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Like a Fish Needs a… Something.

Ladies! Not finding much to laugh at lately? Don’t worry: it is not your fault, but the fault of your addled, feeble lady-brain!

Yes, ladies, SCIENCE has come through for us once more by proving conclusively that humor – like sex, beer, rational thought, and monster trucks – is essentially male. A Scientist (one Sam Shuster by name!) has determined that Humor is caused by male aggression which is in turn caused by all the angry man-chemicals that are floating around in men’s brains all the time. Women, not having these man-chemicals, do not make jokes, Sam Shuster has discovered!

He has discovered this by riding his unicycle around and keeping track of the people who make fun of him. Just thought you should know.

Anyway, it was mostly dudes who made fun of him! To his face. They said hilarious things such as “have you lost a wheel,” thereby proving unequivocally that men are the more humorous and witty gender. I will admit, however, that I don’t find the concept of unicycles inherently funny, unless people crash into things with them and die, and that this is probably due to my vagina.

It’s a troubling thought: what if there is an entire category of hilarious cycles that I am unable to laugh at? Am I simply not angry or aggressive enough to participate in bike-themed humor? Which of the following bikes is more inherently humorous? I present to you the following reader survey:



PROS: One wheel is much larger than another, and also the people who ride them would probs have monocles and knickers and top hats.
CONS: Not really around any more.


PROS: Once associated with teen rebellion, now ridden by gross old dads who want to prove they can still Get Crazy.
CONS: Not actually bicycles.


PROS: They are quite popular with the kids these days. Like the text messaging, and the baggy pants! Also they often don’t have brakes, which could potentially lead to some good-natured ribbing. “Oh, I just finished building my new fixed-gear bicycle,” they’d say. “No you didn’t; you forgot to add brakes, which are a commonly accepted feature of most bicycles,” you’d say. That could be funny, right?
CONS: No, it couldn’t. I’ve tried it. You just sound lame.

PROS: Ha ha ha ha ha, DORK.
CONS: NONE! Ha ha ha ha, what an awesome bike, FOR DORKS.
Yes. No vagina, however powerful, can resist this essential truth.

[UPDATE: Oh, snap! It would appear that I’ve been played! Commenter Blue Epiphany alerts me – thank you, Blue! You win today’s Officially Smarter Than the Person Who Writes This Blog Award – that the British Medical Journal article upon which this article was based was, in fact, A HILARIOUS JOKE, which was subsequently reported as a real study. In my defense, I found the link in the Twitter feed of an actual professional writer – who writes about science, even! – and the BRAIN MYSTERIES article to which he linked was not, apparently, in on the joke. So, my question to you is: the fact that this FAKE HUMOR STUDY is no more or less ridiculous than any of the zillions of other “man-chemicals make men better for X reason” studies I have read and/or blogged about, and was perhaps reported as Real News for that very reason: FUNNY? (Y/N)]


  1. Eleniel wrote:

    All he proved was that men are more likely to shout assholey things at strangers, which I could have told him all about from my experiences riding in the car with my boyfriend and his pals, and saved him the trouble of having to learn to ride a goddamn unicycle.

    Monday, April 13, 2009 at 5:47 pm | Permalink
  2. snobographer wrote:

    I think the penny-earthing is potentially funny, especially if paired with the monocle and top hat. I imagine people who ride them would fall over at stop lights, because the seat’s way up high on that big-ass front wheel, so the rider’s feet couldn’t reach the ground, and that could be funny, as long as no one gets hurt (my flower-like lady-sensibilities prevent me from laughing at the suffering of others, but only to a point).
    The recumbent totally wins though.

    Monday, April 13, 2009 at 5:57 pm | Permalink
  3. Anonymous wrote:

    The penny-farthing, by far.

    By the way, I think I love your website! 😀

    Monday, April 13, 2009 at 6:40 pm | Permalink
  4. Jottie wrote:

    My first thought was that this Sam Shuster character is making me think of Hitchens a la that god-awful Vanity Fair article a few years back, and just as my blood was all set to boil, you commenced with the hilarity & left me basking in the post-giggle-endorphin glow. Thank you ever so!

    Monday, April 13, 2009 at 8:02 pm | Permalink
  5. laureafinda wrote:

    I am new to your blog and oh god I just had to tell you how fantastic it is. Unfortunately, it is being fantastic while me and my stupid lady brain are supposed to be writing another fifteen pages in twelve hours, but I CANNOT STOP READING (and loling in the library to which I’m not supposed to have after-hours access).

    Monday, April 13, 2009 at 10:02 pm | Permalink
  6. masagoroll wrote:

    I just read excerpts from that unicylcing study article to my mom over the phone and laughed so hard tears came out of my eyes. I can’t believe THAT was his conclusion for his very scientific unicycle experiment!

    Monday, April 13, 2009 at 11:42 pm | Permalink
  7. Anonymous wrote:

    Oh wow, I am suffering from a serious case of the giggles right now. Maybe we should direct Mr. Shuster to your site and see if he reconsiders after reading a few of your posts. I’m new here, too (btw) and I must also gush all over you and tell you how great your posts are.

    I know exactly what you’re talking about and it really chapped my ass too. He did a video response on youtube to the angry letters he got about the article in which he said that women that are funny are only funny because they’re imitating men and that they’re just a bunch of bulldikes, anyway. He also said that women DO have a sense of humor and are capable of getting jokes and laughing at them, but apparently (for some reason)still aren’t capable of telling them. Makes perfect sense, I know.

    Tuesday, April 14, 2009 at 12:33 am | Permalink
  8. blue epiphany wrote:

    Sorry to tell you, but the general consensus is that this article was a joke. It appeared a couple years ago in the Christmas edition of the British Medical Journal, their “spoof” issue, and was written by a retired dermatologist.
    Although the funny thing is, all these news people who treated it like it was real news…almost like they have a narrative (women aren’t funny!) and run with anything that supports it!

    Tuesday, April 14, 2009 at 5:07 am | Permalink
  9. Evo wrote:

    My husband and I saw a guy riding one of the penny farthings on a back road on the way to my father’s house recently. He was wearing modern-biking equipment which just made it that much more hilarious. We laughed. We did not, however, yell things out the window. I always knew my husband had a secret vagina.

    Tuesday, April 14, 2009 at 6:42 am | Permalink
  10. Sady wrote:

    @Jottie: ARRRRRRRRRRGH, HITCHENNNNSSSS. People tell me he was once a legitimate critic once, who made points! Then he apparently figured out that he could get attention by publishing the most obviously obnoxious, sensationalist stuff ever (women aren’t funny! Muslims are evil! Mother Teresa is worse than Satan! Did I mention I got punched in the face in Beirut?) and that’s kind of what he’s stuck with. I wouldn’t know. All I know is that he’s that guy who thinks that women aren’t funny and the war in Iraq was an awesome good idea and won’t stop talking about how he got punched, and this kind of makes me less likely to look up his earlier, non-stupid work.

    @All: We are agreed! The pennyfarthing is an essentially hilarious vehicle! I only hope that it makes a comeback, and that it becomes correspondingly fashionable to dress like a 19th-century dandy (I say, do take a look at these these cunning knickers, old chap) when riding, because then we could all make Steampunk jokes – Steampunk being another inherently funny thing. “Why don’t you ride YOUR DIRIGIBLE, to THE MOON?” Such are the hilarious Steampunk jokes that I would make. Thereby proving Christopher Hitchens’ point that women (or, me at least) are not funny.

    Tuesday, April 14, 2009 at 8:11 am | Permalink