According to an article in News Medical, they do. They could have saved a few bucks on research if they had just asked some of us standup comics. We don't need a neurological study to know that women are easy - at least when it comes to making them laugh.
Last week I performed for 450 women in New Jersey. I always put something funny in my intro to test the audience. With the corporate crowd, my intro usually gets a small titter, but with this all-women's group, I got roaring laughter. I thought to myself, "Piece of cake!"
But, I got onstage, and my mic didn't work. With any other audience, this would have been a disaster. But with a woman's audience this just added to the fun, especially when I quipped, "Who else has problems with things this shape?" Huge laughs, and they kept on coming. Any comic doing an all-woman show will tell you the same thing - working for women is easy! You just have to take longer pauses so nobody chokes and they can wipe off their running mascara.
After years of doing corporate comedy, I've learned that women appreciate the subtleties of comedy material and will laugh at innuendos and character quirks. They have the patience to listen to a longer story that promises a good payoff. Men, on the other hand, seem to prefer quick, hard punch lines that keep on coming. When performing for a women's group, I actually get laughs on the setups. Men want you to get to the point of the joke as quickly as possible and not waste time describing characters or places. Why is this? Do men and women like their jokes the way they like their sex? Is it that women appreciate the build up to the laugh, and men just want to get there? Maybe that's why female comics performing for a women's audience is like lesbians having sex -- you just know exactly what to do.
If you are performing for, let's say, a group of male IT engineers, you might want to consider changing your set to connect.
Here are some tips:
1. Start with a self mocking joke. By consciously lowering your status, the guys will cut you slack. So I say, "You might be wondering why corporate hired a female stand-up comic to come talk to you, instead of someone who really knows what they're talking about... like a consultant." This gets me laughs and scores me points.
2. Speak in the audience's language. I make it obvious that I have researched what they do and acquainted myself with their verbiage and acronyms as you can see in my corporate video. They respect me because I did my homework and they like me because I make them feel special and important.
3. Make your own gender the butt of a joke. I do jokes about how irritating women can be. This makes it clear that I'm not just another woman, like their wife, pointing out all the male inadequacies. "Why do women have to do a complete survey of everyone at the table to find out what they want to eat? We're crazy!"
Using these three techniques, the men in the audience will finally uncross their arms and laugh.
Do Women Laugh More than Men? 3 Speaking Tips to Get a Male Audience to Laugh
Judy Carter blogs on comedy, storytelling and public speaking techniques, using personal stories and her adventures as a stand-up comic turned motivational public speaker. Her weekly blogs are read by fans of her books, “The Comedy Bible” (Simon and Schuster) and “The Message of You” (St. Martin’s Press), which include comics, speakers, and entrepreneurs. She is also known for teaching the value of humor and storytelling to businesses as a leadership and stress reduction tool.