A few weeks ago, the website Jezebel published a blog post accusing The Daily Show with Jon Stewart of being sexist (oh good grief!) because the show does not, in the blog writer’s estimation, have enough female employees, and on top of that, the writer accused the show of hiring new correspondent Olivia Munn for her looks. Of course, this ignores the fact that virtually all of the men on The Daily Show are PRETTY GOOD LOOKING, which is itself a function of PEOPLE ON TELEVISION BEING ATTRACTIVE IN GENERAL due to that being one of the foundational principles of HOW ENTERTAINMENT WORKS. I mean, honestly, whether or not Olivia Munn’s looks have helped her to get ahead in an industry entirely dependent on good looks is the kind of nonsense argument that would not even get placement in Duh Aficionado magazine. Moreover, while there are definitely some disparities between the level of the bar for men and women lookswise, most of the men on TV are attractive. So, you know, SNORE.
Of course, this Jezebel post has followed a Hot Media Trend in the past year or so concerning The Boys Club of the Late Night Television, which, personally I find kind of overblown. (QUICK ASIDE: I am not a woman and I have not worked in Late Night Television, so, make of that what you will/must.) Most of the funny women that I know are well respected for being funny, and many of the funny men I know have lots of trouble finding work in showbiz. My point is that it is hard to make it here, it is hard to make it anywhere. I’m not saying there are not DISCREPANCIES in the work place, and a look into the larger systemic factors at work in our society that might keep women from pursuing work in comedy seems interesting and worthwhile, but the laser-like-specificity of these arguments about Individual Work Places as Hotbeds of Sexual Injustice Due To The Fact That They Only Have Half A Dozen Very Successful Women That Everyone Respects And Appreciates seem misplaced, and ultimately might have more to do with the whistle-blowers’ desire to work in said offices and/or BE FAMOUS BELOVED TV LADIES themselves than any kind of insidious nightmare world created by the runaway egos of Jon Stewart (who, incidentally, like Ms. Munn, has not done badly with his FACE).
Anyhow, in response to this media outcry, the female employees of the Daily Show have responded in an open letter posted on the Daily Show website. You can read the full letter here, but here is a brief excerpt:
If you think the only women who help create this show are a couple of female writers and correspondents, you’re dismissing the vast majority of us. Actually, we make up 40% of the staff, and we’re not all shoved into the party-planning department (although we do run that, and we throw some kick-ass parties). We are co-executive producers, supervising producers, senior producers, segment producers, coordinating field producers, associate producers, editors, writers, correspondents, talent coordinators, production coordinators, researchers, makeup artists, the entire accounting and audience departments, production assistants, crew members, and much more. We were each hired because of our creative ability, our intelligence, and above all, our ability to work our asses off to make a great show.
The truth is, when it comes down to it, The Daily Show isn’t a boy’s club or a girl’s club, it’s a family – a highly functioning if sometimes dysfunctional family. And we’re not thinking about how to maximize our gender roles in the workplace on a daily basis. We’re thinking about how to punch up a joke about Glenn Beck’s latest diatribe, where to find a Michael Steele puppet on an hour’s notice, which chocolate looks most like an oil spill, and how to get a gospel choir to sing the immortal words, “Go f@#k yourself!”
Right. I mean, the world is a terrible place built on a shifting pile of ash, but surely there are places more deserving of wagging fingers and angry accusations than The Daily Show with Jon Stewart? BUT WHAT I’M SAYING IS CHECK OUT THE PICTURE OF ALL THOSE BABES! YOWZA! Caption the photo of the ladies of the Daily Show. Winner will receive special placement in this week’s Monsters’ Ball. And ladies get an upvote free before 7 upvotes.