I loved Loveline. I used to watch it late at night in high school as I unwound from my busy day of theater and school. I used to listen to it on the radio in my little turquoise Saturn (a car built for endurance not beauty) on the way home from rehearsal or work at the local Tucson frozen yogurt store. I loved and continue to love Dr. Drew’s patient and thorough ways of explaining people’s problems and concerns. I loved the guests who came on and their various levels of comfort with the show’s subject matter. And I loved Adam Carolla. He added a lot of humor to the show in what was surely an ironic, dumb guy way.
Today, Adam Carolla lost my respect, as well as a few other people’s, I would imagine. When a person says “Women aren’t funny,” it fills me with rage. I wish I could just laugh it off and post an adorable picture of a panda on a rocking horse and move on with my life, but that is not how this works.
That is only part of how this works.
I went to college with a fat fuck who used to say that women weren’t funny all the time. He would qualify it by saying this girl was kind of funny, or that girl was pretty and talented in other ways. What made it worse is that he was funny, which makes him seem like an authority on humor, which is ridiculous. Every time he said out loud a stereotype that had been reinforced my whole life, I felt a little bit more scared to even try to be funny. Scared to try out for improv or to tell a joke or to try a funny song. Why should I bother when the world of comedy was closed to my kind?
I mention this not because I picture anyone reading my blog clutching his or her heart and gasping with the realization that the world had to wait for me to grow a backbone before they could be gifted with my extraordinary comedic abilities, but because every time some jerk (male or female) says that women can’t be funny or that women are horrible bosses or that women can’t drive, an impressionable young girl hears and internalizes that and learns to cross something off her list of potential things she can do with her life. And society learns to expect less from women, making fewer women brave enough to be comedians and fewer audiences open enough to laugh.
It’s clear that Adam Carolla spewed a little misogyny with some homophobia sprinkled in because he wanted a little mainstream attention. Mission accomplished. But it bothers me that he says “If my daughter has a mediocre sense of humor, I’m just gonna tell her ‘Be a staff writer for a sitcom. Because they’ll have to hire you, they can’t really fire you, and you don’t have to produce that much. It’ll be awesome.'”
My dad would never tell a national news source that he hopes I’ll be mediocre at anything, but I guess it is nice that Carolla wants more for his kids than he ever had.