Women laugh much more at the antics of men then do men at women. This suggests that men use laughter in courtship and that women use humour to measure a man’s general fitness and suitability as a partner. Certainly, personal classifieds advertisements suggest that this is so, as men list a good sense of humour frequently as quality they possess, whereas women advertise as seeking it. The trait is so pervasive in personal dating advertisements that it even has its own acronym GSOH (good send of humour). Even across culture and age, men are the laugh-getters whereas women as the laugh seekers.
It has also been suggested that humour is a signal of cognitive fitness and women use it to gauge the desirability of men or perhaps as a display of their ability to out-compete other men. Humour is a measure of dominance, a social tool, and women gravitate to the dominant men who possess it. Male stand up comedians show many dominant traits not the least of which is to hold the attention of large groups and have them laugh at his jokes, which itself is seen as a submissive act. For this reason, stand up comedians also show leadership. Comedians such as David Letterman host of the Late Show or comedians such as Joe Rogan or Dane Cook. These men make their living by telling jokes. Their body language and the way they control audiences with their humour are testament to their ability to take control.
Comedians are leaders even when we find them in our daily lives. They routinely stand up to hecklers, they influence our emotions and framework and at the same time make us laugh. When a strong joker comes about, we relinquish our control to them, but when two jokers meet, they’ll be found competing against each other to tell the best joke in an attempt to hog the floor.
Typically men will use humour to joke with and playfully insult other men. Women use humour to build social bonds and connect with each other. Women rarely pull off practical jokes. Men use humour to jockey amongst other men for position in the hierarchy and this jockeying is found most prominent when other women are present. Men unanimously prefer women who laugh at their jokes rather than those who make them laugh especially when choosing sexual partners. In a study that followed one hundred five students, it was found that women chose men who produce humour sixty-two percent of the time whereas men choose women who appreciate their humour sixty-five percent of the time. When female speakers present to a male audience they tended to laugh themselves seven percent more then their male audience, whereas male speakers laugh about seven percent less than their female audience. Neither sex laughs as much with female speakers as they do with male speakers.
No doubt, being a female comedian is one tough nut to crack which is why we see far more male professional comedians than female. Both sexes are in agreement, women want a humour generator and men want a humour appreciator. When it comes to friendship, men will seek out women that are funny, but when it comes to sexual relationships, men tend to fair on the side of women that only laugh at jokes rather than those who produce them. In fact, women that display strong tendencies to make other people laugh appear to be a strong turn-off to men. In a 1990 study by Grammer and Eibl-Eibesfeldt where men and women interacted in a natural conversation, the extent to which woman laughed while in conversation was related to her desire to date the man. These findings show that laughing by women is likely an evolutionary signal of sexual attraction. A note of caution though before men get all carried away and start memorizing knock-knock jokes before heading the pub, is that while men who were more humorous were rated more attractive they were also rated as less intelligent and trustworthy. These results weren’t duplicated though as in other studies as humour was linked to other positive personality traits, one of which includes intelligence. It’s likely though, that humour has a basis in dating and attraction, but that women still appreciate someone that can be serious if need be.