Lady Comic Problems: I'm Not On My Period, Your Joke's Just Not Funny

As a comic, apparently I’m supposed to be able to take a joke, ANY joke, no matter how bad, dumb or insulting it is.
Publish date:
April 5, 2012
TV, comics, female comics, lady tv, shows, standup, two and a half men

Oh good news,

Lee Aronsohn apologized for his ridiculous sexist comments from last week. Sorta. Via Twitter. Prefacing it with a super sincere “Yes, yes.”

Some context: Lee Aronsohn co-created "Two and A Half Men," which is bad enough, but last week during a screenwriting convention keynote said that there was too many women-centric shows on TV, and that "We are approaching peak vagina on television, the point of labia saturation...Enough, ladies. I get it. You have periods."

It's infuriating when people say horrible things, hateful things, damaging things and then pass it off as a “joke.” Sorry Lee, jokes are supposed to be funny. Haven’t you learned this is in all your years as a successful TV comedy producer?

As a comic myself, apparently I’m supposed to be able to take a joke, ANY joke, no matter how bad, dumb or insulting it is. When some of my fellow male comics bring women on stage by introducing us with “Please welcome another annoying cunt to the stage” or “Not only is she a great comic but her tits are nice,” I’m supposed to chuckle appreciatively.

When those people who I stupidly accepted as “friends” on Facebook or who follow me on Twitter have responded to things I’ve posted with misogynistic remarks, I'm supposed to let it roll off me. Like when I posted a link to a show I’m on that has more women on the line-up than men and some web designer from Georgia that I’ve never met in real life used my comments section as an open mic, writing, “What is this, The Lilith Fair of comedy?” and “I’ll come to your show if you promise one of these bitches gives me a BJ."

When I speak up and say that something is not right, or fair or funny I’m told I need to lighten up, to learn to take a joke. I'm told, "Wow, for a comic you sure don’t have a sense of humor."

I love jokes, when they are clever, smart and FUNNY! Calling women sluts, cunts, whores, making light of domestic violence and rape, responding to an outspoken woman with “go make me a sandwich” -- those are not jokes. A good joke adds something new to the mix, makes a statement, tells a story, is original. Saying women are dumb twats who deserve to be hit and raped. only know how to suck dick, clean a kitchen, and bleed from their vaginas is misogyny masked as hack humor.

Telling me to “learn to take a joke” in regards to unfunny, disgusting, violent remarks feels just as creepy as “You know you wanted it." But what do I know? I’m just a girl not lucky enough to be part of the “approaching peak vagina on television” trend.

According to the report from the Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film at San Diego State University in 2011, women comprised 15% of writers on the prime-time dramas, comedies and reality shows on ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox and the CW, women were 11% of TV directors, women were 41% of all on-air characters, and women made up 25% of the people working as series creators, producers, executive producers, directors, writers, editors and directors of photography.

And while they have yet to release stats for 2012, I doubt any of those number shot up to 50%. So if this means we are “approaching peak vagina on TV than “peak vagina” is full of dicks.

And in regard to the “Enough, ladies. I get it. You have periods,” I'd like to know what channel all these period-focused programs Aronsohn is talking about are on? Is there a show called Aunt Flo’s House that I don’t know about? If so, I’d love to see it, because I get my period and sometimes I want to talk about it! Men are allowed to talk on stage, in movies, on TV about having big dicks, small dicks, soft dicks, hard dicks, jizz, masturbating, without anyone saying “Enough guys, we get it you have penises.”

We just want the right to talk about our lives openly and honestly and part of our lives is menstruating. But I am not complaining, I will deal with the immature and derogatory “jokes” made about periods because I love that I get my period, I fucking LOVE IT! And all men including Aronsohn should also learn to love periods because if it weren’t your mother’s ability to menstruate you wouldn’t have been able to be born. So show your mom how grateful you are for her 30-40 years of monthly crotch bleeding by degrading one of the most underrated miracles of life.

Sadly, while searching the web for articles and reactions to Aronsohn’s comments I found some women who Tweeted in defense of Aronsohn. I saw this on one woman’s feed “He doesn't hate women, he hates how shitty women's shows have become,” “Aronsohn directly referred to shows like Whitney and Chelsea, NOT 30 Rock or P&R. Trashy, vagina-joke-filled shows, not good ones.”

And my favorite “He’s criticizing anti-feminist trash that's on TV now.” If Arohnson wanted to make a statement against anti-feminist trash, he shouldn’t use anti-feminist words to say it.

And what's a "woman's show," anyway? A show that is created by or stars a woman? What's wrong with vagina jokes? And by comparing "30 Rock" and "Parks & Rec," to "Whitney" and "Chelsea," aren't we just doing the thing we always do with women -- pitting them against each other?

But what do I know? I’m just a gal who has the lofty idea that to use my talent and humor to make people feel good and make the world better and not worse. Perhaps I’d be more successful if I bro-ed myself up and only made jokes about stuff that entices men and cuts down women so I can be considered safe and one of the boys. But that’s not me.

One of my favorite quotes about comedy and women comes from comedian and Conan writer Laurie Kilmartin in Marie Claire “I think guys get on stage to get laid, and women get on stage to get heard.” Now that to me is a great example of making a joke to make a point.

So if you’re someone who has been blessed with the ability to speak to people through TV, film, music, books, magazines, newspapers, blogs, politics, the stage, even at dinner, or anywhere where you can be heard, please try to say something original, useful and maybe even kind. And if saying that I value kindness somehow makes me less of a comic and more of a bleeding heart, fine.

My bleeding heart will go nicely with my bleeding vagina.