The girls today want someone goofy. They want a Pete Davidson, or a young Matthew Lillard. Someone who was more likely to win the “class clown” superlative than to be captain of the football team. Going to the gym to be more attractive to women just isn’t going to cut it — you’ve gotta learn to be funny, instead. Incels, in their astute observance of dating hierarchies and trends, have developed a name for this phenomenon of trying to be funnier in order to get laid: Jestermaxxing.
Among incels, jestermaxxing refers to the intentional practice of men attempting to be funny for women’s attention. In their eyes, simply being funny and jestermaxxing are two different things. A Chad, for example, can be funny without jestermaxxing, because his likeability doesn’t hinge on his humor. Someone who jestermaxxes, however, must be entertaining to women in order to keep their place among them, much like a jester in a king’s court.
Most incels see jestermaxxing as a “cope,” a mental loophole guys trick themselves with to deal with the fact that they aren’t attractive in appearance. But it doesn’t always work. “I jestermaxxed hard in middle school, just made myself look retarded,” one guy wrote in r/Lonely_men. “Don’t do it. Chads can get away with most things because of the halo effect.” (FYI: The “halo effect” refers to Chads’ ability to get away with anything because they’re hot.)
“It’s great to socialmaxx, but it won’t get you a girl,” another remarked. “If you’re not automatically disqualified by subhuman looks, the only way to get a girl is through assertive actions. Making her laugh is never going to be enough if that’s all you do.”
Nevertheless, men outside of the incel world seem to be adopting jestermaxxing as part of their overall personas. While this move is marked most prominently by the current celebrities of the moment — again, Pete Davidson or musician Jack Harlow — there is one tweet in particular that’s essentially become a meme to describe the phenomenon. On November 21, 2021, @laserboat999 tweeted, “nice 400-lb squat bro, she just let me hit cuz I’m goofy.” The tweet went viral enough to warrant its own KnowYourMeme entry.
With that tweet, something shifted, and the importance of developing a personality over getting swole was summarized in 12 little words. And now, both men and women have been making tweets and TikToks about how there are way too many men at the gym that should be at home figuring out how to be funny instead. “Pete Davidson and Jack Harlow are the most wanted men on the planet right now, and you want to hit the gym at 6 A.M.? BRO WE HAVE TO RESTRATEGIZE,” @notconnoragain said in a TikTok.
But are regular guys actually taking any of this to heart? Perhaps not any more than usual — after all, there have been forum threads and advice columns on how to be funnier since the beginning of the internet, and it’s still not exactly the case that doing something like joining an improv group is considered hot.
Nonetheless, we’re in a time when men appear to be realizing that looks aren’t everything a woman wants. They just haven’t yet figured out the solution to the problem — i.e., how exactly to be funnier. At very least, the dynamic now has a funny name.