There’s a section of Esquire called “Funny* Joke(s) From Beautiful Women” that bothers me. It isn’t the topless women in lingerie—it’d be silly to begrudge the men’s mag of its staple editorial food. It’s not even that they forgot to include Sarah Silverman for good measure.
What gets me is the asterisk in the section title: the one after “funny”:
*Esquire cannot guarantee that this joke will be funny to everyone.
What is Esquire saying? Are they pulling a Christopher Hitchens on us? Is this a nod to the notion that beautiful people don’t need to be funny? In one retrospective of the series, they describe the women’s comedic stabs as “bold attempts at humor.” (Read: “Look how darling they are when they try.”)
Granted, many of the jokes are, well, not so good. For instance:
- Son: “Dad, what’s the difference between confident and confidential?”
Dad: “Hmm. You are my son, and of that I am confident. Your friend Timmy is also my son. That’s confidential.”—Aimee Garcia
- Question: How can you tell the dumbest actress working on a movie?
- A cruise ship passes a small desert island. Everyone watches as a ratty-looking bearded man runs out on the beach and starts shouting and waving his hands.
“Who’s that?” asks one of the passengers.
“I have no idea,” replies the captain. “But every year we sail past and he goes nuts.”—Jessica Stroup
- What do you call a lesbian dinosaur? A lickalotopus.—Anna Friel
Esquire is, ostensibly, just covering for their judgment of what’s funny. But isn’t it a given that humor is subjective? And would they have added the same disclaimer for, say, a profile of Zach Galifianakis? (Answer: no.)
I’m torn in writing this post because A) it potentially shows a complete lack of humor on my part—yes, I’m a woman—and B) because maybe Esquire just wanted a cheeky way to stuff some more beautiful people between their virtual covers. So I concede that perhaps I’m just reading far, far too much into this.
But then again we live in a world where Vanity Fair can publish a statement like this:
There are more terrible female comedians than there are terrible male comedians, but there are some impressive ladies out there. Most of them, though, when you come to review the situation, are hefty or dykey or Jewish, or some combo of the three.
So help me out, readers. Is Esquire condescending more than usual? Or is this just my “bold attempt” at social commentary?