One of my first comments to this video has long since scrolled out of sight, but I am pleased to repeat it here:
I conclude that Mr. Hitchens has unconsciously selected for women with no GAG reflex... and has unintentionally confused this trait with a lack of wit. Although perhaps these two traits evolved synergistically.
Hitchens is not someone I'd take seriously. He is better described as a contrarian rather than an atheist. He seems to look for ways to piss people off just for the sake of pissing people off. I doubt his sincerity of belief in anything. As Nerd pointed out, he's a drunk. On top of that he does tend to come across as a bit sexist and racist. I admit I'm biased but I'm biased from having read a handful of his books and numerous columns (Free Inquiry, Nation, Atlantic, New Yorker, etc...).
I don't understand what you mean by that, contrarian and atheist are not mutually exclusive terms. Hitchens is without a doubt an atheist since he doesn't believe in any deities. Whatever else he may be described as is of course irrelevant to the question of his beliefs.
Where does he get off saying that if women use the same humor as men then women can't be funny on their own? How did men get the ownership rights to any style of humor? Did I miss that day of Man School?
I think what he means is that those forms of humor were invented by men, as a tool for attracting women. If that is true, then I have no problem with him calling those forms of humor male even if women have adopted them recently. Of course that still leaves us with the question of whether this is historically true or not. It could certainly be the case that women have always had the capacity for those forms of humor, and that they have used them in private situations, but have had a hard time becoming successful comedians while employing that style on stage.
It is a common theme in evolution that traits evolved for the benefit of one sex can be found in both sexes if there is little negative selection for such a state, such as male mammalian nipples. If he posits humor evolved as a sexual advantage in males:
1) evidence please. Just because he doesn't find important humor in women doesn't mean jack squat.
2) show that women did not pick this trait up as well.
Otherwise I could just as easily posit that women evolved a sense of humor to put up with idiotic males doing stupid things all the time, because if they didn't find the stupidity funny they wouldn't mate with anyone.
These silly ad hoc evolution arguments always bother me (and I know I've been guilty of them). They are an abuse of a theory. Show me some evidence.
That's definitely part of the answer, Stephan G... case in point:
Phyllis Diller: "Every time my husband 'Fang' cuts himself shaving, his eyes clear up!"
But it's only part of the answer, because (speaking for myself) I (and I happen to be female) use humor as a relief valve in many more contexts than laughing at male stupidity. Most everyone, regardless of gender, finds all manner of stupidity funny, and when we laugh in concert about something (or someone), we feel a sort of camaraderie. I love men who are bright enough to make me laugh, and confident enough to love it when I make them laugh, too.
I was watching the Colbert Report one day when Steve was asked by some guest if he was ever tempted to have an affair (he's married and has three kids)... and didn't he have numerous opportunities with beautiful women. His reply: "Well...Yes... but IS SHE FUNNY?"
OOOOHHHHHHHH.... man after my own heart (and one of my favorite objects of sexual fantasy)!!! XD
Which makes it all the more annoying that Hitch seems not to value humor in women. Although he did confess to creating this whole stir in order to inspire more attractive women to attempt to amuse him, he opens by remarking that he doesn't care if a woman is funny or not, as long as she looks/is sexy. Very disappointing to think that a witty and intrinsically intelligent man so devalues equal wit and intelligence in a prospective mate.
Other witty men have certainly chosen witty women. Danny Kaye married Sylvia Fine; George Burns married Gracie Allen; Gene Wilder married Gilda Radner... and Phyllis Diller's husband "Fang" is the one who talked her into doing stand-up comedy.