Men and women are different. There, now you don’t have to watch Whitney Cummings’ new comedy special. Certainly, some of her jokes are funny and the special is easy to watch, but taken in all at once it feels kind of like a Sex and the City rerun. I like Sex and the City. It’s fun. But in 2014 it’s not a fresh approach to comedy.
Cummings opens her act by stating she just finished a challenging year. “I was making a television show. [Applause] You didn’t fucking watch it. You didn’t fucking watch it. Because, if you had watched it, I wouldn’t be here right now.”?? She goes on to assure the audience she’s glad to be doing stand-up again. I certainly believe her. Cummings is a natural talent and at her best when she speaks about herself. The authenticity is so appealing. She doesn’t need to speak for all women. Even when she widened out to merely her “girlfriends” the humor was still vibrant.
What became tiresome were the 30 out of 42 minutes she spent on how emotionally unstable women are because they’re strung out trying to convince boorish men to love them. Cummings is whip smart enough to create and land a line like, “My definition of love is being willing to die for someone…that you, yourself want to kill.” Her material choice reads as, at best, too predictable and at worst, a little lazy. We don’t need any more jokes about women having sex to burn calories.
Conversely, it makes sense for Cummings to stay broad to connect to the widest audience possible. Something can appeal to a large audience and still be completely worthwhile; just look at bacon, Coca-Cola and sex. It seems almost unfair to criticize something that was funny at times, but trafficking in stereotype is difficult to get past, no matter how well she does it.
“When I hang out with my girlfriends they’re super cool and rational. Then they start dating some dude and lose their mind. Women are not crazy, you guys make us that way,” she says. After several more riffs on “crazy women” she does counter that, “For a guy to get called “crazy” he has to be naked in an alley jerking off on a dead pigeon singing bible hymns.” That hilarious line is followed with a bit about guys being too into sports and not thinking. It’s not so much sexist as it is trite.
The authenticity of the comedy from Cummings’ life is the bright spot of the special. Unfortunately, I Love You was bogged down under the weight of her endless, dated generalizations. Whitney Cummings can do relationship humor for the rest of her life and continue to be a huge success. I just hope she’ll find more ways to innovate.