I’m on a Twitter strike. I am so sick of the way men on Twitter treat women. And my male friends always DM me or text me or email me or talk to me about how they hate it too but they never speak up.
Let me be perfectly clear - this has nothing to do with the “women aren’t funny” argument. I am talking about on the web, when I write things about the plight of women in Saudi Arabia or how the ERA never passed, dudes write back that I should be funny, stop being political, shut up, stop complaining and all that. THAT is what this is about mostly.
I am constantly tweeting about gay rights (I’m straight) and racism (I’m white) - it takes two seconds and it’s part of who I am. My male comedy friends show support by suggesting that I just let it slide, “these people are idiots/trolls.” But I don’t see it as “trolls” - these are actual men who are showing me that their opinion is that a woman is acting “hysterical” when she reacts to being treated unfairly. Suddenly I am not funny or fun. My male comedy friends sometimes lament that they want to support and that they hate how they see their women friends being treated on line but “but don’t know what to say.”
Well, a lot of people who aren’t “political” necessarily or policy wonk experts wrote their feelings quite well on why they wanted Obama re-elected
Maybe some comic guys who are funny writers and have a huge presence online can start a blog similar to that - and each one of them can tackle, from their heart, what they want men to know about how it affects ALL OF US - men & women when their sisters are constantly dealing with this shit on the internet.
Am I dreaming? Asking for too much? I’m holding out hope that I see a blog started called “MA’AM” - Men Against Assholes and Misogyny and it’s a bunch of articles on this issue written by men and we can link to it anytime an online guy harasses.
When I tweet about women’s rights - I am often shouted down by (usually younger) guys on the web and told to shut up and calm down and “I used to think you’re funny but you’re acting hysterical and like a bummer.” My guy friends in comedy rarely get as much backlash about their gender. Maybe their comedy - (which is fair game, annoying that it is but….heckling is a fact of life online and that’s not what I’m speaking of. I can take the heat. I’ve been a comedian for 15 years. I do the road alone a lot and play tough clubs. I make people laugh in spite of themselves and I handle my shit when heckled. I also moved to NYC and LA completely on my own having no idea how to navigate either city. I’m a fucking bad-ass and there’s no heat I can’t take. Speaking up is not “caving to the heat” - it’s facing it HEAD ON.)
Here’s some examples of tweets I get EVERY DAY. (I didn’t cull these over a week. I got all these tweets just so far TODAY (11/29) See if the internet wouldn’t be less fun for you if you got this shit.
hollywoodkote said: You’re going to get venom if you’re a comedian spouting political views regardless of sex. Don’t do it if you can’t take the heat:
Then I will come back to Twitter when I feel like I’m not the only voice constantly using her feed to interrupt her regularly scheduled funniness to try to teach young guys not to objectify women, tell them to shut up, correct their jokes, mansplain to them, etc.
I’m often told that women’s rights are not in any danger and I have the vote and we don’t need feminism anymore for “big issues” - (that’s a whole other issue) But the small issue of feeling part of the global web community is still a new frontier for women and we are starting at square one. I would love the support of my male friends in comedy - OUT LOUD and as part of their daily lives. The way we all do with gay rights and racism.
I think dudes sometimes feel like, “What am I gonna do - just agree with my lady friends? They don’t need to hear it from me.” We do. AND the civil rights movement and gay rights didn’t move forward just because suddenly one day people started taking black or gay people seriously - it was the white and straight people that stood by too. Sadly, sometimes a man only can hear about women’s issues from a man. We need all voices!
And to the woman who wrote me that this is “Seriously a First World Problem…” Well, I AM in the first world and speech shapes our culture. Oppressing women in the Third World starts with a thought and an attitude and I’m proud to use my privilege to speak about it here. And I use my other spare time and money to support women in the Third World get their much needed rights too.
And to the people who say “Don’t go anywhere!” I will be back when I see male comedians speaking up. And specifically that group. It’s not JUST up to my followers - it’s up to my peers. (and just Retweeting doesn’t count - though it helps)
And when I feel I am not the only voice out there, I’ll come back to Twitter. And trust me, I want to. I have things to promote.
**updated as of 10pm PST on Nov 29** No one stepped up so I started it myself. Hoping my peers will contribute. http://menagainstassholesandmisogyny.tumblr.com/
In this Golden Age of Television filled to the brim with excellent television the Emmy is a bragging right beyond compare. Even when it’s a ridiculous “what the hell were they thinking” win like that of Maggie Smith or Jon Cryer last night it’s still a flipping Emmy.
