What happens when you put three female comedy writers on a panel at BlogHer, including none other than Lizz Winstead, the political satirist and co-creator of The Daily Show? Of course, they're going to talk about the alleged reports of sexism at The Daily Show -- and be totally hilarious while doing it.
In response to a recent Jezebel piece in which the author, Irin Carmon, alleged that the show is "a boys' club where women's contributions are often ignored and dismissed," Winstead defended the show and the political comedic landscape in general, saying that she would describe neither as a sexist environment:
It’s not a women thing, its a nerd thing. Take gender out of it -- people don’t focus, hone, or write in that style because there are very few avenues or paths leading down that road. It’s a hard subject matter to write about.
Winstead poked holes through the article's main argument, essentially showing how Carmon's allegations of sexism were misleading and failed to hold water -- at least from the point of view of a woman working (successfully) in comedy.
For one thing, she said that Carmon -- who made the point that women were scarce in the writers' room -- didn't understand how television works. True, The Daily Show might not have several women "writers." But similar to other shows, it has female producers who work there who also happen to write.
She also shed light on the fact that The Daily Show has a very specific voice -- a "geeky" voice, to be exact. Writers are chosen simply based on who can match that voice. Does gender matter? Probably not, given that the writing samples that come in are anonymous.
Given how successful she's been in the industry, Winstead's comments carry a lot of weight. But there's still the issue that women rarely make it on air ...
Are Winstead's comments convincing? Do you think The Daily Show -- and political comedy in general -- has a "women problem"?
Image via The BROADcast