No, Comedy Is Not Dead

Or, how I really need to stop talking to people at the gym, part 2.

Taru Anniina Liikanen


Yep, that’s me. Image by valerrco.

Gyms can be problematic places, especially for women. With all the dudes giving you fitness advice, others telling you they don’t like seeing people who are out of shape, and just the general energy, I do still feel like a fish out of water sometimes.

So I try to just focus on my workout. The thing that happens when you work out at the same gym at the same time every day for several months, though, is that you end up knowing all the people who go there at the same time.

And those people… Well, let’s say they’re not always the most socially progressive.

A couple of days ago, I was telling someone about starting to do standup, and they waved another guy over.

“Did you know that Anniina is doing standup?” He explained to the other dude.

I expected something nice, maybe a question of where to see me or some other normal and polite answer. Nope.

“Oh, but you can’t do comedy anymore.”

“Uhm, what? Of course you can.”

“Yeah, you can’t say anything because someone will get mad.”

“Well, I’ve so far not bombed once, and nobody’s gotten mad.”

“But you’re a woman.”

Let’s unpack this.

I’m a bisexual woman, yes. But I’m a privileged, able-bodied, extremely pale even for Finnish standards, blonde-haired cisgender woman from Northern Europe.

If I had the need to make jokes that were racist, homophobic, ableist or offensive in other ways, I would not get laughs, and I might get some criticism, just like a man would. I don’t have a need to make those kinds of jokes, though.

I’m a woman, but I also have no need to make rape jokes, something I’ve actually heard men here complain about.

And not because I fear getting ‘canceled’. I just have no need to make those kinds of jokes.

There are so many people who have talked about cancel culture better than I can, including the amazing Roxane Gay. Yes, it’s just about consequences. Yes, it’s just that the offenders are trying to silence anyone who…



Taru Anniina Liikanen

Stand-up comedian and recovering political ghostwriter. Finnish by birth, porteña at heart. Bad jokes frequent.