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Spitting in buttholes: it's a thing! At least, for one "up and coming comedian" who totally did it with writer Elianna Lev -– a story she recounts in my new obsession, the article "I Was A Comedy Groupie" on Salon.
Not unlike Proust, Lev takes a vivid stroll down memory lane. But instead of waxing nostalgic about madeleines, Lev tells a tale of hitting it and quitting it with a variety of male stand-up comedians.
Look, I'm a comedian. I've engaged in weirdo special private times in my day, and some of these moments have been with guys from the office (though not "The Office.") I'm not here to slut-shame this chick. She saw something, she went after it, and she got it. We all have a "type," right? (I imagine being a comedy groupie is like shooting already-dead fish in a shallow barrel with an AK-47, but that's neither here nor there.)
What intrigued me about her post was the fact that there's just no parallel in the world of lady comedians. In my experience, guy comedy groupies (as opposed to fans) tend to be, well, nonexistent. There is no lady comedy equivalent to the hot, nubile, sexy groupies that some male comics attract.
Here's my theory: I think the reason some men complain that women aren't funny/attractive is that when you make someone laugh, you have momentary power over that person. If a woman makes a man laugh, she has provoked an actual physical reaction from him using nothing but her wit. In that instant, just for a tiny split second of time, she dominates him. And most men don't like to be dominated (at least outside the bedroom). Maybe that's why lady comics don't attract groupies en masse.
My fantasy comedy groupie would be my future husband, Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Or Christina Hendricks. Or Joseph Gordon-Levitt AND Christina Hendricks, fighting for my attention at the bar after the show.
I asked a few other lady comics about this whole groupie thing. Here's what they had to say.
Like Tina Fey said, talent is not sexually transmitted. If you’re that into comics, you probably just want to be one. There's an alternative here. Open mics are humiliating but way less so than having a comic spit on your butthole while you're face-planted into a coffee table.– Diana Saez, Minneapolis
I have a few dudes who do love me. They tend to be... indoor people. My ideal comedy groupie would be someone who looks like Ryan Reynolds & can talk for hours about the intricacies of Brendan's Fraser's filmography. But please, look like Ryan Reynolds. Beard is optional. – Brandie Posey, Los Angeles
I find that any attention I get from male fans generally happens online, or while I'm onstage -– if I'm gonna get heckled, it's usually in the form of a cat call. My theory is that while men are comfortable at a distance, they are generally intimidated by women who are funnier than them, and this keeps them from attempting to make a move. – Tess Barker, Los Angeles
I've had guys in an audience come up to me after a show and say they thought I was really funny and/or flirt with me but it's almost always a means to the end of asking me how they can get into stand-up. I'm easier to ask than the cool dude comic they thought they were better than. - Beth Stelling, Los Angeles
My ideal groupie would be a young woman who is kind of hipster/nerdy and very smart. She would go to all my shows, rally others on her feminist blog to attend. She can quote me perfectly. She retweets my tweets, likes all my posts and shares them on FB where they of course go viral. She wouldn’t be stalkery or icky. But rather an uber fan who thinks I speak for all women (remember, it’s my IDEAL groupie) while she adores and respects me. – Maribeth Mooney, New York
And then there's this amazing tale:
I once did a show and there was a guy there who had taken the bus from Pasadena and arrived FIVE HOURS EARLY. It was in the bar of a motel in Hollywood. He was in his 50s or 60s and had read about me in the LA Times, and signed up on my mailing list for shows. He was sitting there eating cottage cheese and fruit, and he had told the waitress his "friend" Barbara had personally invited him to the show. He really creeped me out, and just stared at the female host, licking his lips while she was on stage. I decided not to go on stage in front of him because I was afraid he was a stalker. He wrote me a very angry email in all caps later that night about how he had a heart condition. – Barbara Gray, Los Angeles
Barbara's tale illustrates the unfairness at the heart of this issue: Guy comics get hot chicks; girl comics get weirdo stalkers. Why? WHY, I ask you? No, seriously, I'm asking you –- I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments. Together, we can solve the dilemma of how to get Joseph Gordon-Levitt to fawn over me after a show. I think you'll agree it's the most important quandary in which we, as humans, currently find ourselves.