The Man Show

To be honest, we don’t trust Gawker Media these days. What began as a charming collection of rascals has evolved into a ravenous linkbait machine. Anything that appears in one of their blogs has to share the grain of salt we usually save for Politico: It may be true, but we’d feel more comfortable with a second source, from some joint that’s not hopelessly devoted to pageviews.

Most of the time we just ignore Gawker Media entirely — it’s been a long time since we frequented any of Nick Denton’s establishments. But sometimes they still cross our path, especially now that their posts are being syndicated elsewhere. (Is it really a wise use of TPM’s investment capital to run Gawker crap that sullies its growing reputation?) And they do show up on occasion in Memeorandum and its sister sites, the Google News of blogger chat.

Which is how we stumbled across Jezebel’s story on the Daily Show:

The Daily Show is many things: progressive darling, alleged news source for America’s youth, righteous media critique. And it’s also a boys’ club where women’s contributions are often ignored and dismissed.

If Olivia Munn, the former videogame show host introduced to Daily Show viewers three weeks ago, survives her tryout, she’ll be the first new female correspondent on the show in seven years. With the notable exception of Samantha Bee, who’s been on since 2001, female correspondents have been a short-lived phenomenon. As fiercely liberal and sharp-eyed an observer as Jon Stewart can be, getting women on the air may be his major blind spot…

Given its politics and the near-universal adoration with which it’s met, the current iteration of The Daily Show is held to a different standard by the viewing public. But behind the scenes, numerous former female staffers tell us that working there was often a frustrating and alienating experience.

Let’s grant off the top that this is a fair criticism. But let’s also note — as Jezebel doesn’t — that not long ago, the Daily Show’s “correspondents” were mostly white males. Jon Stewart has been diversifying the on-air talent, ethnically if not chromosomatically. And with only five slots to fill, it can be a slow process.

Criticism granted, let’s look at the sources and examples Jezebel used to back up its story:

  • “Lauren Weedman, a comedian and writer who worked on the show as an on-air correspondent from 2001-2002.”
  • “Co-creator and executive producer Madeleine Smithberg,” who “quit in 2003.”
  • “Stacey Grenrock Woods was on Stewart’s show from 1999-2003”.
  • “Adrianne Frost, who worked briefly as a correspondent in 2002”.

And… that’s it. Say, could you throw in some hot gossip about Jack Paar while you’re at it?

Even Smithberg, the highest-ranking source for the story, undermines its premise:

“I don’t think Jon is sexist,” she says. “I don’t think that there is a double standard at the Daily Show. I do think that by the time it gets to the Daily Show it’s already been through the horrible sexist double standard of the universe. You’re not hiring someone right out of school. By the time they get to the candidates of the Daily Show, the herd has been thinned by the larger societal forces.” Of the greater talent pool of comedians, she said, “All that’s left are white men and Aziz Ansari.”

She needn’t have aimed so, um, broad. It’s long been observed that American comedy is a boy’s club, with rare exceptions who are respected by their peers. Phyllis Diller. Joan Rivers, back when she was guest-hosting the Tonight Show. Sarah Silverman. The real story is that the Daily Show is a creature of its profession: Its sins are shared by its competitors.

Which isn’t to excuse or forgive the situation. But for Jezebel to dust off old grudges and present them as breaking news, well, that’s just linkbait — drawing almost 40,000 views as of Wednesday night. Denton must be proud.

The Daily Show’s Woman Problem [Jezebel]

Yeah, Jon lacks grrrls. It’s a fooking comedy show, presided over by a mildly reformed frat boy who fortunately has a brain. He tells dick jokes and interviews Jimmy Carter. I’m sure that some of his best friends are women.

Ya think I’d get the ban hammer, or the cherished Disenvowelment, over at Jez if I made comments about how much I liked Olivia Moan?

Soooooo, I’d like to avoid clicking on the link to Jez. Who wrote the Stewart piece?

Please. Get a fuquing life. Write your own fuquing show and get it produced and build up a following.

I have a question for Stinque Geeque. How do I track down who owns a particular site?

@Benedick: who is will tell you unless they bought the domain name from a site like Go Daddy that allows them to remain anon.

ADD: Link should now go to the right site

@JNOV: Thanks, ya big geeque. So it is a godaddy site. Will they tell me? I have a godaddy site too (don’t judge me).

@JNOV: Found it. I haz teh mad skillz .

I won’t grant that its legitimate criticism at all, not one fucking iota. Its fucking politicized agenda-born horseshit. If the only tool you got is a hammer, everything looks like a nail. If you are a single-issue ideologue, everything looks like a manifestation of your issue, whether its feminism, or whatever. Its why I will read Gawker, but not Jezebel, its an endless parade of projection.

@Benedick: Indeed!

@Prommie: Gawker jumped the shark long before “jumped the shark” jumped the shark. Oh, ’round about the time Fonzie jumped the shark.

TJ/ Best ice packs for transporting food from NJ to NOLA overnight? The food should be in transit no more than 25 hours, but it’s going to be in a hot ass UPS bus/plane/bus. Ideas?

