There's this word that's recently become more pervasive in the American lexicon and it's pretty gross and terrible. The word is "chucklefucker" and it refers to people — primarily women — who have sex with comedians. These chucklefuckers supposedly hang around stand-up clubs or bars that host comedy nights just thinking and hoping and wishing and praying that some comic, fresh off of a great set about how a lot of dudes in the audience are wearing plaid tonight, will saddle up next to them at the bar and invite them home, back to their hotel room or maybe into the bar bathroom — the one with no lock that never has toilet paper — to make dirty sweaty love, talk about their feelings and maybe even cry a bit.
To be fair, chucklefucker does not at its core refer solely to women, but, if we look at the demographic of the comedy community, which is a traditionally a very male space, I think it's fair to say that women are the ones primarily being labeled with the epithet, which is kind of bullshit. Sure, while there are definitely people out there who do find themselves hooking up with a lot of comedians for the sake of hooking up with comedians, labeling women who hang around with or date comics as chucklefuckers does no one any favors. If anything, it's just a new way to devalue and diminish the presence of women in comedy.
Consuming comedy has always been a big past time of mine and, since I was a little kid and would stay up late with my parents watching the standup specials of Ellen DeGeneres or Janeane Garofalo, writing and performing comedy has been a major part of my longterm career goals. Luckily for me, by the time I actually began actively pursuing these career goals, many of the barriers that women have faced in the industry were already knocked out of the way for me. A woman had been the head writer at SNL, women were some of the biggest working standups around and a woman, Amy Poehler to be exact, was the cofounder of the Upright Citizen Brigade where I decided to learn to write sketches and perform improv. It's also worth mentioning that my classes were generally made up of at least 50% women.
When it comes to female performers, comedy is not the hostile industry that it once was. Yes, it's still predominantly male and there definitely is sexism, but I think a lot of the boys who make up this notorious boys' club have come around and realized how much they benefit from the presence of a female voice. I have received some really wonderful support from male comedy writers and performers, all with a similar message: "We want you around."
Which is why this "chucklefucker" shit is such a major step back. It's a two pronged offense because it both devalues women's involvement in the community and is cruelly judgmental of someone's sexual choices. While I've had some great experiences performing, I also can't count the number of times that I've watched improv teams where the one lone girl performer is consistently forced into playing a prostitute or a stripper or the boring date who only gets to react to all of the crazy (read: stupid) stuff that her male stage partner is doing.
"Chucklefucker" is also irritating for those of us who like interacting with and hanging around comics simply because comedy is what we are into and like to talk about. There are few things more disappointing than when you congratulate a male performer on a good show and he immediately assumes that you're a comedy groupie who is just trying to hit on him. Dude, you just joked for 10 minutes about the time you farted in your roommate's mouth. I laughed, I appreciated your timing, but it did not make me want to pork you.
Then there are women who do date (or occasionally pork) comedians, but the label "chucklefucker" is still needlessly derogatory. More often than not, you date the people who are a part of your crowd and this goes double for people in comedy because, unlike with a recreational softball league or whatever, people who do standup or improv tend to be a bunch of obsessive weirdos who spend their every waking moment performing or talking about performing. Of course, they date and fuck each other. No one outside the community would be nearly so understanding about all the times you screamed out "Del Close" when you came.
It's like you can't win. Go after wealthy athletes or investment bankers and you're a shallow bitch. Go after neurotic, educated and funny oddballs who spend all of their evenings telling jokes into a microphone or writing sketches about people with dicks for noses and you're not a friend, you're not a fellow creator, not a girlfriend or source of emotional support — no, you walking vagina, are a chucklefucker.
Jerry Lewis would be so proud.