I used to date this guy, a working comic, and he had this undiscriminating adage that goes “funny is funny”. It’s to argue against those who unfairly criticize a comedian or comedic actor for not being funny because they have some inherent quality or disposition that may distract from or stifle their actual comedic abilities. For instance, sexist douchebags like to say “women aren’t funny” because having a vagina unquestionably just fucking makes it so.
Or how about this one: “Gorgeous/attractive/extremely good-looking people can’t be in/do comedy”. But this one I can sort of get behind. Having striking good looks while trying to break into comedy or trying to be identified as a comedian or comedic actor is like having a disability. But hey, they can try, right? Just like Paralympic athletes try.
No one’s ever had to make this argument. Because picture a comedian in your head. Was it a guy? Obviously. Was he sad-looking? Yes. Did he look like a truck ran over him and subsequently someone decided to pour garbage right on top of him? Of course. And he naturally looks this way, right? Well, he was pushed out WITH garbage on top of his head, so yes. Good-looking people— of the Minka Kelly/Jesse Williams kind— don’t enter comedy. Good-looking people know that their role is to exhibition and subject their good looks to our unabashed scrutiny for pleasure or contempt. They know not to upset the natural order of things.
Comedy is reserved for garbage-head sad bastards (inclusive of both genders, do not pull that shit on me).
This “good-looking people can’t be in comedy” argument is only being made because there exists one comedic actor who unintentionally forces the argument to be made and is challenging it….
…and that’s Aisha Tyler.
Aisha Tyler is really, really, ridiculously good-looking. I can’t think of anyone coming up with a good enough argument against her being objectively attractive. Symmetrical like a Rorschach butterfly, having negative-20 pores, lush, full lips that you kind of want to bounce on like a trampoline, white, straight pearlies, sleepy, sexy eyes you can just drown in, and a body that seems like it’s depriving the Victoria’s Secret runway of something good. I guess this is me unintentionally coming out about having a shameless lady crush on Aisha Tyler. Hot to the eyes, hot to the touch (probably), Aisha fucking Tyler.
Before Archer happened for her, about 2% of people knew that Aisha Tyler was professionally funny. Aisha Tyler was and is currently a potty-mouthed, touring stand-up comedian (I learned this when Googling “black Angelina Jolie” after watching Friends). After learning this about Tyler, I worked out in my head that her comedic prowess was painfully under-utilized on her Friends stint as she really was just used as another gorgeous prop to underscore again how fucking stupid and clumsy the character Ross is and his embarrassing pursuit of Tyler’s character. This is a damn shame as Aisha Tyler is objectively funny, but she was written in such a humiliatingly clichéd vein — of COURSE she chose the meat-headed but the better-looking, smooth-operating soap opera has-been, Joey. The writers never gave her a chance to bust out her legit comedic chops— on a sitcom. That makes about as much sense as hiring Chef Gordon Ramsey to only put out breadsticks for your dinner party.
But I just don’t know how it would’ve turned out if Aisha Tyler was otherwise allowed to play somebody funny. Would it have been convincing/believable, given what she looks like? Do Tyler’s looks stand in the way of her funny?
Most of Hollywood’s mainstream professionally funny women (like, who’ve intentionally and very purposefully built their career on funny/comedy… not fucking Mila Kunis, who says one single, facile, vulgar-for-the-sake-of-being-vulgar thing and ALLLLLLLL THE BOYS LAUGH/CUM THEMSELVES), usually are funny first and attractive second. And they are:
——let’s just say, lots of SNL women, past and present
I don’t care who deserves or doesn’t deserve to be on this list, let’s just work with the above for now. I believe that the above-mentioned women are considered genuinely funny women. They hit all the right notes at the right time and make us all shoot milk out of our noses. And I believe they’re all funny first and foremost, and MAY make Maxim’s Top 100 second. I don’t believe you could assume it’s the other way around for any of them (not to offend them, they’re all still beautiful, sexy bitches).
Aisha Tyler will continually make Maxim’s Top 100. But realistically, she could NEVER be suitably casted to play a bumbling, food-stained Liz Lemon archetype, or even at best, Veep’s bitchy, biting Selina Meyer, where Tyler is the right amount of bitchy, but looks too much the part of second-in-command where second-in-command here is actually jaded and discontent.
A good move, but seemingly a sad one, Tyler was finally able to fully stretch out her 6’0” crass-funny self— by hiding behind a microphone, isolated in a recording box. And even then, her looks were barely disassociated from her funny because Tyler IS inarguably Lana Kane, a character who has us all wrongfully fantasizing about bedding a cartoon character like the Jessica Rabbit days of yore, nevermind that she awesomely popularized the “NNNNOOOOPE!” conversation ender.
WILL Aisha Tyler ever join the ranks of the women above? Is she too pretty for this club? Do her looks mute her comedy? Is she seemingly less funny or seemingly not as funny because she’s so attractive? Is she only actually funny to the vision impaired? Does she need a heinous bowl cut and bad teeth to be taken seriously as a comedian? Is she only a ‘comedian’ by job title? Can strikingly gorgeous ever coexist with funny?
Funny is funny, but what if you’re Aisha Tyler?
I’m the last person to tell a woman what to do and how to look because we leave that job for better-knowing males and partriarchy-influenced females, fucking duh!? But I WANT to see Aisha Tyler transcend her superficial barrier and be all-the-way, balls-out, L-O-FUCKING-L funny, so side-splittingly funny that we forget that she’s so striking. And it may mean that girlfriend gets a gross make-under before this happens.
Please consider it, Aisha Tyler. You deserve to be taken seriously as someone so far from serious.