I have spent an average of 40 nights in each of the past three years sitting alone in a comedy club, listening to (mostly) men share their positions on everything from politics to pussy. I’ve probably heard every dick joke currently in circulation, and laughed at most of them. I love stand up and the men who dare to deliver it. It’s a little strange to admit that HBO and I share the same standards for a One Night Stand: amusing lines, a skilled tongue, great timing, a strong finish. Bonus points for being able to fill the room. For me, there are few aphrodisiacs in the known universe as strong as my own funny bone.
Still, I hear many of my comic friends complain that, while women say they want a man who will make them laugh, being a comedian is doing very little to get them laid. I have two theories about that.
The first is quite simply this. Women do want men who make them laugh, the same way men want women who will fuck them. I just think that very few of us want professionals. Dating a porn star may seem cool, but I don’t know many men whose egos can handle the reality of it. Most guys I know freak out if they discover their girl’s “sleep number” has double digits. Imagine if all the cock sizes did, too. And, sure, your friends would be impressed for a few days, but then they’d start buying up the videos and practicing for the inevitable night you do something wrong and she comes to them in tears, “just wanting to be held.” And don’t forget that one family reunion where Uncle Frank spends 20 minutes squinting quizzically at her, then suddenly spits out his Irish Rose all over Aunt Vonnie’s potato salad. You both know he’s seen the films, and there’s a whole new level of awkward ahead.
As for women, we do love to laugh; we don’t so much love being the punch line. A professional comic needs evolving material. If he’s in a committed relationship, it’s inevitable that his partner will become part of the act and, while we honestly enjoy laughing at you, we aren’t quite so proficient at laughing at ourselves. But then, we’ve been trained not to. You’ve spent years telling us we aren’t funny. We didn’t develop our senses of humor; we were too busy learning to relax our gag reflex and doing Kegels.
In the less committed arena, sometimes your polish as a comedian works against you. I can be a good listener for awhile, but then I want YOUR attention. Don’t go to the back of the room in your head and start analyzing your performance, leaving me flailing like a receptionist doing open mic because her girlfriends all say she’s the funny one. If you’re a comic of the ego-driven variety who finds himself utterly amusing, you don’t seem to need us. Your hand, my hand – does it really matter? You’re getting off, either way. And as for the self-deprecatingly adorable type – well, you do turn us on. The fantasy starts with laughter. It has to escalate, though. Once the bodies hit the floor, you need to bring out your balls. Fuck with some confidence. I promise you, there are two types of tears you will never regret bringing to a woman’s eyes – tears of laughter and tears of orgasm. When you take us to that place of total release, you enter the Big O Hall of Fame. Crashing on the couch is now a distant memory. There will be a scrapbook shrine; you’ve earned it.
Of course, this only applies to casual partnerships. A real comedian, one who has to do the college and cruise circuits, one who hasn’t yet had their thirty minutes on Comedy Central, has to work harder than most people can imagine. Life is lived on the road for too many weeks. In order to survive, marriage to a real comedian requires a good cell phone plan, a strong support network and an even stronger sense of self. You will be alone much of the time. Teachers will assume you’re a single parent. Your comic may forget you are not an adoring fan, but someone who needs them to turn off when they are home. Being in a relationship with a professional comic often comes nowhere near the fantasy, much like dating a porn star.
So. Theory one: We enjoy each other’s talents, but prefer Amateur Hour.
Theory two is less complicated. Theory two is more likely.
Theory two is that comedians get laid all the time and just lie about it.
Admittedly, if all I knew of you was your stage persona and your set list, I could easily believe that no one fucks comics. But I have something else. I have had a number of strong friendships with comedians over the years, and I know how much many of you turn me on. What’s not to want about someone who has to think about the words they choose, be aware of their physical presence and gauge their performance through constant feedback? I don’t mind that you’re paying such close attention simply to get a reaction – seriously, isn’t that the reason most of us talk to anyone? I love a sharp mind. I adore a rapid-fire wit. I lust after a good sparring partner who can play nasty, stay funny and appreciate the joke. Yeah, chick flicks and Rom Coms do it for some girls, but I want to invite you over for an Eddie Izzard marathon, laugh with you through the Holy Grail and blow you to Blazing Saddles. If only there had been more comedy clubs in Central PA in the 80s, I’d have been a very different kind of groupie. Alas, we were overrun with garage bands and I developed a horrible habit for drummers.
One of my comic friends thinks I like comedy because I’m turned on by comedians, but he’s got it completely backward. The attraction is to laughter, and comedians are usually the best suppliers. My performer friends have told me many a tale of the carousing coed, cruise ship shag and comedy condo contortionist. I listen with real interest because, one, everyone needs a place to brag and, two, I need my own fantasies. These guys are good men, with girlfriends, wives, children, stability. All the intimacy we will ever share will take place in my brain, and I’m fine with that. On my mental stage, they keep me reeling on the edge while their tightest seven minutes spurts through my earphones and satisfies my aural fixation. I understand I may be a bit rare in my overwhelming attraction to funny guys, but I’m not alone. Many women want men who make them laugh. That’s why I believe the truth of this situation is closer to theory two.
Theory one: no one really wants a pro.
Theory two: all the world loves a clown.