Philadelphia Metropolis


Make 'Em Laugh, Make 'Em Laugh

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By Rachel Semigran

I am single. I spent five years in college with nothing more than a few awkward drinks and "hook-ups" that got me nowhere. I'm sure there are plenty of reasons (excuses) for my chronic single-ness. It could have been my lack of enthusiasm for the Drexel crowd. Light-wash denim shorts and tube socks combined with greasy pony-ailed hair just didn't do it for me.

Or it could be that God has spited me and placed a giant neon sign above my head that says "Run away! She'll chop your balls off!" only visible to those I find myself even mildly attracted to.

There is, however, one answer that holds up. As oO of my best guy friends once told me at a party, "Guys don't date you because you're too funny." At the time it seemed ludicrous, but it buzzed around in my head, like a pesky fly caught between two windowpanes. The more I thought about it, the more I realized it was true.

Like any rational human being, I blame my parents. The first movie I ever recall was a Stanley Kramer film, It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World and my dad's favorite party trick was teaching me to do a Jackie Mason/ Jackie Gleason impersonation. Seriously. Thanks, Dad. Suffice it to say, my sense of humor developed at a very early age. While most little girls at the age of 6 or 7 cooed over the Tanners on Full House I remember thinking, "No one acts like that!" Absurdity seemed to hold more truth to me, even as a child. There was, however, real value in those experiences. I learned that making people laugh, namely making adults laugh was very powerful. They treated me less like a kid and more like one of them.

Comedy soon turned into the greatest coping mechanism for social awkwardness and the brutal pains of growing up - it also happened to be the cause of my teenage heartache. Being able to make people laugh and poke fun at myself kept me from getting picked on. It was one of the best shields for utter insecurity and helped me to relate to people way out of my social ranking.

For instance, my next-door neighbor was just so cool. He could skateboard and knew how to play the guitar. I liked books and was in nearly every sense of the word uncool. I quickly learned that watching the same movies and laughing at the same jokes as my neighbor and all of his friends got me in. I became an honorary member of Boy World. The biggest problem was after a few years I wanted to just be seen as a girl. I thought one of them eventually had to fall in love with me. Being on the same page had to be a sure fire way to win them over. It wasn't. It got me friends, lots and lots of friends.

Things sort of changed when I got to college. I was a member of the Drexel Football Team Improv Comedy for four years. The confidence it gave me made up for a lot of high school baggage. Now, I never feel more powerful than when I can make an entire room laugh. I take pride in being a funny woman, namely because in many ways it's unexpected.

We like to think in our modern sense that us guys and gals are all on the same level. Sometimes after shows, men and women alike will tell me, "You're really funny for a girl!" Some days it's insulting, other days it's delightful.  Regardless, it reminds me that not everyone is expected or even allowed to be funny. As I learned growing up, becoming a part of that comedy world meant learning how to play with the boys and saying goodbye to being seen as anything other than "one of the guys."

Making people laugh is something I can't live without, it's how I breathe. I've been told before that men "love a woman with a sense of humor." When speaking to fellow comediennes, they have all responded with a resounding "bullshit." I boil it town to a power thing. Men are supposed to be the comedians and women are supposed to laugh at their jokes and make them feel important. So maybe my comedy is the reason I'm single, but it's not something I'm willing to compromise. It's also something I know is changing (Thank you, Tina Fey). 

The last guy I went on a date with told me he thought my sense of humor was attractive, even sexy. He hasn't called in three weeks.



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