I used to avoid talking about periods, sex, or my body in general onstage- what if everyone found out I was a girl?!
Finding your voice in stand-up as a woman is frustrating because the female comedian stereotypes are: clever and depressed or filthy and promiscuous. And with the way we already judge women, whatever you’re wearing is going to dictate which one you are before you even tell a joke.
For a lot of people, jokes just about physically being a woman are lumped in with “cheap” sexual humor, which is frustrating because writing about gender is so different from writing about sex.
They say to “write what you know” but when it comes to female experiences it's more, “write what you know, except for that...that’s gross.”
I had a hard time navigating between being a comedian and a woman, because a lot of people think the two are mutually exclusive and I am desperate people pleaser. I don’t think I told my first period joke until 2 years into doing stand-up. (It was something terrible like, “I don’t know why there aren’t more female rappers, most girls have a strong flow by age 12.”)
I even used to shy away from female comedians that talked about sex because the people around me told me that wasn’t funny and I believed them. Now that I’m older and a little wiser I see the difference between things that are not funny and the people that say they aren’t. Because I’ve watched set after set where a woman gets snarky comments over sex jokes that, had their male peers written, would have crushed. I’ve been approached at shows by other women who introduce themselves to me just so they can say, “You know, I usually don’t like female comedians, but you were funny!” while their husband silently nods along. I’ve been in a conversation about people’s aversion to female-focused comedy and there’s always some guy who says it isn’t about what we’re saying, it’s how we say it. But I’ve watched plenty of my female peers toe that line with such hilarious poise and I’ve seen a man walk on-stage at a club naked except for a sock on his penis, so I’m going to go ahead and say we have no idea where the line actually is.
In the spirit of this post, here are some of my “dirtiest” jokes:
Why do they call periods a “monthly visitor” when they feel more like a “home invasion”?
They say that the best way to get over someone is to get under someone else, but what if I like being on top?
I slept with a Philosophy grad student and now I can’t stop asking myself, “Why?”
Dating a guy who sleeps on an air mattress is tough because you’re always trying to finish before the bed does.
They say the eating habits you have as a kid affect your diet as an adult but I don’t remember eating pussy as a kid.
When I was a kid I hated getting my ass chewed out but now that I’m an adult I love it.
I’m bisexual but I prefer to be called a lesbiand.
Have you ever been so hungry that when the food comes, so do you?