7 Things to Never Ask a Female Comic+comment
Despite a growing number of female comedians currently on television (Chelsea Handler, Ellen Degeneres, Rosie O’Donnell, Whitney Cummings, Kathy Griffin, Sarah Silverman, Whoopi Goldberg to name a few), a woman telling a man she meets that she’s a comedian is often met with absolute disbelief. Female comedians aren’t fairies or leprechauns. They exist. And they aren’t endangered species. Yet at a bar, if you tell a guy you do standup, it’s like they’ve met the rare bird from Up.
After years of doing standup, I was still shocked that many amazing, smart, totally cool guys would say the dumbest shit – to my face. What was worse was they were completely unaware of what a dumbass they sounded like.
Here a few tips (taken from other female comics as well) to help a clueless guy rise above some dealbreaker statements.
1. “You don’t look like a comic.”
While usually intended as a compliment, who tells someone they don’t “look” like what they do? Can only certain looking woman be a standup comedian? At the heart of anyone doing a job they are passionate about, is to be taken seriously. Leave the backhanded compliments to your arch-nemesis.
2. “You look like a comic.”
Confused? Telling a woman she looks like a comic is interpreted as “you look fat, you are funny looking, you look ugly, you look odd, etc.” and none of these are conversation openers. While rules #1 and #2 seem contradictory, a policy of avoiding what the comic “looks” like altogether is a very safe bet.
3. “Say something funny.”
No one wants to feel like a puppet or like their profession has similar commands to dog tricks. It also puts someone on the spot for you to judge their skill. No one ask a writer to write a sentence. No one asks an attorney to make an argument. No one asks a nurse to draw their blood. You get the point. Treating anyone like a party favor, especially a woman, is bound to get you on a shitlist.
4. “You’re actually not bad!”
Oh guys, just take two extra seconds before words fly out of your mouth, and your dating life will probably improve dramatically. Just imagine if a woman said that to you after sex.
5. “Are you dating the headliner?”
Casting couches are so 1950’s and while comics tend to hook up with other comics (what other job happens late night, at a bar, and drinking is encouraged), to assume a woman is working at the club due to her hook up abilities is especially offensive. There are tons of guy comics and no one assumes his lesser know male feature act is blowing him. Give a girl the same courtesy.
6. “Do you write your own material?”
Is this saying a woman can’t write? Or that she can only be funny if someone else writes her material? If she were an actress, reading other peoples words, then she’d probably tell you she’s an actress and not a standup comic. Also, unless she’s running her own show (ie. Jay Leno, Chelsea Handler, David Letterman) with a staff of writers for the opening monologue, you can rest assured that the girl you met at a bar doing roadwork in El Paso is writing her own material.
7. “I’m so glad you didn’t suck.”
This was said to me after a show by a guy I was kind of dating. His excitement and complete unawareness of this huge insult after a really great show was impressive. Needless to say, the underlying thought was that he obviously thought I would suck. I didn’t suck that night on stage, but I did suck about calling him back.