The Laughter Ceiling – The Last Frontier.

A Sydney corporation decided it was time to have a woman on their board so they interviewed 3 very attractive women – a blonde, a brunette and a redhead.

After the interview and unbeknownst to the women they anonymously put $10,000 into their bank accounts and a month after re-interviewed them.

Each was asked what they did with the $10K:

The Blonde – “I knew it wasn’t mine so I just left it there to see what would happen”

The Brunette – “I went on a shopping spree.”

The Redhead – “I put it out on the short term money market. I’ve made $1500 which I’ll keep. You can have your $10 grand back.”

Which one got the job?


This is a great joke – well structured, topical and parodies an old format using Englishman/Irishman/Australian.

It is also a women’s joke.

  • Watch a woman tell it a group of women and there will be loud guffaws.
  • Watch a man tell it to a group of men and there will wry grins, smug laughter and perhaps a “quite right too” topping comment.
  • Watch a woman tell it to a group of men and there will be silence
  • Watch a woman tell any joke to a group of men and there will be silence.

Which begs the questions…….


and, if not


Let’s consider the place humour/laughter plays in our adult lives…..

  1. Men use humour to gain power in groups, they are not about to give it away by laughing at a woman’s joke.
  2.  Possessing a high level sense of humour is empowering and identifies its possessor as a high status individual, particularly in the workplace.
  3.  Bantering, topping and wisecracking are all signifiers of a relaxed and confident individual.
  4. When a group laughs at a humourous quip it bonds the group and grants high status to the “quipper”. i.e. everyone has listened and approved by laughing and the “laughers” are now a group.
  5. To tell a joke or anecdote is very assertive. It requires the listeners to focus from beginning to end. If a women tells a joke men will tend to become competitive and interrupt endeavouring to spoil the joke, threatened by this high status behaviour from a woman.
  6. Additionally, in order to keep the female’s status in check, men will generally not laugh at a female’s joke/anecdote, “hanging her out to dry”. This can be embarrassing and humiliating and not worth the risk.
  7. It is not “ladylike” or “nice” to be a smart-arse, wisecracking, funny person.
  8. Research shows that men do not find funny women attractive. Whilst they like to have funny women as friends they do not want to partner them….too much competition?!

In business/workplace humour is used to:

a) Get along
b) Bond
c) Build teams
d) Advance status

Women are precluded from using this tool because:

a) They have not learned how or…..
b) They have not practiced and refined the skill
c) Men will not listen
d) Men will not laugh
e) They do not want to appear “not nice”.
f) They do not want to be considered unattractive by men.

Is it surprising, therefore, that:

1. There are very few female stand up comics?
2. Women are under-represented on boards and in the managerial level of the work force?

Women are discouraged from using humour, yet are expected to support male humour by laughing in the right places. They are thereby contributing to an increase in the status of the male joke teller whilst not being able to use this tool to advance their own position.

One of the female stand up comedians in the cast of WILD WOMEN was told by a male – “Hey you’re very funny for a female!”

This is a very subtle, yet powerful, form of discrimination, but it is beyond comment. You cannot bring a charge of…”he didn’t laugh at my joke” against a man, and yet this behaviour is very discriminatory.

It is not surprising, therefore, that women do not use humour in the workplace, and are accused of “taking themselves too seriously”.

They have not been able to use humour to “get along” and they have had to work very hard for the past 40 years to be taken seriously at all.

There is neither incentive nor room for them to use humour as a tool in the workplace. So now they are vilified for being too serious.

For evidence consider this joke:

PERSON 1 – How many feminists does it take to change a light bulb?

PERSON 2 (Female) – That’s not funny!!!!

WILD WOMEN OF COMEDY shows are significant for the women because they:

  1. support a group of women who defy stereotypes and are very funny
  2. demonstrate that women’s issues can be very funny
  3. provide a role model for all women that they need not be afraid of being very funny
  4. provide encouragement to women to trust their funny bone and use humour in their workplace, wisecracking the glass ceiling by being very funny
  5. provide uncontestable evidence that funny women can have a very healthy sex life. (Funny women can have their cock and eat it too!!!)

Just before I close, let’s revisit that opening joke with the genders reversed.

A cosmetics company decided it was time to employ a man. 3 Men were interviewed…etc…etc.

Which one got the job?

The one with the biggest cock!!

Doesn’t work, does it?

That’s because women don’t go round all day checking out the size of men’s cocks!!!


c. Gillian Levett – Producer Wild Women of Comedy