Wednesday, 7 March 2018

A funny woman? You’ve got more chance of finding a diamond stuck to your scrotum. Am I right, or am I right?!??

REDDIT USER 2: HELL YEAH! Women wouldn’t know what a good lol was if it went and hit ‘em in the face.

REDDIT USER 1: Unless ‘lol’ is short for ‘lollipop’, and ‘lollipop’ is code for ‘my dick’.

If you look hard enough, you’ll probably find the above conversation somewhere on reddit. I’d do the legwork for you, but I’d rather gouge my eyes out with a severed chode than scroll through reddit idiocy. Genuinely.

But, if you want boiling blood, here are some threads to check out -

I know, I know - I shouldn’t let myself be so bothered by internet trolls, but threads like these violently fuel the mindset of shit lads. And, much to my utter dismay, shit lads are not quite the dying breed they should be.

To further encourage the absurdity of systemic misogyny, there are plenty of ‘legitimate’ articles that ‘prove’ women have inferior comedic skills to men.

Like these -

In summary, if men want to get laid, it’s imperative they’re funny - it’s a sexual survival skill. Whereas, women don’t need to develop interesting personalities - they have other ‘qualities’ that appeal to guys. I’m not really sure how this theory works outside of heterosexual relationships. Presumably, gay men are always having a whale of time together, slipping around in their own joke-induced tears. Yet gay women are forced to endure a lifetime of tedious bants and sympathy laughs.

Let's not beat around the big ol' feminist bush - all of this discriminatory bullshit really curdles my milk. But, it also explains a lot. It explains why, after enjoying a lol-packed conversation avec moi, some men will take it upon themselves to become my unwanted therapist - a problem I suspect very few witty guys have to deal with.

My guess is that, for those pseudo-therapists, it’s utterly incomprehensible for a woman to be truly entertaining. It defies all of their ingrained logic. So, if they do happen to stumble across a comical woman, she must be proper mental. She must’ve had a troubled childhood. She must be riddled with self-loathing. And she must need saving.

I’m sorry, Doc, but would you mind fucking right off? Just because I made a few jokes about giving my son (who’s entirely fictitious) his dead grandfather’s bellend as a Christmas present, it does not mean I need psychological help. I mean, even if I do decide to have therapy, I hope to the God of Good Brows it wouldn't result in a vanillafied sense of humour. #liveforthelols #yankeecandle

Sadly, this attitude towards women and wit isn’t exclusive to men. Women (yes, more than one woman) have actually sat me down and expressed their ‘concern’ for the things I find amusing, as if I was out in the garden skinning feral cats and laughing maniacally at their misfortune. Honestly, It’s as if being a committed veggie (of three months) counts for nothing.

As well as having women express their ‘concern’, I’ve also had fellow females admit to me that they think humour is a boner-killer. They seriously think being funny would make them less attractive, which is a belief that only serves to cement the opinions of those reddit twats.

Out of everything, that’s what makes my heart hurt the most. Until women are brought up to see themselves as capable, enthralling, and STILL totally fuckable, we will never have true equality.

I could go on a (longer) rant about the injustice of the patriarchy, and how it makes me incredibly sad that some women have fallen victim to misogynistic conditioning, but I’m only a few paragraphs away from chainsawing my tits off, shoving them in a jar full of potent potpourri, and posting them off to Reddit HQ. Which would be a highly ineffective protest, and a waste of pretty good tits.

So, given it’s INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY Y’ALL, I want to use this bit of internet space to celebrate some hilarious women (a positive kind of Fuck You). 

For one reason or another, all of these women have been incredibly influential to me:

Dawn French and Jennifer Saunders

Fuck Guevara - these two are real revolutionaries, at least of the comedy scene. Together, they helped to transform comedy with their sketches, movie parodies and balls-to-the-wall attitude. And when they had no money, they didn’t wallow in bitterness - they dressed up, got on the tube, and terrified strangers all day. Total genius.

Diane Morgan

Some of you might know her better as Philomena Cunk - Charlie Brooker’s ridiculous presenter.

But, before Diane landed the Cunk job, she was a stand-up comic for years, and I admire her commitment to the lols. Whenever I finally grow up, I want to be a much squintier version of Diane - she’s hilariously dark and a proper advocate of weird. She’s the epitome of ‘no fucks given’ and the opposite of a capitalist whore (according to this Guardian article - I'm not her accountant).

