It was a storm of women’s voices, a monsoon of indignation.

The winds of their argument blew me back like that guy in the stereo speaker ad. If men are funnier than women — and they aren’t — it’s because A. Millennia of patriarchy prevented women from realizing their full comedic potential, B. Men wrote most of the reviews, so there ya go, and C. Most humor is stupid and therefore unfunny.

In an act of atonement for the sins committed by men through the ages, I threw one of the most sacred totems of male humor into the tempest as a peace offering: “Tell ya the truth, I don’t think the Three Stooges are all that funny.” Before my brethren start hauling me in on charges, let me just say in my defense that I like nyuck-nyuck-nyuck and heeee-bee-bee just as much as the next guy. But in the end, I’m sorry, the Stooges strike me as a third-rate Marx Brothers. There. I said it.

My confession was for naught, however.

“No,” exclaimed one woman. “Not just the Stooges.”

The tempest raged.

I considered making a little wisecrack: The problem is, chicks can’t take a joke. But I decided I’d rather live.

I wondered what Richard Pryor would say. Or Lenny Bruce. Or Chris Rock. Or Mark Twain. Or Dave Barry. Or Woody Allen. Or Will Ferrell.

Having been around the humor block a few times, they’d know when they’re playing a tough room. My guess? They’d call on rule number three: “I’m sorry. Truly. I should have gone with anatomical matters.”

Photo by Lee Blankenship Emmert