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Have You Experienced the Funny/Pretty Conundrum?

Pretty comediennes often complain that because they're attractive, some people think they can't be funny. And funny women often try to tone down their beauty so that they're judged by their humor, not their looks. Both Phyllis Diller and Lily Tomlin have discussed how they downplayed their appearance to be taken more seriously as comedians, as did Lucille Ball.

But after seeing Amy Poehler at last night's Time party, I like to think we've made some progress. The mom-to-be looks beautiful (and she looks like she's thinking some pretty amusing thoughts, too). Have you ever felt like your looks kept you from being seen as a funny person?


Join The Conversation
leztnerp leztnerp 9 years
"You're funny for a pretty girl. Usually pretty girls aren't funny, because they never had to be."
JaimeLeah526 JaimeLeah526 9 years
I don't know many people who really believe this. Everyone knows that you don't have to be ugly to be funny or smart, you can be the whole package.
austerity austerity 9 years
Cameron Diaz! She's definitely got it down both :)
eshellmoyer eshellmoyer 9 years
I was in a standup class in college and one of my friends said one of the girls in the class would be funnier if she wasn't so pretty right after she said my routine was hilarious. Way to be supportive, I guess... Amy Poehler was hilarious and beautiful all the way through Baby Mama.
leeluvfashion leeluvfashion 9 years
No (because I'm not that funny, my jokes are usually lame,lol.)
scmeggiry scmeggiry 9 years
I believe most people are either funny or pretty. Or neither. But I think Amanda Bynes is hilarious and she's also gorgeous. So is Tina Fey. But it's rare to find both. I think the problem is that pretty women think they are funnier than they are, hence the indignation. And yes, funnier is a word. By the way, I'm not funny at all. As a joke, my roommate used to pat me on the head and say, "Good thing you're pretty." =^D
hayworthgilda hayworthgilda 9 years
this will sound harsher than I mean it to, but by "downplaying" their "looks", don't Lily Tomlin and Phyllis Diller really mean that being super hot wasn't ever going to be in their actor/comedian's bag of tricks? Whereas today's group of well known female comediennes is pretty good-looking. I think there are a lot of interesting dynamics that relate to the funny/pretty scales, but I don't think this posting nails any of them. If a woman's complaining that she's too pretty to be considered funny, then her real problem is that she's not funny. People laugh at funny, period.
foxie foxie 9 years
Agreed, Elmo. This is just so "Don't hate me cuz I'm beautiful!" it makes me want to laugh... not in a good way!
elmosisi elmosisi 9 years
this is a weird post... whats funny is that a woman could think she was sooo gorgeous that people would be so enamored by her looks that whenever she said something funny they would laugh because of the stupor her apperance put them in.. plzz... funny and pretty would just make someone even more attractive
rgrl rgrl 9 years
I agree with cellybean.
austerity austerity 9 years
I understand where this is coming from, but I believe that if the content of what you're saying is truly funny, it won't make much of a difference. There may be some initial prejudice, but once you've proven yourself with a few brilliantly funny/witty remarks, people will adjust their view.
ilanac13 ilanac13 9 years
i'ven ever worried about the funny/pretty piece but i have worried about the pretty/smart thing. people just don't want to think that if you're really attractive and blonde that you can be smart too.
karisaamy karisaamy 9 years
I just middle of the road on both the funny and the pretty spectrum. Kinda pretty not drop dead, and kinda funny not hilarious.
Francoisehardly Francoisehardly 9 years
I don't know if I really think I'm all that great looking, but I think it's lame that a female has to tone down her appearance to be considered funny. It shouldn't even be relavent.
Dana18 Dana18 9 years
When you are funny that makes you more attractive in the first place.
Lovely_1 Lovely_1 9 years
ummm no... I think I can be such a goof sometimes...and I think I am good-looking! My dad was a joker, so I kinda picked it up from him!
brittanyk brittanyk 9 years
I've never had a problem with this. I'm not especially gorgeous or anything. I had a conversation with a guy friend once sort of about this topic. I remember that he basically came to the conclusion that some less attractive girls or average looking girls feel like they have to be funny, just so they can get some attention. An absolutely gorgeous girls really don't have to be funny just because they're so pretty. They don't need anything else to get someone's attention. I'm not sure if I agree with that, but I found it interesting.
lythium99 lythium99 9 years
Yeah, I've felt this one. I've spent a lot of time doing improv work and it can be tough to be both female and attractive. I get pigeonholed in the pretty girl parts when what i really want to do is be a bit wacky, you know? I read something ages ago that stuck with me. "When a man says a women has a good sense of humor, he means she laughs at his jokes." A generalization, to be sure, but more often dead on than I care for.
foxie foxie 9 years
Um... for someone to complain about this seems really self-absorbed and ridiculous.
aimeeb aimeeb 9 years
ALSW ALSW 9 years
Never had to worry about this one.
chellybean chellybean 9 years
Most women I know who are funny AND pretty seem to seem less pretty because they're funny....not really sure why it's always worked like that.
Cassandra57 Cassandra57 9 years
Yeah, this has never been a problem for me. What God gave me in humor and brains was deducted from the beauty column. I am not only funny, but funny looking. :true:
emalove emalove 9 years
No, never had to worry about this one.
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