@JNOV: You should be able to get dry ice packs of the sort that are generally used for shipping life sciences research supplies through UPS, FedEx, USPS, etc. Check out Fischer Scientific at

@FlyingChainSaw: Truly, there is nothing you do not know. Why won’t the tachometer on my perkins T6-354 R-4 turbo diesel engine work? (240 HP, older model, no electronics whatsoever, do you need the serial number?) Is it because I put a cheap automobile alternator on it, instead of going for original equipment? When the alternator powers up, the tach needle flips up and down just once, but is otherwise dead.

Those ladies are so oppressed by the patriarchy, it’s a wonder they can get out of bed in the morning.

@FlyingChainSaw: Gracias, FCS! I went with ThermaFreeze (need ’em by tomorrow). I’m not doing the packing, so I have to drop off the cool packs, the UPS label and all that at the merchant sending the food. Blargh.

@TJ/ Jamie Sommers /TJ: +1

It used to be pretty good a long, long time ago.

Shall we all go over and troll the Jez for old time’s sake? We could post something witty in support of human sex traffic, for example, or suggest vaguely that women aren’t good at math. First disemvowelment wins!

@Tommmcat Still Gets Carly Confused With Meg: I’m game. I say we extol the virtues of airbrushing fatties.

@TJ/ Jamie Sommers /TJ: +1

@JNOV: I liked Moe, she had moxie. And yes, I know she has another site, or a micro-tweet, or something. I’m just faithful lazy.

@Tommmcat Still Gets Carly Confused With Meg: Sorta what I was proposing, but Manchu’s quick negatory makes me feel that maybe I’m at risk of having my keyboard privileges taken away. JNOV accused me of being drunk today! At work! As if….

SportJack: anyone see how the Eye-talians got beat by the Elbonians? It was close, then it wasn’t, then there were a lot of guys flopping and appealing for fouls, then it was close, then it was over. Quite a second half.

@Tommmcat Still Gets Carly Confused With Meg: I love me the ladies. I love their homemaking skills. I love how they’re always smiling. And if you need a cup of coffee they’ll always go fix one for you. I love to see them try to understand business when really they’d rather be home with the babies. I love how they pretend to understand the jokes on The Daily Show and their cute noses get all crinkly when they try to think. I love how they’re always so interested in what I do. Sure, I have to pretend to listen when they tell me all about how they cried so much at Beaches cause it’s just like them and their girlfriends but it’s so worth it when they go off to mix another batch of martinis. I sure so love me the ladies.

Proposed posting at jez

@Benedick: Gotta throw something about shoes in there and how they watch their figures and eat like birds (yes, I saw Alfie).

@Nabisco: I love Moe. ::sigh:: And you’re just giddy b/c you’re about to get your pipes cleaned…

@JNOV: and something about shaving. Them, not you.

@Dodgerblue: Does anyone call Tracie “Slut Machine” anymore? Throw something in about that and her hipster bangs. What was her blog?

@Prommie: It’s legitimate. Comedy is a product of perspective, and when you have a bunch of white dudes in the writers room, you’re missing opportunities.

Some of the (very rare…) best moments in recent SNL have been parodies of commercials for women’s products. Those parodies weren’t written by guys — they’re too knowing.

And the fact that the Daily Show has diversified in recent years shows that Jon Stewart is aware of the problem, and working on it. That Olivia tryout bit was a hilarious sendup of identity politics — which only worked because of all the identities on camera.

But comedy is a very harsh business, and you have to be a survivor to even reach the Daily Show, which is something of a low rung on television. That’s the story, and somebody like Tina Fey (former SNL head writer) would be the person to tell it.

A woman’s place is in the home, not the gym. They get all muscly and that’s so unappealing when they’re serving dinner.

In defense of the Jez, they ran a feature of 10 best moments of man-love by the USA soccer team. World Cup Hottie explosion!

@SanFranLefty: Agreed. But how did I get there? From Deadspin, which continues to have not only great posts but some great comments. The comments at Jez? Kinda like W, except with titsestrogen.

@Benedick: I know you’re still writing Jez-bait, but I have to strenuously disagree with this statement. I just saw a circus performance (think aerials and holy-shit gymnastics involving movement you didn’t think was physically possible) and I would have trembled with excitement if any of those muscley girls had paid me any attention beyond that due to a generic audience member.

@IanJ: That’s the whole new-gay thing kicking in, darling. You’ll get it sorted out.

@Benedick: Well, when the trapeze guy took off his shirt, it was certainly a thrilling moment. That man had about 15 grams of fat distributed over his entire body, and had the kind of muscle tone you’d expect from someone who spends all day lifting women with one arm (which he did repeatedly during the act).

@IanJ: I eat that much fat in one bite, forget each meal.

@nojo: Comedy is overwhelmingly male, but beyond that it exists in this male-dominated genre, I do not think there is anything peculiar to the daily show worthy of criticism. Other than Dorothy Parker, name the wits of the Algonquin Round Table. Was that Ross’s fault?

