Tina Fey Reveals the Difference Between Male and Female Comedians


On the heels of a 30 Rock episode that took on everything from Jezebel to Sarah Silverman in a brilliant (and hilarious) send-up of the eternal “women in comedy” controversies, Tina Fey has a wonderful new essay in The New Yorker about her time at Saturday Night Live. In addition to a laugh-out-loud funny section enumerating what she learned from Lorne Michaels (“Producing is about discouraging creativity”), Fey enlightens us to the real difference between male and female comedy writers. Learn the disgusting truth in an excerpt after the jump, and then make sure you click over to The New Yorker to read the whole, well-worth-the-pay-wall piece.

People sometimes ask me about the difference between male and female comedians. Do men and women find different things funny? I usually attempt an answer that is so diplomatic and boring that the person will just walk away. Something like “There’s a tremendous amount of overlap in what men and women think is funny. And, I hate to generalize, but I would say that at the far ends of the spectrum men may prefer visceral, absurd elements, like sharksand robots, while women are more drawn to character-based jokes and verbal idiosyncrasies.” Have you walked away yet? Here’s the truth: There is an actual difference between male and female comedy writers, and I’m going to reveal it now. The men urinate in cups. And sometimes jars. One of the first times I walked into the office of my old boss Steve Higgins, he was eating an apple and smoking a cigarette simultaneously. (When I started at “S.N.L.,” you could still smoke in an office building. I might not be young.) I had been there only a few weeks, and Steve had been very encouraging and supportive. I forget what we were talking about, but I went to get a reference book off a high shelf in his office. When I reached to move a paper cup that was in front of it, Steve jumped up. “Don’t touch that,” he said. “Hang on.” He grabbed the cup, and a couple of others like it around the office, and took them out of the room to dump them. “Oh, yeah, that’s pee in those cups,” my friend Paula Pell later informed me. I could not believe it.