Not so very long ago, in 2007 it was, Christopher Hitchens wrote "Why Women Aren't Funny," a sourpuss essay that argued gals lack a funnybone, an assertion almost as preposterous Freud's hypothesis that women suffer from penis envy (which, as everyone knows, is a male malady). And then, last weekend "Bridesmaids" starring Kristen Wiig and Maya Rudolph, made $24 million. Women are officially funny now.
So when did they ever stop making us laugh?
I won't be defense attorney here. Or use the lame excuse of Bridesmaids' success to say that as of Friday May 13, 2011 women became funny again. Instead, I submit Exhibits A through J as proof of Why Women Are Funny:
Exhibit A: Mae West calculating Cary Grant's assets while explaining her hobby in She Done Him Wrong: "It was a tossup whether I went out for diamonds or sang in the choir. The choir lost."
B: Claudette Colbert to a snide woman in Midnight: "The hat's a dream on you. Does something for your face. Gives you a chin."
C: Barbara Stanwyck, vamping Henry Fonda aboard an oceanliner in The Lady Eve: "They say a moonlit deck is a woman's business office.
D: Judy Holliday, explaining the pitfalls of amateur theater in The Solid Gold Cadillac: "Don't play Shakespeare; it's so tiring. They don't let you sit unless you're a king."
E: Goldie Hawn, aglow after an assignation with Armand Assante in Private Benjamin: Now I know what I've been faking all these years!"
F: Diane Keaton, puzzled by husband Steve Martin's espousal of old-timey family values: "What is it? 1958?"
G: Mia Farrow, in Crimes and Misdemeanors, swatting off the advances of Alan Alda, who tells her that if she's lucky she can have his body: "Wouldn't you rather leave it to science?"
H: Queen Latifah, fed up at the nagging of a bony woman in Bringing Down the House: "I'm gonna kick the bulimia out of your [butt]!
I: Emma Stone, branded the bad girl in Easy A: "The rumors of my promiscuity have been greatly exaggerated."
J: Kristen Wiig, the passive/aggressive boss in Knocked Up, ordering Katherine Heigl to lose weight without using actionable language: " We would just like it if you go home and step on the scale, and write down how much you weigh, and subtract it by like, 20."
K: Frances McDormand, free-spirited mother of uptight Christian Bale in Laurel Canyon, perplexed by his inability to go with the flow: "Who plans on a change of plan?"
L: Tina Fey, supercompetent and flustered wife in Date Night, told by husband Steve Carell that they're being pursued by criminals who think they're in possession of an electronic accessory: "Don't judge me. But what's a flash drive?"