Is there masculine and feminine humour?

October 4, 2011 at 3:40 pm 1 comment

I’ve been thinking about this lately.  I’ve read the Comic Toolbox and I know laughing is a physical reaction caused by the release of tension.  We see someone go into a situation that is going to be so embarrassing (mini death) and it happens and we gafaw with the feeling better him than me or I can so see myself doing that.  We laugh.  This is the new hot comedy – the total geek wins the girl (Knocked Up) or the girl is the one farting and causing others to lose control of their bowels (Bridesmaids) (really funny scene driving around illegally in front of the cop, ).

I think this is masculine humour and there is a whole other world to be explored.

I think feminine humour is when you delight in being alive.  The pleasures in the simple quirkiness of life.  The way your heart sings when you see an act of love.  I’m thinking about scenes like Little Miss Sunshine when they jump on stage to not let Olive be alone.  I laughed because I was watching a father express unconditional love and I burst with joy.  The fact that it was embarrassing was there as well but it would have been contrived without the other element.  The same is true for About a Boy when Will jumps on stage to support the boy and sing a song.  It is so loving it makes you smile.  The Guard is full of quirky moments about life that make you smile.  They are not built on tension and release.  This is a film of drug smugglers in Ireland and one dealer/murderer is put off by the class of people they have to associate with.  It’s endearing.  They read high literature.  It’s quirky funny.  Delightfully unexpected.  Bend It Like Beckham has these funny moments when Jas talks to her elder’s portrait or imagines her mother and Aunties playing soccer.  The Year Dolly Parton was my Mother has these moments.

I suggest that this delight in everyday  things, laughter that comes from joy and love is a feminine style of humour that is worth exploring.

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1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Lorne A  |  October 5, 2011 at 8:20 am

    Kim: Very interesting, different blog entry for you! Once again, you’ve taken the conversation – this time about differences in styles of humour – beyond the conventional (albeit incomplete) wisdom that men and women differ in their comic ways. As you astutely point out, the differences are not gender-based, but in masculine and feminine distinctions. As someone who takes humour very seriously, so to speak, I’m aware of many male comic genres and practitioners whose humour is gentle or self-deprecating or most common of all, simple observations about life’s absurdities (Woody Allen, Jerry Seinfeld and that formidable canon of American Jewish humour so brilliantly and hilariously exemplified by the late greats, Jack Benny, Hedy Youngman and of course, the man himself, Groucho Marx). Also, as you note, The Guard film represents a feminine style of humour with a strong tradition in Britain, with brilliant, comedic and slightly daft pioneers like Spike Milligan (The Goon Show, BBC, 1950s) leading the way. I think absurdity and eccentricity are as integral to feminine humour as joy and love.
    Again, another insightful blog.
    Lorne A
    Avid and eccentric fan,


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