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As an unattractive man, I learned early in life that if I desired attention, I needed to develop skills to compensate for my inelegant face. Mind you, I am not repugnant by most standards, but the most notable thing about my features is their lack of any notable features: everything that a conventionally handsome man has, I possess as well … but not quite as much or too much. (So much detail lives in the “…” that I employed above.)
Around age ten I discovered that I could make my classmates laugh on purpose. That laughter sounded like the key, the lock, and the door itself. An earned laugh remains the one thing I want more than almost anything else in social exchanges. The other two things are: continuous unearned credit for wisdom, and instant (see: unearned) yet endless desire of me from members of the opposite sex. Because I am not a well-educated man (there goes wisdom), and I am not physically attractive (see above), I most often opt for the laugh as the quickest means by which to establish a connection with any other human being.
For some reason, women of my acquaintance tend to make the best audience for my expressions of humor. This is one of those facts of my life that I choose to leave unexamined, but most men of the species when they hear a joke or a retort from me will show approval with a comment. “That’s a good one, Mark,” is not laughter, not exactly, so I do not refuse praise, but most women who like one of my jocular ripostes will laugh, and many will then participate in the comedy, as well. I have had many moments of impromptu live improv with female friends, almost none of whom are comedians. Those moments have been some of the best that life offers. No dates have ensued, but … .
(That “…” there carries so many stories. Poor, sad ellipsis.)
This is an unscientific survey of one human male’s experience, of course, and anecdotal evidence merely proves that one possesses anecdotes, but my thesis remains: women are funnier than men, have a better sense of comedy, and often build the most commodious spaces inside which comedy and humor can flourish.
Now, the late Christopher Hitchens, a writer I admire, used up several pages of the January 2007 issue of Vanity Fair to explain and defend his thought that women are not funny in an essay titled, “Why Women Are Not Funny,” which was not a funny title.
Buried in the three dozen paragraphs of the article appears this kitten’s mewl of a thought, which, once uttered, ought to have stopped him, made him discard his essay and its premise, and sent him on to an entirely different topic: “It could be in some way that men do not want women to be funny.” It could have been that he was one of those men, so this thought ought to have relieved him of the duty to continue, but continue he did.
Hitchens’ thesis was that life for most men is a matter of attracting women and that humor is a chief weapon in man’s limited arsenal. “Why are men, taken on average and as a whole, funnier than women? Well, for one thing, they had damn well better be.” (I give him this: that sentence is pretty funny.) “The chief task in life that man has to perform is that of impressing the opposite sex, and Mother Nature (as we laughingly call her) is not so kind to men.” Most men are not attractive (for more information on this topic, visit my face and body), so men need to make women laugh to have a chance in this pursuit. He was not entirely incorrect about men, or at least about the sliver of the heterosexual male population of a certain age to which Hitch and I belong. (He was in his fifties in 2007; I am past age fifty at the moment and somehow will remain so for the rest of my life.)
He goes on: “Women have no corresponding need to appeal to men in this way. They already appeal to men, if you catch my drift.” Drift: caught.
As an attractive woman, Meghan Jenkins has no need to appeal to men in this way, but she does. Any one person may find any other individual to be physically attractive, and no argument will convince that person that their object of affection is not attractive, just as no argument will convince someone who does not find attractive their friend’s object of affection that attraction is the one correct response. This is no paean to Meghan Jenkins’ looks, as this website is by her and her many friends and about her and her interests, and her attractiveness does not need my words to defend or enhance it.
To my eyes, she is beautiful, but more important, she is hilarious and thus is a part of a growing school of women in comedy who look like however they look and are comedians nonetheless because they are funny. They work under the healthy presumption that laughter is an equal-opportunity reaction.
I do not laugh more when a comedian is unattractive (“funny looking”) and I do not laugh less when a comedian is attractive, out of some sort of envy at their double-luck combination of looks and comic skill. There are handsome male comedians, after all.
This past spring, as the coronavirus pandemic led community after community to shut down restaurants and theaters and live venues, many live performers found themselves in a quarantine quandary: how do I attract and keep an audience? What do I do to make a living? The question underneath all of this was the simplest: How do I express myself to an audience when there is no audience?
Many musicians and comedians started to use social media in ways they had not before: musicians started to perform live on various platforms and comedians started to write short one-person, one-minute skits of the sort that many had not written since they were in middle school. One of the few positives to come out of this pandemic era has been this spirit of innovation and invention among performers, and Meghan Jenkins is among this community.
There is a show business truism that one could build a brick wall on a stage and a charismatic performer will attract an audience even from behind that wall. The pandemic was a brick wall on every stage.
Meghan Jenkins, with whom I have been acquainted for several years and became colleagues this year, used that wall to her advantage: Already popular on Instagram and Facebook and known for her work on several podcasts and live improv shows in the Los Angeles area, she started to post quarantine fashion suggestions for our end-times budget needs:
The efforts attracted attention. Maxim magazine, a long-running and popular men’s lifestyle magazine, asked her to enter a contest to appear on a future cover of the publication. Her competitors were professional models with slick portfolios and modelling agencies behind their campaigns and none were actors or comedians: readers voted, and Meghan advanced from round to round (there were three or four rounds) until she finished in third in the final round. For someone whose portfolio was comprised of self-styled samples from her “coronavirus cuties” comedy selfies taken in her home rather than beach photos styled by a professional team, this was a remarkable achievement.
Brick wall, meet charismatic performer. There is an audience out there that does not know it is about to discover Meghan Jenkins.
At first, Meghan took the third place finish hard, but then decided to start this website and continue to build her multimedia career anyway. Maxim magazine came calling again this month: Maxim Australia requested that she participate in another cover model contest. With a victory, she lands a cover appearance, a trip to Australia, and $10,000 AUD.
Supporters can vote for free once per day on this website: Vote for Meghan Jenkins to be Maxim Cover Girl Australia!, or you can buy votes which will support the K2 Adventure Foundation, a charity that supports “children, adults and families with special needs and or life-changing medical and financial circumstances by providing services, support and funds that will be used for educational and medical enrichment.”
Meghan Jenkins is hilarious, beautiful, and charitable. In our 2020 world, that combination is rare and worth the celebration, and Maxim magazine decided to bring some attention to this multi-talented writer and performer and help her knock down that brick wall.
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Mark Aldrich is a journalist, award-winning humor columnist, and writer/performer with The Magnificent Glass Pelican audio theater improv group, now in its thirtieth season. His website is TheGadAboutTown.com.
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Meghan Jenkins is an actor, comedian, radio personality, model, brand ambassador for Pineapple Clothing, and author of the forthcoming book, The Adventures of Pizza Alien.
A social media influencer, in the spring of 2020 her photos of life in quarantine led to an invitation from Maxim magazine to participate in a cover model contest for which readers could submit votes. Her grassroots campaign against professional models brought her to a third-place finish.
She is currently the host of the live comedy improv show The The Ding Wrong Show, recorded on Zoom and seen on YouTube:
She is a cast member of the upcoming The End of the World Podcast with Derek Eric:
In 2018-’19, she was one of the on-air personalities on The Ding Dong Show podcast, recorded each week live with an audience at The World Famous Comedy Store in Hollywood, California.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.