Last night was the Golden Globes. Of course I watched, since my two role models, Amy Poehler and Tina Fey, were hosting. The dynamic duo is also scheduled to host next year. It seems as if we’ve put the age-old question to rest: can women be funny?
Yes, yes, they can.
But, I’ve found that a new question has been proposed: Can men be funny?
More specifically, can straight, white men be funny? Because it seems like their days in the limelight is running its course, as we’re getting sick of their overdone humor.
James Franco was a unique case, but with Macfarlane and Gervais, they were overall too offensive for the audience. Somewhere along the lines, heterosexual, white male humor has turned into a game of “who can offend the most people?”
You’ll hear them saying things like, “It’s not humor if you’re not pissing someone off.” And though I agree with the sentiment of “you can’t win them all,” I don’t think humor needs to solely come from offending people or pissing them off.
As Tina Fey and Amy Poehler showed us last night, you can poke fun at people, still be funny, and not be overtly sexist, racist, homophobic, anti-religious, or any sort of offensiveness. Their humor comes from more harmless forms of teasing, like calling Tom Hanks
, “Tam Honks” throughout the night.
As a culture, we’re getting tired of the typical offensive humor. Funny as it may be, it’s easy, there’s typically not much intelligence behind it, and it’s overdone. What’s more impressive is humor that is smart, without tearing people down.
Comedy used to be more observational, and less obnoxious. It used to point out the absurdities of people and our culture without degrading them. Somewhere along the lines, we strayed from that. It became easy to degrade people for how they act, instead of merely pointing it out and exposing the absurdity. With the influx of women in comedy, I believe we’re going to get back to the more observational humor, the humor that isn’t intent on pissing off anyone we can.
So, can heterosexual, white men be funny? Yes, I suppose they can. But, right now, it seems like they’re not being very funny. Maybe when they stop being afraid of loosing their elevated seat in society, they’ll jump onboard the social change train and we can all have a good laugh. Maybe even at their expense. Now, that’d be a crazy world.