@Prommie: What I’m granting (and yes, partly for the sake of argument) is that the Daily Show is indeed testosterone-heavy, is a fair target for being testosterone-heavy (especially given its politics), but that in the end it suffers the sins of its profession.

I’m also granting that there’s a valid story there — but one that discusses contemporary comedy, not the Daily Show exclusively.

Comedy is a vicious meritocracy: Funny or Die. Hacks do get through, but unless you can develop an audience (and suffer years on the road), you ain’t getting paid. (Or you can take the Harvard-Simpsons route, but that’s a special career track.)

I think there’s an interesting sociological story out there about why guys are more willing to put up with it (or why clever women are discouraged in America), but that would take a lot more work than either Jez or I can manage. As it stands, quoting a handful of women who worked at the Daily Show eight years ago doesn’t do much to move the conversation.

@IanJ & @Benedick:

There’s several wimmins at my gym who’re more bulgy and muscly than me. Since generally I likes the big dudes, I have the confusion: I dunno whether to spit with jealously or be turned on.

@Prommie: You know what the best support for your theory is? The fact that this chick writes this piece just as TDS is about to bring on a second female correspondent.

@nojo: SNL is no meritocracy. From everything I read, its a vicious backstab and claw your way to success place, and the impact on the “funny” it puts out is obvious.

Tina Fey, meh. I don’t like self-effacing dumbass humor.

Seinfeldian “whats up with that” is the humor of the ignorant laughing at what they don’t know or understand. Its the opposite of the original, second-city, lampoon humor. Tina seems to be when SNL dumbed-down. She is a “whats up with that, I don’t get it” comedienne. Oh, and Colin Quinn replacing Norm McDonald.

Tina Fey is non-threatening, though, I suppose. I would propose that the visciousness of the male-comedy world may not be so intimidating that women are afraid to enter, as that women who have that viciousness such that they could compete, scare the men. Men are ascared of a woman with a rapier wit. Which is why I would note that too many female comedians are of the “nervous laughter” variety, they deliberately project a self-deprecating, tentative vibe, so as not to scare off the dudes. And then there is Ellen, who just sucks.

@Prommie: Scariest and funniest and filthiest stand-up I ever saw is Joan Rivers. Followed by Martha Raye who did a routine about the size of her cunt climaxed by her describing how it swallowed a bar stool (excuse me ladies). Then she hit me in the head with her shoe.

@Benedick: MARTHA RAYE!

@SanFranLefty: I have never seen a whole routine. :-(

Millie Jackson!

@Benedick: Ahh, so the big mouth had a big cunt, too?

@flippin eck: I don’t know her. Must investigate!

@JNOV: She’s been briefly on every TV show under the sun and in several of the Christopher Guest mockumentaries: Best in Show, A Mighty Wind, For Your Consideration. She was also in The 40-Year-Old Virgin and lately she’s been the only reason to watch Glee–her character, Sue Sylvester, is freaking hilarious.

@flippin eck: Catherine O’Hara! Okay — I’ll Google her right now.

ADD: Oh, yeah — I know her! <3

I liked Ellen and Paula Poundstone when they first got on TV as standups. Kathy Griffin is not so much standup as reading Gawker ot TMZ, but it’s entertaining. I look forward to Thursdays so I can watch Tina Fey (after late August I can resume having my my 30 Rock martini). I was aware of her work on SNL, but I quit watching that show around 1983.

ADD: I also really like the Wanda Sykes show, but I heard it’s been canceled. Too bad. It’s really damn funny.

ADD ADD: G4 Geek fave Olivia Munn is on TDS? Huh. I generally don’t care for Stewart. I’d rather fold laundry or wash dishes and come back for Colbert, but I’m Mr. Landscaper these days and am not watching that much tv. I put in a new 8 x 8 stone patio for my outdoor table over the past two nights, working by Coleman lantern until 9:30 or 10 after the sun went down.

Went to court today on behalf of bluegrass music today, of all things. Have not been able to shed the monkey suit yet, so I ‘m sitting here in wool pants and a tie. This shit is for the birds. Also: had to take the folding Buck knife, the Leatherman, tear gas and tactical flashlight out of the briefcase before heading over to the courthouse. One time I had a bunch of 9mm ammo rattling around in there after I put them in the bag when I cleaned out my desk or range bag but hadn’t gotten around to putting it up in the locker.

@redmanlaw: For some reason, courthouses frown on that kind of thing. I’ve got jury duty again on 7/20 (they’ve figured out I’m not a deadbeat candidate, so I can now expect to be reliably called up as soon as my 365 days run out), so I’m looking forward to another episode divesting myself of half the crap I normally carry around and taking the bus downtown.

@redmanlaw: I loved Ellen and Poundstone’s routines when they were pure standup. Is Paula the one on “Wait, wait: Don’t tell me?” Still very quick witted.

@JNOV: Me too. Some would say she’s”exotic”.

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