How many times have you been told/have you been the teller of the line ‘men are funnier than woman’? For me, it’s been since the dawn of male – female relations; in the park swigging cider, spraying Impulse over our smoked covered clothes and scuttling on home before curfew. Now, I don’t know about you, but I’m fairly certain that there is no law of science that deems that men are genetically designed to be funnier than women, and yet there do seem to be a larger amount of male comedians and comedic actors than there are female.
Recently I went to see the film ‘Ted’. As the film went on, it became increasingly apparent that it had been singularly created for men, and stoner men at that. I was disappointed, as I am big fan of its director Seth McFarlane, creator of ‘Family Guy’, but when I saw Ted I realised how devalued the female role is in most of the blockbuster comedies coming out of Hollywood. Mila Kunis is not only a very talented actress, but a funny actress with a sparky demeanour in past films and in interviews; however her talent was totally wasted in this film. Not one funny line came out of her gorgeous mouth. Her chief contribution was to act the nagging girlfriend, pestering her partner to ‘grow up’, or to squeal ‘gross’ at a poo on her apartment floor. Yes Mr Mcfarlane that is gross – but surely we can do better than this? Even worse were the gaggle of friends assigned to her – at her wedding one drawled ‘I’m so fake happy for her’. Comedy gold! Thanks Seth for showing that all female friendships involve ruthless rituals of picking apart one another’s private lives! Not once did a conversation occur between any of them that contained any kind of substance.
It’s a shame to treat such a talent (see: Black Swan) as a pretty face that would help the film to sell. However this thankless role is not an exception, Knocked Up was a great film, but it made men look like chilled out dons who just love a good time while the women look whiny, over bearing, sacks of oestrogen. There’s no denying that in Hollywood films there is an exaggerated sense of what a male role is and what a female role is; there seems to be much more opportunity for men to take the comedic floor. While Bridesmaids was a great film, it was one of a kind, and there is still little for women to talk about other than the men in their lives. It is not the case that men are funnier than women, rather, women are not given enough opportunity to be genuinely funny in mainstream films, and this has somehow trickled down into the social myth that women can’t be as funny as men.