Maria Shehata in theFword:
“Do you think women are funny?” Yawn. I am a female stand-up comedian with 11 years experience, and I get asked this in almost every interview. It’s a topic that has been discussed ad nauseam, with documentaries, news articles and Christopher Hitchens’ masterpiece of controversy, the article ’Why Women Aren’t Funny.’ in a 2007 issue of Vanity Fair. In the USA, it’s no longer the debate it used to be. The list of women who disprove this notion keeps getting longer and longer to the point that it’s silly to even bother listing it anymore. Female comedians in the USA have been around long enough to undo all those cognitive schemas in our heads that it’s a man’s world and there’s no place for a woman in it. Women are funny too, and we will continue to see this over and over and over again.
…Asya Yavitz, a female comedian in Moscow, says on stage she plays the role of dumb girl, even though she’s head of her IT department at work, echoing Phyllis Diller in the 1950s playing herself down so she wouldn’t be a threatening woman in the eyes of her audience. “Unfortunately the majority of our audiences are Russian and not foreigners, so you have to joke as a woman, and not as a man.” When I asked her to elaborate she said, “You can say you’re head of a transnational corporation, but you should admit/joke on HOW you got this job, or that you are a blonde who understands nothing … female stupidness is obligatory, even if you’re head of your IT department.”