Kiri Pritchard-McLean

Writer, director, stand-up comic, podcast extraordinaire, compère…. this gal’s the jack of all trades and the master of them all. I saw a lot of live comedy up in Manchester last year, and her show knocked it out of the park - serious lols for days. And when I slid into her DMs, like the desperate groupie I am, Kiri was kind enough to take the time to respond (more than once). Even my ‘mates’ don’t do that.

Zawe Ashton

Zawe is a self-declared artist, and rightly so. She’s a woman of many creative talents and insightful opinions. She seems achingly cool, and way beyond my social remit, which is probably why I sound like such a bum-licker right now. Anyway, I became a fan of Zawe when she absolutely nailed playing Vod in Fresh Meat - funny, fierce, and totally unapologetic. The real Archbishop of Banterbury.

Daisy May Cooper

This Country is a brilliant mockumentary, based in a shit Gloucestershire village, and Daisy is its creator. She plays the part of Kerry, an asexual slug (Daisy's words, not mine), and she stars alongside her brother, Charlie. It's quotable gold. A cult classic. And it's amazing how much material Daisy's been able to squeeze out of such an uninspiring place. Pure creativity. 

Alice Levine

Sure, Alice might be one of the best jokers on one of the best comedy podcasts every made (My Dad Wrote a Porno, obvs), but she’s also proof that a female disc jockey can be highly entertaining. Alice has been a presenter on Radio 1 for years, and she’s bloody brilliant. Witty and well-versed in designed awkwardness - she’s my radio hero.

Phoebe Waller-Bridge

If you haven’t seen Fleabag, sort it out. It’s Phoebe’s baby, and it’s a gloriously dark depiction of female sexuality, loneliness, and tragedy. Oh, and it’s hella funny. For me, it’s so refreshing to see a strong female character with a morbid sense of humour and an imperfect history. I live in hope that I’ll one day have the balls to write like Phoebe, and the skill to handle the balls.

Also, I fucking love Phoebe’s mum for imparting this wisdom -  ‘Darling, you can be whatever you want to be, as long as you’re outrageous’. What a woman. 

So, yeah, women can be hilarious, and dark, and interesting. And collating a list of funny females is (probably) way more cathartic than sending a pair of hate-tits to Reddit HQ would've been. There are loads of inspirational Huns out there - I could bang on about them for days, but I’m running out of ways to say ‘comic genius’.

As times (hopefully) change, I’m looking forward to seeing more and more women in comedy - women from all walks of life. Because, even though I know loads of piss-funny gals, it sure still seems like it’s a man’s world out there.  

So let's encourage the lols in everyone. Then let’s find those dickhead reddit users, sabotage their WiFi access, and collectively defecate on their back-up porn. 

Peace and love xoxo

Sunday, 16 July 2017

Drinking, drugs, and double-dipping - what's the point of PRIDE?

Sure, it’s easy to look at pictures of PRIDE when they’re laid out in a trash-infested tabloid, and say to your loyal(ish) wife of 55 years, “Fucking hell, Barbara - have you seen the state of ‘em? It’s disgusting. This one guy’s passed out, and his arse is right out!!! Flamin’ Nora!! One of ‘em is even being sick in the street. Turns my stomach it does. Turns it right over.”

But you could say any of those things after any city-wide celebration involving alcohol. People can’t handle their drink (or drugs), and England’s press thrives off other people’s debauchery. But PRIDE isn’t just one big piss up. Nor is it a one-way ticket to M-Kat Kingdom. PRIDE is a way of celebrating who you are, and whoever you love. It gives hundreds of thousands of oppressed people the opportunity to party without judgement, or fear. And it’s one massive Fuck You to anyone who’s incapable of seeing beyond their biblical blinkers.

‘But being Gay has been legal for 50 years in England, so why do we still need PRIDE?’

Okay, I’m hearing what you’re saying, but I’m not enjoying it. Not one bit. It might be legal here, but it doesn’t mean there aren’t still some people who only approve of being predictably heterosexual. And there are others who (as liberal as they might think they are) struggle to understand someone’s sexuality unless it perfectly fits into a dictionary’s definition. In fact, it’s astonishing how, for a country that ranks pretty highly in the ‘
do whatever the fuck you want’ chart, a lot of people still feel the need to pigeonhole sexuality. Watched gay porn once? Gay.  Sucked off your mate once? Gay. Like Coldplay? Gay.

