Searching for Laughter in the Lesbian World (Part 1)

Erin Foley insists that “lesbians love jokes about lesbians.” But, “they also love jokes about pumpkins, dragons and fly-fishing. Hands down, lesbians laugh the hardest at obscure references to Plato’s Cave.”

Erin Foley (left) and Page Hurwitz

Page Hurwitz can’t resist a snarky answer. “Luckily, we’re one big monolithic group and we all like the same
things,” she says. “Purportedly, lesbians seem to respond to jokes about “wacky” sex and super duper wacky sex toys. I mean, those things are just plain crazy! Who can figure out any of it? It’s insane, I tell ya! Lezzies practically fall out of their wigs and jazzies for that stuff.”

“But really,” she continues, “I wouldn’t know what lesbians think is funny. In my experience they mostly just sit with their arms folded.”

Queer women, it is clear, love self-deprecating humor.

Questions No. 2: What never gets laughs with a lesbian audience?

There are clearly topics that gay women just don’t seem to enjoy hearing about, according to our experts. Queer women have a politically correct streak that’s easily aroused, a few body issues (especially male body issues), and few hot-button controversial topics they just don’t like to hear jokes about.

“Gay ladies, bi ladies and ladies who lunch do not like to hear jokes about small hands, lack of communication between partners, male reproductive glands, lizards, Dead Sea scrolls and when bad things happen to nice cats,” summarizes Foley.

McKinnon seconds the cat comment: “I think lesbos
will laugh at anything that’s funny, as long as it doesn’t involve hurting

“I watch so much stand-up that I end up learning what not to say from
other comics,” McManus reveals. “The big joke "no-nos" are about
abuse, abortion and/or poop. Poop is never funny… or is it?”

The “politically correct” issue surfaces in more than a few answers.

“I think
sometimes, lesbians can get a little ‘politically correct,’” says McNulty. “So, yeah, there
are things that will make them cross their arms and stare at you (and that
varies from crowd to crowd). But, I don’t really judge my material by whether
or not it’s PC,’ just if it’s funny — funny, but not mean-spirited.
I’m not a big fan of cheap shots; they’re lame and not creative. Not
because I’m worried about offending anyone — I just like to feel good about
what I’ve written from a creative and professional perspective.”

Julie Goldman has encountered her own share of
lesbian political correctness. “What they don’t like I think is dependent on
age and demographics,” says Goldman, “but across the board, I have found when
lezzies are together, as a group, it can get pretty PC. I think lesbians can be
slightly sensitive and precious about certain things. That is a huge
generalization but I don’t know how else to explain it.”

Julie Goldman

Hurwitz is more succinct, saying, “all lesbians throughout the universe hate sarcasm.”

Sandra Valls had quite a bit to say on taboo topics.

Sandra Valls

Male anatomy may be a blacklisted topic for a lot of lesbian comics, but Valls isn’t afraid to go there:

I love performing for my girls! We love to
laugh! You can’t please everybody. I talk about whatever I feel is funny and if
people don’t like it, they’re free to leave the club or turn off the TV. I’m
not changing my jokes. I mean there are always some uptight lesbians who hate
anything having to do with the penis. I don’t get it. I remember this one show
where I was joking about how I sometimes have penis envy and this woman in the
audience starts making choking noises and yelling, “Ugh! Gross! Disgusting!”
She was really loud and exaggerated. I ignored it at first but she kept on and
on. It was so ridiculous! So I stopped my jokes, looked right at her and I said
something like, “What’s your f–king problem? If you don’t like it, get the f–k
out!” I can’t stand it!’ The rest of the audience clapped and laughed even
harder. Oh and some lesbians hate it when I talk about how much I hate cats.
Whatever. F–k it. I hate cats and that’s that.”

Finally, Clinton thinks a confident comedian can pull off any joke, no matter how high it may rate on the lesbian
disapproval scale: “If you deliver a line with confidence and conviction, I think they’ll go with anything, even if they disagree.”

Look for Part 2 later this month, in which our experts discuss whether to change material for a straight audience, and the topics they personally find to be the funniest.

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