1. Tony is not allowed to replace the entire contents of the cafeteria with pop-tarts just because Thor has declared it the ‘food of the gods.’
2. Natasha is not allowed to interrogate new S.H.I.E.L.D. employees and dispose of the ones she deems unworthy.
3. Clint is not allowed to continue insisting that is the final step of the interview process to terrified new hires.
4. Tony is not allowed to broadcast sing-along songs into the Hulk-cage, no matter amusing he finds teaching Hulk “Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear, turn around”
5. Clint is not allowed to put the security feed of the Hulk’s Teddy Bear dance on Youtube.
6. Bruce is not allowed to hack into personnel files to look up blackmail material on Director Fury.
7. Tony is not allowed to insist that he’s already done so and that Fury’s middle name is Rainbow Sprinkles…. Because it isn’t.
8. Thor is not allowed to be naked at Headquarters. Ever.
9. Steve is not allowed to address any female S.H.I.E.L.D. agents as ‘little lady,’ ‘broad,’ or ‘dame.’ It only ends in getting slapped.
10. Agent Coulson’s name isn’t “Mom.”
11. Director Fury should never again be addressed as “Dad”
12. Agent Hill is not the Avenger’s wicked stepmother.
13. Clint is not allowed to lurk in the shadowy rafters spying on people, unless specifically instructed to do so for an official S.H.I.E.L.D. sanctioned mission.
14. ‘Operation Irritate the Fuck Out of Nick Fury’ is not an official mission, no matter what Tony or Natasha say to the contrary.
15. Debriefings should not be preceded by tequila shots.
16. Debriefings should not be followed by tequila shots.
17. There are to be no shots of any kind during debriefings.
18. Thor and Hulk will wait to fight until after the battle is over.
19. Tony Stark is not God’s gift to women.
20. The Avengers do not need matching uniforms.
21. Tony and Bruce are not allowed to have a contest to see who can make a bigger “boom” in the lab.
22. Thor is not allowed to join in and make the biggest boom with his hammer.
23. The Avengers will not be celebrating Steve’s 94th birthday.
24. The laboratory is not Tony and Bruce’s ‘Super Secret Genius Clubhouse.’ They are not allowed to bar entry to employees based on IQ test results.
25. The Avengers are not making a promotional pin-up calendar. Or a sex tape.
26. Iron Man is not making a promotional pin-up calendar. Or a sex tape.
27. Tony Stark is not making a promotional pin-up calendar. Or a sex tape.
28. Thor is not allowed to ‘bring down the wrath of Odinson’ on the person who ate the last package of pop-tarts.
29. Pants are not optional at team meetings.
30. ‘Pepper said it was okay’ is not a good enough reason to defy a director order from command.
31. The words “What’s the worst that could happen?” are never to be uttered on a mission ever again.
32. MC Hammer did not write Thor a theme song.
33. Gumby is not the love child of Bruce Banner and Reed Richards.
34. Natasha and Clint are not allowed to impersonate members of the clergy ever again. Ever.
35. Blasting ‘Don’t Worry, Be Happy’ at top volume into Bruce’s room on loop overnight is not an effective way to suppress the Hulk.
36. Hawkeye is not sitting in the rafters waiting to pick off people playing Galaga on their computer during work hours.
37. Tony is not allowed to bribe Natasha and Clint to physically, emotionally or psychologically torture General Ross for being ‘a great big douchebucket’ and ‘being mean to Brucie-kins.’
38. Steve is ‘Captain America’ not ‘Captain New York and those 49 other, lesser states.’
39. ‘Hulk SMASH!’ is not an effective diplomatic policy.
40. Tony is not allowed to buy the Dodgers and move them back to Brooklyn to apologize for lighting Steve’s hair on fire.
41. The phrase ‘Trust me, I’m a doctor’ never leads anywhere good.
42. It is not funny to dare Bruce to drink three quarts of green food coloring before a urine test.
43. Steve is not to be introduced as ‘Captain Tightpants’ or ‘The All-American Virgin.’
44. The Avengers do not ‘charge into battle, naked like the Celts.’ Except for The Hulk. Sometimes.
45. Natasha’s glare is not in fact fatal. Tony is not allowed to continue implying that it is.
46. Tony is not allowed to convince Bruce to help him make death ray goggles so that it will be.
47. The Avengers are not allowed to overthrow the American government, just because they didn’t like the results from the last election.
48. The Avengers are not allowed to overthrow any government, without checking in with S.H.I.E.L.D. first.
49. Clint is not allowed to sell Thor any ‘magic beans.’
50. Natasha and Clint are not allowed to try to sell Tony to another planet, even if they are promised really cool new weapons in exchange.
