Comedy is a meritocratic field.
Jack Monicker
53

You should really find something else to complain about. In the meantime…

No, it’s not just meritocracy (let me guess, you’re a white dude?). For each of the women you can mention who are funny/have been funny in recent American pop culture, there are like what? 20? 50? 100? dudes you could name. You’re telling us only a handful of women are actually funny enough to warrant the spotlight? That more women aren’t as funny as all those “funny” guys? No.

Oh, but wait. YES. Yes, only a few women are funny “enough” because you know who’s deciding that? Men. Men have been in The Decider role since entertainment began. They have picked what’s funny, and what’s funny to them are other men (or women who can work with the male framework they’re given/are enjoyed by the male appetite: ex. Madeline Kahn in Blazing Saddles).

Think for a moment about what the greatest comedies of all time are (or are generally accepted as being, for now). If you’re anything like my white, male husband (who was a stand-up comic for years) the list includes Caddyshack and Animal House. Possibly Blues Brothers. Monty Python. Comedy “gold” that all but excluded women, starring legends who didn’t think women should even try to be comics (see: John Belushi and “women are just fundamentally not funny”).

It’s not about “who’s talented” it’s about who gets to decide who’s talented. That’s shifting, finally, for many reasons, and hooray for that. More women being funny — having the opportunity to show how funny they are — is an awesome thing, whether you see a need or not.

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