Men are funnier than women, researchers have claimed.
They looked at the results of various studies in which people were asked to rate men and women’s humour – without knowing their sex first.
Researchers found that 63% of men were funnier than the average woman.
The study looked at normal people rather than professional comedians, but Marina Bye, one half of the comedy duo Siblings, says the study feels “unnecessary”.
“With comedy that’s the last thing you want,” she told Radio 1 Newsbeat.
She worries it could put women off getting into comedy.
“You want the worst and the best comedians to try because you never know. This study will cripple bravery.
“I really think it’s unnecessary to do this study. They could’ve done something progressive.”
Researchers from Aberystwyth University and the University of North Carolina analysed 28 studies which looked at how funny around 5,000 people were.
They wanted to see whether the stereotype that men are funnier than women was true.
Writing in Psychology Today, lead researcher Dr Gil Greengross said: “This stereotype is shared by both men and women – but of course, just because it exists does not mean it is true.”
In many of the studies they looked at, men and women were asked to write a funny caption to accompany a cartoon – and then independent judges rated their funniness without knowing their gender.
Dr Gil said the results found that “to the best of our knowledge, on average, men appear to have higher humour production ability than women”.
Speaking to Radio 1 Newsbeat on Tuesday, he added: “To clarify, the whole thing is not about ‘women are not funny’… obviously there are some very funny stand-up comedians and I know many female comedians, some personally.
“Sara Pascoe, for example, she’s a great comedian and she’s probably funnier than 99% of all males in the world… it’s just that on average we find there’s a difference.”
He says evidence suggests humour plays a “major role in mating”.
The lecturer said women tend to look for a sense of humour in a partner as it is “strongly correlated with intelligence”.
“Men, on the other hand, prefer women who laugh at their humour.
“That means that over our evolutionary history, men likely had to compete harder with other men to impress women with their sense of humour.”
Maddy Bye, who along with her sister Marina make up the comedy duo Siblings, says she finds the study “frustrating but also funny”.
“Being in the comedy world I don’t think we’ve done a gig in the last three years where there wasn’t an equal amount of men and women on the bill.
“There are so many amazing male and female comedy shows. I don’t know why they’re trying to make it a scientific fact that women aren’t funny.”
Maddy says being a female in comedy is “better than it was before” but it’s still a “man’s world”.
She recalls handing out fliers for their show at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and a woman said it looked good but her boyfriend doesn’t “think women are funny”.
“The stereotype does exist but our way of dealing with it is to just do comedy.”
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