51. Tony and Bruce are not allowed to go to any science conferences without a chaperone.
52. A robot Tony built does not count as a chaperone.
53. Nikola Tesla is not a vampire being held in the bowels of S.H.I.E.L.D. headquarters.
54. Tony and Bruce are not allowed to go searching for him in the name of Science!
55. Clint’s super-power is not ‘being super-annoying.’
56. The following words and phrases are never to be uttered over communication devices during an active mission ever again:“Exploring sexuality,” “Necrophilia,” “It’s getting hot in herr, so take off all your clothes,” “I hate everyone on this mission and I wish they’d die in a fire,” “Nick Fury can go suck on a big bag of sausages,” references to Bruce’s giant stash of weed, mention of anyone’s erection, or “Shawarma.”
57. If it makes Tony giggle for more than 30 seconds, it isn’t allowed.
58. If it makes Natasha crack a smile, it’s probably illegal.
59. Thor taking Jane to see Asgard does not count as an alien abduction. Clint should stop referring to it as such.
60. Just because Bruce agreed to work in Tony’s lab, does not mean he needs to get a “Property of Stark Industries” tattoo.
61. Tony is not allowed to design a robot to draw said tattoo on Bruce when he falls asleep in the lab.
62. Post-mission reports to Director Fury should not start out ‘So let me explain…’
Tonight I’m doing chocolate nests, and possibly cheesy hot cross buns, which are for work, but I also want to make extra for homd. Then I need to bake more on Wednesday for Thursday’s work cake, plus Le Boyfriend wants me to make him a carrot cake.
And I’m out Tuesday/Wednesday/Thursday evenings. Oh dear.
Girls and women of the world, could we stop apologizing for wanting and eating food? Because this is one of the most ridiculous things that we do collectively as lady-people, and not only does it annoy the shit out of me personally, but it is also INCREDIBLY SAD. Could we stop feeling “guilty” for wanting an effing brownie? Or a plate of fries? Could we stop actively seeking permission from our friends to go ahead and “be bad” and order the cheesecake? Could we all just go ahead and order whatever it is that we feel like eating, instead of saying, “Oh, I feel like a pig, you guys are just getting salads”?
Because—now I know this will come as a shock—WOMEN EAT. We get hungry. We get hungry for pizzas and Double Stuff Oreos and nachos and ice cream and giant French-toast breakfasts, and you know what? WE DON’T NEED TO FEEL BAD ABOUT THAT.
Here I am making a vast and sweeping gender stereotype, but do you ever, ever hear dudes say “I just want a little bite” or “This is so bad, you guys, but I totally ate a whole pint of Ben & Jerry’s last night”? No! Because it’s OK for men to eat! Men get hongray! Men need frozen dinners called “Hungry-Man”! Men need Manwich! Boys are allowed to grow into men, but “attractive” women in our culture are expected to stay at pretty much an eternal pre-adolescent weight. What’s society’s current ideal man look like? Fit. Big muscles. What’s society’s current ideal woman look like? Thin. Really thin. No hips. No belly. Hairless except for the head. Basically a 10-year-old girl with boobs added for sex appeal.
You see it everywhere—every café, every restaurant, every kitchen across the country. Women bargaining with waiters and friends about whether or not they should get a side salad or fries with their entrée. Women making demeaning jokes to one another about their desire for food, like “Once on the lips, forever on the hips” and “Well, it’s midnight, so technically your body doesn’t know whether it’s today or tomorrow, so the calories zero themselves out, hahaha” and women bonding with one another over their shared guilt! You’re being bad and getting the chocolate cake? Ooh, now that you’re doing it, let’s both be really bad, and I’ll order the key lime pie and we won’t tell a soul, will we? It’s just us girls!
Why are we apologizing for wanting food? What the hell? BODIES NEED FOOD. WE DIE WITHOUT IT. Food tastes good! And we’re programmed to crave it! Sure, some food is healthier than other food, but what is up with punishing ourselves for wanting pickle chips? Why is it acceptable—nay! encouraged!—in our culture for women to feel guilty and publicly “admit” our guilt for wanting to eat a cookie? Why are we rationalizing our “bad behavior”—you know, our EATING—with statements like “I’ve been really good lately” or “I’m gonna need to walk this off later”?
It makes me insane.
I want this to end.
I want women to allow themselves to want food. I want women to be hungry and ask for what they want to eat without apologizing. I want women to stop looking for permission from others before they eat something that is not a carrot or spinach. I want my friends to get the chili fries if they want the chili fries, and not say something like, “It all goes straight to my ____” (hips, thighs, butt, etc.). I want to see a girl sink her teeth into a huge cheeseburger and fries and not cut the burger in half to save some for later. I want my mother to allow herself more than one small square of dark chocolate per day. I want women to take pleasure in food, without punishing ourselves for wanting it.
