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Tue Jan 31, 2012, 02:40 PM

This is why we keep talking about gender and comedy

Related: Letterman firing his long-time booker over sexist comments


Every few months, another article pops up about women in comedy. Perhaps it is by some dude boldly proclaiming that women arenít funny, patting himself on the balls in self-congratulations for his bravery. Or itís a response to some such article, or a narrative from a female comedian talking about her experience. These articles happen a lot. For people who like to read about gender in comedy, itís exhausting. I am here to throw another article into the fray. Hereís why:

Yesterdayís New York Times features a profile of Eddie Brill, the 53-year-old comic who books Letterman. It positions Brill as an older comic stylistically outside of the younger ďaltĒ generation but portrays him unquestioningly as an expert in his field. It describes Brillís background, his skill in training comics to succeed on television, and his taste. Brill likes vulnerability in comedy, the piece tells us. To me, this is a little like saying you like lyrics in musicĖ of course you do. Most people do. But not all comics have that persona, so fine, itís worth noting, and also he likes punchlines (again, not especially surprising) and also he doesnít think women are funny.

That last one kind of sneaks up on you. In 2011, the NYT tells us, Brill booked only one woman for the Late Show. Even if that alone doesnít stand as sufficient evidence of Brillís sexism, he also said this:

"There are a lot less female comics who are authentic," Mr. Brill said. "I see a lot of female comics who to please an audience will act like men."


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Reply This is why we keep talking about gender and comedy (Original post)
redqueen Jan 2012 OP
mistertrickster Jan 2012 #1
Warpy Jan 2012 #2

Response to redqueen (Original post)

Tue Jan 31, 2012, 02:43 PM

1. Good post. Brill deserves to be fired.


Glad to see that the Letterman team made the right decision.

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Response to redqueen (Original post)

Tue Jan 31, 2012, 02:45 PM

2. Oh, Mr. Brill, do try to look beyond your great manly appurenance one of these days

Women in comedy are usually hilarious to other women who share their experience. If they make the Mr. Brills of this world uncomfortable, perhaps the Mr. Brills would do much better to examine why. He might also ask himself just why he thinks such women "act like men" when they're up on a stage, vulnerable, and acting like themselves and speaking from their own experience.

Mr. Brill is an example of what's wrong with much of the world. Mr. Brill is a bigot.

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