Where is our funny bone?

This is an old piece written in 2007 and published in an online magazine.

I was enjoying “Everybody Loves Raymond” on television with my husband. In that episode, Ray Romano made a humorous remark on married couples. We chuckled together and my husband could not let the moment go out of his hand and took full advantage of it to make a statement that clearly reflected his chauvinism. “See, how great his sense of humor is. No female can have such a sense of humor.”- He said in a teasing tone. Well, I am very prompt in answering back and especially when it comes to an attack on feminism. But I was dumbfounded as no female’s name crossed my mind, who had such a talent. I struggled to recollect one such name. I scratched my head and bit my nails, but I could not strike on one such prominent name. My husband did not verbally proclaim his chauvinist win, but he walked away with a victorious look on his face. I was still struggling in my brain to find a female who could make someone laugh (Well! We are the ones to put smiles on the faces of our family). I kept churning my head through out the evening till it was time to bed and I took my laptop to write about it.

I wandered my brain in all the possible directions from Bollywood to Hollywood, from art and literature to politics and to the real life. I ended up having only a handful of women who were witty enough to make you chuckle. Think of politics and you get a prominent picture of Laloo Prasad Yadav. Though  politicians  end up making fun of themselves and others every now and then, we still do not have a female Laloo Prasad Yadav. Would such a facetious expressions and remarks as made by Mr.Yadav would be acceptable by our society if it came from a female?  Think of writing and you come across columns of Abu Abraham, Busybee and others who are humorous to tickle your funny bone. Women writers mostly write on the more serious and emotional stuff. The humor that we get from some of the women writers like Jane Austen and Shobha De is not enough to be enjoyed again and again. Infact, some of them start being humorous but end up whining and complaining about the female issues. As for Mrs. Shobha De, I find her more of a feminist than a humorist. Think of a cartoonist and the first name you would have in your brain would be Laxman. As per my knowledge there is no  female who is as good as Mr. Laxman to lighten up your stressed brain and fuel you up as you take the sip of your morning tea and browse through your daily newspaper. Why females fail to see the humor that Laxman can see in those serious issues?. Do we fail to notice it or lack the ability to express it so well? When it comes to humorous poems (Hasya Kavita), we have a long list of males like Shail Chaturvedi and Surendra Sharma with a very few females fitting in the list.

Now take a look at the reel life – Hollywood or Bollywood, we have a scarce of female comedian. In fact, the better question would be – Is there any real female comedian? Look at Hollywood and you can find a long list – Jerry Seinfeld, Ray Romano, Bill Cosby and so on ……….well, every one on the list has a Y chromosome. Back home we have Shekhar Suman , Sajid Khan, Javed Jaferi and our new favourite Kapil Sharma to rule the small screen comedy. I fail to recall any female name.(Pardon me ! if I am missing any one). Few comedy shows on TV do have female comedians but they not at par with their male counterparts. In Hollywood, Jim Carey, Eddie Murphy and Adam Schandler  … steal the show whereas back home we have Govinda, Akshay and Saif to name a few. What happens to all those gorgeous ladies? Where is their comic sense? Do they lack it or do they fear to explore it? If you put further stress on your brain you can name a few female comedians from the past like Tuntun, Shashikala, Manorama and Bindu but they stand no where near to their male counterparts like Jagdeep, Asrani  and Mehmood. Most of the times they would turn out to be vamps or characters reflecting the bad side of females like a torturing mother-in-law or a vindictive sister-in-law. So humor goes in to drain and relevant social and female issues come more in picture.

Come to the real life. Most of the lewd and nasty remarks that we come across in our day to day life- on campus, on streets or in parties are made by males. And they do it so effortlessly as if they are born with this natural talent. A female would hesitate to do so. In fact anything coming out of a female’s mouth is expected to be sober, wise and sugar- coated.
Females are undoubtedly eloquent and have superior communication and fine sense of judgment.  Why do we lag behind in exploring our comic sense?  Why Mars rule Venus when it comes to being funny? Are we born without a funny bone?  Nature has bestowed us with a strong pelvic bone to bear a child but has given a weak funny bone? Or, has it become weak because of its less use in due course of evolution?

I think that there is nothing wrong with our natural wiring. But something seems wrong with our social upbringing. The whole movement of Equality and Liberation of women has a lot to do to take away our funny side. We stretch ourselves a lot to meet both ends, of being perfect professionally and personally. In that bid to excel as a daughter, sister, mother and career woman, we often forget to see the lighter side of life. We are brought up to fit into a picture of social expectations. As I remember my mom always tamed me to laugh softly as laughing out loud is not socially acceptable for a women. We have to look sober and elegant in all our aspects and the natural way of expression by laughing out loud is inhibited. We are expected to smile with a well defined arc on our face like that of Aishwarya Rai or giggle like the bubbly Juhi Chawla.

Does not the whole movement of Equality and Liberation should give us the opportunity to live in a more natural way and expressing ourselves loud?

So here is another bid for all females to excel in a domain which has been so far an arena dominated by men. So buckle up to give them a challenge. It’s high time to shake and wiggle your funny bone. Oops! …..Do I sound too rough for being a female? So, sounding soft and nice as a female is supposed to, I would say – “It’s high time to give a little tickle to your funny bone”.

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