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Dublin: 6 °C Tuesday 22 October, 2019
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The star of The Emoji Movie has rowed back on his comment that women are not as funny as men

“They’re taught to suppress their sense of humor during their formative years.”

TJ MILLER IS an American stand-up comic, actor and writer, best known for his role in HBO sitcom Silicon Valley.

He’s the main voice actor in the soon-to-be-released star-studded animation The Emoji Movie, and has been doing press interviews for it over the past couple of weeks.

That’s where the saga began.

randy2 Source: TJ Miller Instagram

Speaking in an interview with Vulture Magazine – published in yesterday’s New York Magazine – he made a comment about why, “in his view, women aren’t as funny as men”:

They’re taught to suppress their sense of humor during their formative years.

The opinion wasn’t referenced again, as writer David Marchese had so many other bizarre statements to contend with, including these passages:

He finishes a bottle of water and then crushes the plastic empty in his hand. “In the American Zeitgeist,” he says, “you have to recognize that there is no Zeitgeist.” He nods solemnly to me. “Use that.”
Miller turns to his publicist, whose presence at the table was a condition of his doing this interview, and asks, “It’s entirely inappropriate to smoke marijuana, right?” She says it is. He frowns, then face-spritzes. I ask what the spray is, and he says, “It’s embarrassing for you that you don’t know.” (It is, according to the bottle, Evian Natural Mineral Water spray.)

The interview immediately went viral for a whole host of reasons, but this passage was perhaps the most quoted

It read:

“Where are you from?” he asks, then makes small talk about my life for a few minutes, only to abruptly conclude by saying, “That was a trick. If you ask somebody about themself in the middle of them asking about you, then they’re flattered and ask you nicer questions during the interview.”
Then, this time in the middle of a question about the risk of being relegated to the bland Hollywood roles that burly, force-of-nature comedians tend to get slotted into, he interrupts again. “Do you think you’re good at your job?” he asks. I don’t think I’m great at it, I say. “I agree,” he says, finishing another bottle of water and again crushing the empty. “That was another trick. By my asking that, you thought, Is he playing a trick right now? And that made you feel like you were ahead of the game.”

Cannes Emoji Movie photocall AM Source: Boyer-Genin-Marechal/ABACA

But his claims that women weren’t as funny as men were called out immediately

Given he was on a press tour for a movie, it seemed like an odd place to pull out deliberately controversial and bizarre actions

The criticism reached a point yesterday when Miller felt compelled to respond

NY: Okja New York Premiere Source: SIPA USA/PA Images

He took to Twitter, saying everyone had missed the point:

It’s certainly a little more nuanced than his original statement in the Vulture interview, but it’s still difficult to decipher what he’s actually trying to say – especially with regards to “the misogyny of women’s humor” – and whether he’s in a position to comment in such broad strokes.

Although the bizarre statements weren’t confined to the interview, as they continued online

*eye roll*

The press tour rolls on as The Emoji Movie gets released in various countries in the next week, and the comedian will even be making a stop off at the Vodafone Comedy Festival in Dublin on Friday and Saturday.

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About the author:

David Elkin

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