Wednesday, July 18, 2012

A Martyr for a Laugh

            “Neuroses aren’t simple diseased abnormalities- but rather another sort of mental functioning.”(67) In the Bloom Jennies comedy act three women set the stage to entertain and illustrate to the audience their script of “mischief”.  As the act begins in a dimly lit room, with a few seats in what once could have been a back storage room or oversized closet, for London standards, three women looking like they just walked off the street introduce themselves and begin the show.  Already thrown off by the atmosphere and locality of the theater the comedians top off what is the beginning of an interesting night. Surprisingly as they perform their first sketch, then their second and continue I find myself entertained by the plot and amused by their antics. However, as it goes on there is a recurring theme for which the quote is meant. Each sketch is focused on a role women play, dramatized and put on the stage meant to be laughed at. They displayed women in the stereotypical fashion such as at a bachelorette party, being bogged down by their families and obsessing over minute annoyances in their partners.

This is interesting because in each act they were essentially making the audience laugh at their own expense, when if it were a male comedian they rarely are the focus of their own jokes. The standard, to which men and women are held by, to be considered funny, is drastically different. Men are usually considered to be funnier than women by making fun of anything that walks by, rolls by or just is. Women however, because of societal standards and gender theory are only seen as funny if their sense of humor demeans themselves. As Freud explains neuroses as a sort of mental functioning, women comedians have developed neuroses of what is funny based on how society views them. They are subject to scrutiny because of the stereotypes created by society, for example women are gossipy, hormonal, strong women are considered bitches, older unmarried women are called spinsters and the list goes on. The consequence of this is, the unconscious neuroses of these comedians making fun of themselves to divert from the reality that; it is because of their gender they are viewed this way.

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