And for the last few years Amy Poehler has been saying “fuck that” and quietly turning it into an actual celebration of quality by manipulating the acting category she’s been nominated in and forcing the spotlight to shine on everyone in that category rather than just the winner. There’s no traditional thanking of God, country, spouse and producer when you’re in a category with Poehler.
The New York Post published an interview with Adam Carolla on Sunday in which he said, among other things, “dudes are funnier than chicks,” and, regarding writing for television, “they make you hire a certain number of chicks, and they’re always the least funny on the writing staff.”
I disagree, and I know what I’m talking about.
In 1998, I was a senior studying acting at NYU. I was crazy about comedy, but I hadn’t thought about making it my sole focus. One day a friend told me to go see these folks called the Upright Citizens Brigade do a long-form improvised show called “ASSSSCAT.” I did, and my whole world got fucked in the ass. I was RIVETED - NAILED - and otherwise fastened to the floor watching the UCB 4, Matt Besser, Amy Poehler, Ian Roberts and Matt Walsh, create the highest octane, uncut, funniest entertainment I had ever seen. I felt like I had my own little “Innerspace” Dennis Quaid flying a tiny vessel around my brain, shooting endorphin missiles into every corner of my grey matter. I’m excited thinking about it fourteen years later. And though the members of the UCB were 75% male, they always, always had female guest improvisers that brought the onstage ratio to about 50/50. Guests like Rachel Dratch, Tina Fey, and Miriam Tolan. Women with VICIOUS, UNSTOPPABLE intellect and comedic chops that could take any man I have EVER SEEN do comedy out behind the barn and SPANK HIM until he cried “AUNTIE!”
Unbelievable focus, unbelievable comic generosity and unbelievable SMARTS rocketed back and forth on the stage, and as such, unbelievable LAUGHTER erupted from the sweaty audience packed into the dirty blackbox shithole the UCB used to call home. Blackbox - If there’s a flight recorder for the modern American comedy experience as we know it, where its DNA, itinerary, crew roster and manifesto reside, it is that theater where I saw women and men working together week in and week out to make the nasty shit - the essence.
I hope it’s not too esoteric, but as I watched these crack improvisers work together and combine their brainpower, you could feel their intelligence multiply, their focus sharpen, and what with the scientifically proven differences between women’s and men’s minds, you could actually see their thought processes meld in a way that DEPENDABLY produced vomit-inducingly funny stuff.
I learned there that the funniest thing in the world is not a group of men, nor is it a group of women. It’s women and men working together. And if you want to make a collaborative, funny project, be it a sketch group, an improv show, a movie or a TV show, you better the fuck involve women and men together in your endeavor, or it simply won’t be all that it could be.
Some years later, Twitter came on the scene and rather elegantly revealed how systemic sexism truly is in the world of comedy. Here we had a TRUE meritocracy. You didn’t have to get hired by a team of producers to get your jokes out there; if you were funny, you were going to get noticed, and that was that. For an exercise, name three hilarious women you discovered on Twitter and hadn’t heard of before. Easy to do, right? I know I could name three times three times three in a jiffy and then keep going.
Funny, I tried to hire Megan Amram, Jamie Denbo, Morgan Murphy, Chelsea Peretti, Molly McNearney, and Shelby Fero (all of them are women, despite some of them having trans-gendered names) to work on my Comedy Central pilot last year either as staff or consultants, and NONE OF THEM COULD DO IT BECAUSE THEY ALREADY HAD JOBS BECAUSE THEY’RE SO WORLD-CLASS FUNNY AND THEY WERE INDISPENSABLE TO THOSE EXCITING, ENVIABLE JOBS - JOBS THAT ANY MAN WOULD KILL FOR, BUT - GUESS WHAT - PROBABLY WOULDN’T BE AS GOOD AT. So I actually wound up having a staff that had more guys than women because I couldn’t get the women I wanted. How do you like them, apples, Matt Damon (who fucked the OTHERWORLDLILY FUNNY Sarah Silverman in that delightful music video we can all hum)? Tell me Matt Damon! Tell me about female apples!
And I don’t feel like a feminist as I write this. I feel like a humanist. I am a comedian, and I am and will remain a consumer of comedy until the day I die, and I know in my bones that the funniest shit in the world was, is and will remain women and men working together.
To suggest otherwise is ignorance.