Let me tell you something: It's exhausting being funny all the time. But, supposedly, a sense of humor is the number one turn-on for women, so therefore I must be funny ... all the time. And if you think I could take a day off once in a while, check out my receding hairline and the "freshman fifteen" I gain every four years just for fun and then decide if any woman would date me without the jokes.
"Self-deprecation should probably stop when it's all too believable," says comedian Myq Kaplan, who I talked to after I wrote that opening paragraph. I wanted to know more about when, how and where to make women laugh, so I asked him a few questions on the matter. If you'd like to be funny with the ladies, too, follow Kaplan's advice. Because as he says, "I'm pretty great with women, let's say. Why not? You're not going to research it."
What's a good ice breaker joke?
MYQ: Go to help your date have a seat, and then pull the chair away. Or don't do that, but talk about how it would be funny if you DID do that. Make sure to highlight that you didn't actually do it. And remember, don't actually do it.
What's the perfect date setting to be funny? Where shouldn't you go if you want to be able to show off your sense of humor?
MYQ: A comedy club is the perfect place to NOT demonstrate your sense of humor unless you're a professional comedian and you're inviting your date to see you perform, in which case it is absolutely the perfect place to demonstrate your sense of humor. But it can be a great place to learn about your date's sense of humor a bit. I don't necessarily recommend it on a first date, but after you know each other a little, and won't be judging each other's reactions or lack of reactions to jokes about gender, race, sexuality, etc. And remember, just because your date laughs at a joke about murder, doesn't mean they are a murderer. They could be, but you have to look for additional signs.
What, in general, are good topics for humor to win over a female audience?
MYQ: I used to do crowd warm-up for an MTV show that taped every weekday at 3 p.m. in Times Square, where the audience was predominantly teenage girls. Of course, winning over female children might be different than winning over female adults, and you should probably focus on the latter. Certainly, one way to do it would be to talk about gender relations in an honest, fair, reasonable, meaningful way that is also hilarious. Can you do that? Sometimes on stage I'll make a joke that references some historical or current-day societal inequality, as though I am in support of it, and then purposefully backtrack to indicate that I am NOT in support of it. Make sure you do those in the right order. Also, it helps for me to sometimes point out that I am 1) on the side of females making progress, 2) basically a lesbian trapped in a man's body, and 3) small enough that most women could take me in a fight. Or in a not-fight. This might only work if you're small enough, but give it a shot!
Are there differences between what guys think is funny and what girls find funny?
MYQ: Every human being is a snowflake, an individual flower with specific tastes and characteristics, such that classifying them by a larger category such as gender would be pointless. That sentence, many men would find funny and many women would not. But seriously, folks, in today's day and age, with the existence of however many sexual orientations there are - transgendered people, alternate relationship configurations, and all kinds of changes in people's concept of gender - who is to really say what a "guy" is and what a "girl" is? This is from a new play I'm working on, a remake of "Guys and Dolls," called "Somes and Others."
There are a lot of Playboy models that seem to date comedians. Why is that?
Because Playboy models are inherently wonderful people who are not at all superficial, and simply see deep into the heart and soul of a prospective partner to choose a (play)mate. Also, comedians are all pure of heart and soul. It's the one place where life is completely fair (and if any models are reading this and falling in love with THIS comedian because of his words, so be it).
What experiences of your own can you share where your sense of humor was helpful with the ladies?
Time for a sincere answer. Seriously! I was married in my mid-twenties (to a lady), and during that time we were very much in love and I was not looking to take advantage of any other lady opportunities. So, one night before a show, I was chatting with (as opposed to chatting UP) three female audience members, and I was just being myself, joking around, not flirting, just having a good time. And I remember one of the three was really enjoying everything I said, laughing, having a great time. The other two were not, I guess? I blocked that part out, maybe. Anyway, I realized that because I was just being myself, and not trying to put on airs and do anything or be anything that wasn't genuinely me, the women who would be naturally reactive to who I was would make themselves known, and potentially flock to me. So I could flock them.
See now, some women might not like that joke. Men, too. But most people WILL enjoy my assessment that no one would like it. So, if there are women out there who enjoy comedic meta-analysis, look no further. Or look further, but then realize you can't do any better and then come back, or if that seems like too much work, just stop here, lazy. The point is, be yourself, and you won't have to worry about which self you were being, which lies you were telling, which front you were putting forth. You might not get EVERY partner you want, but you'll get every one who wants you. And isn't that enough? No? Then I might not be able to help you.
When should the funny stop? Jokes in bed?
MYQ: There are no absolute rules. Humor can be positive in any situation, be it during sex, at a funeral, or while having sex at a funeral. You just have to make sure to know your audience. Feel out every situation to know whether it's a place where you can make a joke about "feeling out." Otherwise, it's your funeral.
How about when meeting parents? What kind of humor wins them over?
MYQ: Definitely jokes about having sex at funerals.
Myq Kaplan was a finalist on "Last Comic Standing" and has appeared on "The Tonight Show," "The Late Show with David Letterman," "Comedy Central Presents," "Conan," and many more. To see where he'll be performing next, click here.