doesn't like sweets or simply isn't hungry.

What matters is that she's not entitled to eat the cupcake for any reason.

When I brought it up to this guys attention he informed me he was "joking." This was his "joke" twitter account.

Since when is telling a complainy, unfunny story where you whine about a woman rejecting your so call "nice" gesture, so you wind up calling her a fat bitch, a JOKE?

Not only is it unfunny, its a little creepy. A little date-rapy, if you will.

Aren't jokes supposed to be funny? Make you smile or laugh? What IS GOING ON IN THE COMEDY WORLD?

You guys doing this type of humor are not just crass and stupid and entitled and jackassy.

You are BORING.

And here's a tip...if you work really hard at honing your "edgy", derivative. stupid, ham-fisted material and no one laughs? Or only a few choice dummies like you laugh?

You've failed as a comedian.

And possibly as a person.