Exercise 8: Introduction for Assignment 4

Aleyna Argeso

WTEII: Funny or Not

Why Do Men Dominate Stand-Up Comedy? (Introduction)


Men have been dominating comedy for centuries, and the comedic style “stand-up comedy” is no exception to this trend.  When most people try to envision a stand-up comedian on stage, the image that comes into their mind is that of a man. Subconsciously, individuals have a tendency to associate men with stand-up comedy, and they acknowledge on some level that stand-up comedy is a largely male field. The roots of this sociological trend have to be investigated in detail in order to shed light into the field of comedy studies. So, what specific factors contribute to the gender disparity in stand-up comedy and enable men to rule this comedic form? Is it simply the fact that women aren’t as funny as men or are there other reasons behind the phenomenon? Based on the research conducted on this topic and preconceived ideas about the subject, it can be asserted that men’s dominant position in stand-up comedy isn’t because women aren’t as funny as men but arises from the barriers imposed on women both by the society and by themselves. Society has been actively trying to exclude women from stand-up comedy due to the hegemonic masculinity notions and prey/predator mindset present in the society, and because of these reasons, female stand-up comedians aren’t given the same chance as male stand-up comedians.  Moreover, numerous women are opting not to enter the stand-up comedy world as they believe that the content covered in stand-up comedy do not go in line with their maternal roles and other feminine characteristics that are expected of them; hegemonic masculinity plays an essential role in this regard as well since the majority of women prefer to adapt the conventional roles assigned to them to fit into the society. To be more specific, “status”, “maternality” and “femininity” perceptions of hegemonic masculinity lead to the societal and self-induced barriers imposed on women with regard to entering stand-up comedy. However, since hegemonic masculinity is gradually losing its power in the global society and  feminist ideals are becoming more prevalent, more opportunities are given to female comedians and the male dominance in stand-up comedy is losing its strength.

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