Saturday, October 03, 2009

Nancy Franklin points out serious sex-discrimination in the joke market

In other diversity news, Leno’s and the rest of the nighttime comedy shows are bizarrely lacking in women writers. Did a bomb go off and kill all the women comedy writers and leave the men standing? The other night on the Emmy Awards broadcast, the names of the nominees for best writing on a comedy or variety series were read, and, out of eighty-one people, only seven were women. Leno has no women writers on his show. Neither does David Letterman, and neither does Conan O’Brien. Come on.
My wife noticed the same thing (I think I did too, independently, but I can't be sure, because she voiced it before I did). The question is, why? This situation for women in comedy is even worse than for women trying to become tenured faculty at universities. I have no evidence that women are not as funny as men: my mother is funny, my wife is funny, my daughters are funny. I have worked at eight places as an adult. The sex of the funniest person I knew at each place? (1) man (2) woman (3) tie (4) man (5) woman (6) woman (7) woman (8) not positive yet. That's four women, two men, one tie, one where the jury is still out.


Uncle Billy Cunctator said...

It's commonly thought that humor/jokes/comedy is animal aggression, an attempt to establish authority and status, self aggrandizement through use of wit. Maybe this explains much of it. Also it seems as though boys grow up trying to please mom and dad through humor more than do girls.

Anonymous said...

On (8)

COME ON!! I am waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay funnier than Dowell. Bostic can give me a run for my money, but on my good days I'm pretty funny. Aren't I???

Anonymous said...

You have to be more than just funny to be a joke writer - you have to generate a constant stream of joke ideas every day, to build up a stock of material, just like academics have to constantly think of new research ideas.

Joe M said...

I hope this doesn't degenerate into a debate about which is the funnier sex. Uncle Bill's suggestion that the genders use humor differently is right on target, it seems to me. It resonates with a lifetime of observations. Don't ask me to back this up because I the discussion can only end with my foot in my mouth.

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Beyond Beautifulbabe said...

Your wife is right -- and even worse, women, no matter how talented and funny, are ignored (even by ugly comics) if they are not attractive. Chelsea Handler got in because she is "attractive," as Nancy Franklin points out in The New Yorker. If she were a dog, then the road would have been much longer. Look at Tiny Fey, Joan Rivers and Kathy Griffin -- and how much they have done over the years to be semi-attractive and heard.