Hear me, womenfolk: I want all of us, everywhere, to stop apologizing, stop rationalizing our behavior, and just eat the damn brownie already.
There’s certainly a much more casual attitude [in British stand-up] to nominally tasteless jokes about the sexual abuse of women on stage and in audiences than there was when I started. But whether that represents an across the board trend is really hard to say.
In the 1980s when what was called ‘alternative comedy’ started, one of the things that it was supposed to do was not be sexist, not make fun of people who were differently abled, not do racist stuff. All that’s survived of that is race has still remained a taboo. Everything else has crept back in.
A lot of it’s crept back in under the idea that there’s irony. That the comedian is holding up a mirror to society, showing us our prejudices by enacting them for money. So it has certainly changed.
You talked about Jimmy Carr and Frankie Boyle. What I think is difficult about them is that I think they both really, really like jokes, and that’s obviously a good thing for a comedian. But I think they both start with a punchline, and they work back to a setup. Neither of them seem to have a coherent worldview.
So what’s confusing about Frankie Boyle is one minute he’ll be making fun of a handicapped child; the next minute he’ll be doing something about the Israeli occupation of Palestine that seems to take some extreme left-wing position. Same with Jimmy Carr. There doesn’t seem to be a coherent position, so therefore you don’t know what you’re supposed to take as truth and what you’re supposed to take as irony.
And the reason there isn’t a coherent position is that it’s all about getting the laugh rather than about having a point of view or a consistent personality: their acts aren’t informed by a personality or a worldview.
That means they cut down really well into short slots on telly. They cut down really well into tweets. They cut down really well into being on some page in a lad’s mag. You could argue that’s the job of a professional comedian. Weirdly, if your act’s informed by a point of view it’s much harder to snip it up into things, because the stuff doesn’t exist in isolation.
What you’ve said of those people is true, but it’s not representative of all standup: I couldn’t remember a hundred unrelated jokes. I dunno how you do it. I wouldn’t be able to remember whether I was supposed to be a sick right-wing libertarian or an anarchist from one moment to the next. It’d be hard to know.
It seems like a lot of the targets that we’re picking on now are not necessarily people that need to be taken down a peg or two. Like Katie Price’s autistic child: I didn’t really notice him getting above himself, to be honest. So I think it’s gone a bit wrong somewhere, and I don’t know how that is. I don’t know how you deal with that, other than censorship. I don’t know if that’s necessarily the idea. You hope it will sort of be self-policing, but I don’t know.
This idea of ‘what’s allowed’ is a bit confusing at the moment, because I don’t know if comedians are necessarily respecting the licence they’ve been given at the moment.
I don’t think ‘it’s just a joke’ is any sort of defence, because a joke’s a really powerful thing. And it can really upset someone, and it can make 12,000 people laugh in a stadium and send home the person who’s made that joke, send them home with tens of thousands of pounds. So the idea ‘it’s just a joke’ is a bit of a cop-out I think. You really need to think about how to justify the thing that you said: and was it worth the offence it could cause?
This thing about rape jokes is the current hot potato in discussions about standup. I think it’s been a long time coming this, because in the ‘open spot’ level it’s a real kind of fallback position of a punchline, something about rape, and it’s really weird. It’s quite a powerful word if you thought about how people in the room might feel.
There’s a thing doing the rounds at the moment where we’re all being asked to sign up to never making a joke about rape. And I don’t really know what that means, because I understand the intention behind it, which is that comedians are being asked to consider whether this joke with the word ‘rape’ in it has really anything to say about the issue, and is it more upsetting than it’s worth to people in the room who will inevitably be present who will have been raped?
But on the other hand you can’t just put a blanket ban on it because there’s all sort of things—well, Sarah Silverman’s got a great joke about rape where she says: ‘Of course women don’t complain about rape jokes, they don’t even report actual rapes.’ And you can’t say she can’t do that joke, because that joke has something to say about the subject. So it’s a difficult thing.
But I do think people have to think more now because everything’s instantly broadcast. Even something that isn’t filmed can be decontextualised and put on a social network, and suddenly you can be pilloried for something that’s entirely decontextualised, that’s not even what you said, so I think people have to be a bit more careful. They probably always should have been, but now that’s thrown into sharper relief.
”—British writer and comedian Stewart Lee discusses the prevalence of rape jokes and “ironic” bigotry in comedy, the consequences of comedy without a worldview, the social function of comedy, and the increased importance of making jokes responsibly in a social media/soundbite culture, in an interview with Oxford Brookes University, May 2013. (via perfectlyfairfoul)