Personally, I believe in Dr. Kinsey’s theory that sexuality is on a sliding scale (soz, Mr Gay-Is-A-Cardinal-Sin), and some people just flux more than others. Back in 2007, I dipped a finger (or two) in the Gay Way. Then in 2013, I slid all the way up to Casa del Lesbiana. But now I’m truly back in Penis Paradise (even if it is a bit light on the penis rn). So I’ve had my fair share of dabbling, and I probably will again in the future. But SO many people have struggled to understand my pleasure-seeking roller coaster.

To demonstrate how limited people can be, here are a few examples of the kind of questions people have asked when they’re trying to ‘understand’:

Exhibit 1: A conversation with a Naive Idiot:

Naive Idiot: So, you had a girlfriend once?

Me: Yes.

Naive Idiot: But you’re not gay?

Me: No.

Naive Idiot: But you must be gay?

Me: I’m not.

Naive Idiot: So you’re Bi then?

Me: No.

Naive Idiot: Come on. You must be.

Me: Why?

Naive Idiot: Just because that’s how it goes.

Me: Oh….well, in that case - you must be right. Thanks for clarifying my emotions for me. Don’t know what I’d have done without you.

Exhibit 2: A conversation with a Total Douchebag:

Total Douchebag: So, are you going stay with the cock now?

Me: I guess you never know what’s going to happen in the future...

Total Douchebag: Yeah you do - you either like cock or fanny, so what’s it going to be?

Me: That’s not really how it works.

Total Douchebag: Ohhhh, I get it - are you the kind of greedy bastard who likes ‘em all? Tits and dicks? Whatever you can put in your mouth?

Me (in my head): I’d much rather put cyanide in my mouth than continue to talk to you.

Although these conversations seem like fleeting moments of judgmental idiocy, they left an impression. And they affected my relationship - I never felt comfortable in public, because I cared about what other people thought. I was never fully-invested because I valued the opinion of strangers more than I valued how I felt, or how my girlfriend felt. In fact, if I’m being completely honest, I felt ashamed. And that’s a feeling I’m not really used to, even if my parents did try and instil the Catholic Guilt in me at a young age.

But imagine how terrifying that ‘shame’ must feel if you realise you’re not straight, and your family are homophobes, or if the leader of your country is a homophobic, deluded arsehole. Or how dirty the ‘shame’ must feel if your family say they understand, and that they still love you, but then they only refer to your same-sex lover as your ‘friend’, and refuse to give you a plus-one for any family events. Imagine having to love in secret, or having to lie for your love, just because other people can’t accept something that goes against the traditional grain.

That’s why we still need PRIDE. It’s to show all of the oppressed people that there is a place where their love will feel valued, and that it’s more than okay to be a little bit ‘different’.
And as one of the most liberal countries in the world, it’s our social responsibility to lead the way for change. To make a stand for freedom. Because at this very moment in time, there are gay men being beaten and murdered, purely for being gay. There are women who have had their sexual freedom violently taken from them. And there are transsexuals who are shunned from society, just for being different.

So even though PRIDE might seem like one big party - it’s more than that. It’s a protest against sexual dictatorship and social segregation. And it’s a beacon of hope to anyone that’s still living in oppression.

Sure, PRIDE isn’t without its flaws - it’s disgusting how it’s become a playground for companies who are looking to piggyback onto social issues, just so they can plug whatever they’re selling with less of a conscience. And it’s concerning how straight people use it as an excuse to get drunk in the streets of London, despite making no effort to stand up for gay rights any other time of the year.  

But regardless of its problems, the purpose of PRIDE is still something we need to hold onto - we need to encourage acceptance and diversity. Fundamentally, we’re all made of the same biological stuff anyway - it’s just the way we think and feel that’s different. And honestly, I wouldn’t give one single milligram of shit if my friend came to the pub riding a glitter-bombed horse, sporting an enormous dildo on his forehead, and had several men hanging out of his arse. Sure, I’d probably bring it up, but as long as he was happy, still appreciative of a questionable pun, and practising safe, consensual sex, I’d welcome him with semi-open arms (open arms are suspiciously false and sociably uncomfortable.)

At the end of the day, life can be truly terrible, and people can be beyond deplorable arseholes. So if you manage to find someone who you love, and who loves you in return, who gives a fuck if they’re a girl or a boy, or a girl who’s a boy on Wednesdays? It might sound like one of Instagram’s many clichéd hashtags, but Love really is Love. (As long as it’s consensual and not full-on Lolita, obvs.)

So big-up to PRIDE - keep on fighting the good fight, and partying the big party.