The guys over at AsapThought, the Youtube channel that describes itself as “Science with a social conscience,” posted a new video that thoughtfully explores the idea of whether gay men are funny and why there are arguably no mainstream gay male comedians.
The video looks at several factors from a sociological point of view to account for what it presents as a historical lack. Obviously there are gay male comedians, from David Sedaris to Simon Amstell to Graham Chapman, but video narrator Gregory Brown (who is gay himself) makes the argument that comedy can be a straight-white-boys’ club that gets easy laughs by othering people. He points at the recent movie Sausage Party, which was written and directed by straight male comedians, and talks about how their humor could have been more nuanced had they included more diversity among the writers.
The video, which has been viewed over 20,000 times in its first 12 hours online, also examines the way that being gay has been perceived as humorous historically, and how gay men of decades past made concerted efforts to be taken seriously, which may have tempered their perception as being funny.
All in all this video does a nice job of examining the issue from several sides, though it doesn’t explore the idea of audience accountability in determining whether something is popular. In the end, the video makes a plea for more diversity in comedy. It would be nice to have a gay male comedian as prolific as Rosie or Ellen. Hopefully we are moving toward a time where diverse voices will be celebrated by the masses.