She dreamed by day of never again putting on tight shoes, of never having to laugh and listen and admire, of never more being a good sport. Never.”
― Dorothy Parker, Complete Stories

In a 2007 essay for Vanity Fair, Christopher Hitchens famously made the case that women are not genetically predisposed to being funny because they do not need a sense of humour in order to attract men. This is a patently ridiculous statement for any number of reasons (ie, we don’t care about your boner), but especially so in a popular culture landscape that has introduced us to the likes of Gracie Allen, Gilda Radner, Jessica Williams, Margaret Cho, Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Maria Bamford, Marjane Satrapi, Melissa McCarthy, Aisha Tyler, Tig Notaro…the list goes on. Yet at the same time as we’re being told we’re not funny, women are often asked to “lighten up” in the face of experiences and social realities that are no laughing matter. For the eleventh issue of cléo, we want to celebrate the idea that women are, and always have been, hilarious.

Some topics to consider:

Screwball comedies: Feisty femmes, boundary-pushing comedies of error and re/marriage: His Girl Friday (1940), Bringing Up Baby (1938), Two Many Husbands (1940), Mistress America (2015), My Man Godfrey (1936), It Happened One Night (1934), The Lady Eve (1941), What’s Up, Doc? (1972), A Fish Called Wanda (1988)

Rom-coms: Do romantic comedies uphold a conservative, gender normative status quo, or is there room for subversion? Sleepless in Seattle (1993), Annie Hall (1977), The Apartment (1960), Two Can Play That Game (2002), Think Like a Man (2012), How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days (2003), Saving Face (2004), Just Wright (2010),), Love Actually (2003), The Best Man (1999), …In a World (2013), The Proposal (2009), Appropriate Behaviour (2014)

Female comedy auteurs: Amy Schumer, Lake Bell, Jill Soloway, Issa Rae, Ilana Glazer and Abbi Jacobson, Sharon Horgan, Tina Fey, Lena Waithe

Tragi-comedy and “taboo” subjects: Are some topics inherently off-limits in comedy? What happens when we laugh at our pain?, Obvious Child (2014), Heathers (1988), Spanking the Monkey (1994), Sleeping Dogs (2006), Happiness (1998)

Female buddy comedies: Mean Girls (2004), How to Marry a Millionaire (1953), Clueless (1994), The Heat (2013), Stage Door (1937), The First Wives Club (1996), Romy & Michele’s High School Reunion (1997), Daisies (1966), Bend it Like Beckham (2002), Waiting to Exhale (1995)

Challenging “world” comedy: How does humour “translate” across cultures, generations, and languages abroad and at home? What are the implications for assuming North American (read: white) forms of humour are universal? Piku (2015); Queen (2013); Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown (1988); Offside (2006); Kamizake Girls (2004), Monsoon Wedding (2001), Bollywood/Hollwood (2002)

Send us your pitch of roughly 300 words. Please also include three writing samples. The deadline for submissions is May 10, 2016. We will be in touch regarding accepted pitches. Articles should be between 1500–2000 words. Submissions and general inquiries: