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And Now, A Word From The Daily Show

Dear Feminists:

We work at the Daily Show. We are all women! Please do not make any enquiries as to whether we are hired or promoted at the same rate as men, or which opportunities are made available to us, as opposed to our male counterparts. For we are women. This should be enough for you.

Yes, women is what we are, and also we work at The Daily Show. We are all sorts of things: Production assistants! Administrative assistants! Writers’ assistants! So many of us women are assisting! Why, we even sometimes get our jokes on the air! But not our names, apparently, in many cases, or our faces, in all but three cases. Just because our names do not appear on the writers’ credits — just because we do not, as the saying goes, “get credit” for our work — this should not imply to you that our work is not valued! We are women! This is enough!

Also Jon Stewart is wonderful. He is our boyfriend. We have never experienced sexism at the hands of Jon Stewart that we are willing to write about in this public letter meant to rehabilitate the reputation of the show we are currently employed by, which is run by Jon Stewart. Also, have you checked us out? We’re women! Women women women. Boy howdy, what a bunch of women we are!

As for your suggestions that there are a multitude of female comedians who are funny, and who could provide a valuable addition to our predominantly male cast, or that our show — known for being liberal, and thereby concerning women, who tend to lean left and whose rights we so frequently discuss on air — might in fact demonstrate its stated principles better by employing women, LET ALONE your ridiculous suggestion that when looking for a female cast member we might favor women with backgrounds in comedy rather than a woman whose primary on-air achievement was licking the Nintendo Wii’s port on the day it came out while her obnoxious frat guy co-host chanted “lick it! Lick it, put your tongue on it” (strangely, our recollection of Olivia Munn’s career is identical to the recollections of Sady Doyle, who used to have to watch that show she was on because her boyfriend liked it): Ha, ha ha! What ridiculous suggestions! These are identical to the suggestions our Nanas make, which are useless!

Also, our Nanas are all talented comedians. You have never heard of them, because they are women. As are we! Women women women women women. That is what we are.

Love,

The Daily Show

(Which Has Some Women On It)

(Just Not, Most Of The Time, On Air)

PS: Olivia Munn told us to tell you that you all eat sandwiches, which is why you are bitches, and so fat, and no-one will ever hire you, because of how fat and ugly you bitches are. Women! The End.

84 Comments

  1. Andrew wrote:

    “Please do not make any enquiries as to what percentage of the show’s total staff we compose”, since we told you in paragraph 3: “we make up 40% of the staff.”

    Tuesday, July 6, 2010 at 2:10 pm | Permalink
  2. Sady wrote:

    @Andrew: Whoops! Also, do you have any points to contribute to this discussion, or are we just being snide today?

    Tuesday, July 6, 2010 at 2:19 pm | Permalink
  3. Rossa wrote:

    Oh Sady, you’re letter made me giddy like a 13-year old. If I had some scented erasers or pony stickers to send to you I would. Squeeee!!

    Tuesday, July 6, 2010 at 2:32 pm | Permalink
  4. Femocracy wrote:

    Thank you for this letter, which made my day. What I didn’t get about TDS’ letter was the defensiveness – I mean, it’s fine to defend your workplace, especially if you’re happy there, but why act like people who watch the show don’t have the right to ask questions at all? I don’t really remember anyone “attacking” TDS, as some backlashers suggested, but raising some legit critical points. And every writer who commented usually took the time to say “I love the show, and I adore Jon! But…”

    So they say “We don’t need to be in front of the camera…we do tons of work behind the scenes!” Isn’t that kind of the point of feminist criticism? Why do women have to be behind the scenes and uncredited? And only get a correspondent spot if they are Olivia Munn?

    Tuesday, July 6, 2010 at 2:48 pm | Permalink
  5. Samantha b. wrote:

    When I worked in advertising and in film, which very thankfully wasn’t that long, all of the women were on the production end, too. (“All” being the lazy and hyperbolic term for preponderance.)Probably I shouldn’t think this way, but it did grate that women were so inevitably put in the roles of tidying people’s ideas and putting them into order, i.e. a mom/wife with more $$$ and cooler toys. I’m horrifically biased by having no capacity or patience for putting things into order, so there’s that. But you do have to wonder when the numbers weigh out with such a fantastic imbalance.

    Also, it’s pretty well known that it’s easier- if not actually easy- to get into the production end of things. And for quite some time, ad firms have had the same comeback as the Daily Show here. So, yay Daily Show! Harvard Lampoon on the resumes be damned, you are all now ad agency hacks.

    Tuesday, July 6, 2010 at 2:59 pm | Permalink
  6. Shinobi wrote:

    I think this is a perfect example of how ideals break down when some people actually have to make an effort to make those things happend.

    I bet if the TDS tried they could find some chick writers/correspondants who were good. I think they are just getting stuck on the whole trying thing.

    Trying to change a paradigm means you have to actually do something different from the thing that you have always done. And that is apparently just too much to ask of even a liberal and idealistic establisment.

    Tuesday, July 6, 2010 at 3:23 pm | Permalink
  7. Jennifer wrote:

    I’m sure they are indispensable. Do you think they’ve seen this? http://www.despair.com/worth.html

    Tuesday, July 6, 2010 at 3:26 pm | Permalink
  8. bluebears wrote:

    This is the absolute perfect response to that patronizing letter. I’m giggling at my desk.

    Tuesday, July 6, 2010 at 3:29 pm | Permalink
  9. Jessicasays wrote:

    Love their PPS: Thanks to the male writers who penned this for us. Well, shit, wasn’t that the very thing we were pointing out in the first place? That if we’re half the population, why is it the guys doing all the damn narrating? Or am I having an IRONY FAIL moment here?

    Tuesday, July 6, 2010 at 3:39 pm | Permalink
  10. Scott wrote:

    I was a little surprised to see Olivia Munn on the Daily Show. Mostly because I find her timing terrible

    Tuesday, July 6, 2010 at 4:00 pm | Permalink
  11. JMS wrote:

    We make up 40% of the staff! And 0% of the credited writing staff! THERE’S NO SEXISM HERE NO WAY NO HOW.

    Tuesday, July 6, 2010 at 4:19 pm | Permalink
  12. Sady wrote:

    @JMS: Well, there are two or three credited writers on that list. But the rest of it is just kind of scrabbling. “We have women! Such as: Women who work in makeup!” I SEE.

    Tuesday, July 6, 2010 at 4:21 pm | Permalink
  13. Sady wrote:

    @Scott: Yeah. I think the “Olivia Munn is a slut who got here on her looks and we hate her” narrative that’s started to form is problematic, but the crucial reason her hiring is weird is that, as someone who used to watch her show, I can verify that she’s really not funny. Her affect is kind of blank and genial. Which does raise the question of why she was hired over other contenders, and what her role on the show is supposed to be, seeing as how they’ve got a whole bucketload of weird-looking dudes on screen who were obviously hired because they could tell jokes. And then one regular lady and once-in-a-blue-moon appearances from Schaal. It’s a weird thing to see.

    Tuesday, July 6, 2010 at 4:24 pm | Permalink
  14. Robin wrote:

    I needed to read this, so thank you for writing it.

    Tuesday, July 6, 2010 at 4:40 pm | Permalink
  15. Shinobi wrote:

    Oh also, this letter is exponentially funnier than TDS’s. Perhaps they should be trying to hire YOU.

    Tuesday, July 6, 2010 at 5:01 pm | Permalink
  16. Ennu wrote:

    Why did they drag Kristen Schaal out for this? Maybe she’s been a correspondent for two years, but that’s not saying much since her last segment was what-like a year ago? I wish they’d have her back on instead of Munn. At this point, I could seriously live with there just being two women as long as neither of them was Munn.

    Tuesday, July 6, 2010 at 5:12 pm | Permalink
  17. Stephanie wrote:

    I agree with Shinobi. If they are looking to actually put women on the air, they need look no further than Tiger Beatdown.

    Tuesday, July 6, 2010 at 5:14 pm | Permalink
  18. of making many books wrote:

    Why couldn’t they just acknowledge even just a tiny bit that sexism exists in comedy and ‘the industry’ that they are a part of, instead of really snarkily denying it? Because, before i used to watch the Daily Show and the ‘woman problem’ only vaguely bothered me; I could ignore it and enjoy the show. Now, my intelligence is insulted, and even by expressing this fact, I’ve become an internet harpy whose existence is a bane to the-opposite-of-sexist Jon Stewart. Why wouldn’t the show want to prevent that disenchantment from happening to its own fans? I don’t get how a tongue-in-cheek deflection is supposed to stand as proof that there’s no sexism there… since it basically circles back into a getting-defensive and not-taking-real-concerns-very-seriously Dudishness. (Because when awkward descriptions of sexism come from an ex-employee, obviously they’re just “bitter rantings,” and you know what she’s also probably “crazy” and “overemotional” too, and we ladies should be willing to take that assurance at face value because WE HAVE NEVER HAD TO DEAL WITH BEING WRITTEN OFF LIKE THAT BEFORE.) What’s a fan to do?

    Tuesday, July 6, 2010 at 5:20 pm | Permalink
  19. Amz wrote:

    ThankyouthankyouTHANKYOU for this! I read the TDS post first this morning, and had similar thoughts. Obviously, you are going to be miffed if you’re not facing the same conflicts as the people quoted in the Jezebel article (or Newsweek, or wherever it was originally) but to not even consider the arguments is really not a liberal way of going about things.

    That being said, it very well could be that the atmosphere there wasn’t all that bad to begin with, or has gotten better for women. I’d like to think that it has. I’d also like to think my dream job of being a writer on The Daily Show has gotten a bit better now that they’ve acknowledged the problem (and they have, because a defense is still an acknowledgment).

    Tuesday, July 6, 2010 at 5:27 pm | Permalink
  20. Kathleen wrote:

    OMMB:

    “I’ve become an internet harpy whose existence is a bane to the-opposite-of-sexist Jon Stewart”

    yeah, this is what kills me, too (you put it more funnily,tho): yet another iteration of lefty dudes who are totes cool with feminism till it looks at *them* and suddenly what’s really important is to call it out for its BASILISK STARE.

    oh, and I would like to add my voice to the chorus of “Sady for the Daily Show!”. If we all managed to find her comic talent w/o leaving the comfy environment of our chairs, how hard is TDS looking for female writers, really?

    Tuesday, July 6, 2010 at 5:37 pm | Permalink
  21. Victoria wrote:

    I guess I’m not terribly surprised by a charge of sexism aimed at The Daily Show. I haven’t watched it in a long time (because I’m one of those assholes who threw away the TV), but I used to get really uncomfortable with the number of homophobic jokes that showed up on air. It’s always seemed like a (very funny, maybe even politically important) straight boys’ club to me.

    Tuesday, July 6, 2010 at 5:38 pm | Permalink
  22. Jen wrote:

    Clearly, all of us folks worried about gender parity are just jealous, fat, hermetical bloggers who are not only just jealousss but also by asking questions we are Ruining it for the Real Feminists.

    Way to go, Sady!

    Tuesday, July 6, 2010 at 5:49 pm | Permalink
  23. Katie wrote:

    Jon Stewart is the best! He is superlative, hyperbole, he farts rainbows! And he most adamantly is the opposite of a “sexist prick,” despite the fact that the only one who leveled that charge at him was he himself on the air!

    “We feel lucky to work in a meritocracy where someone with talent can join us as an intern and work her way up to wherever her strengths take her.” Sure, not many womens’ merit, talent or strengths have taken them to head writer or on-screen roles, but that’s totally a coincidence that has nothing to do with anything!

    “And so, while it may cause a big stir to seize on the bitter rantings of ex-employees and ignore what current staff say about working at The Daily Show, it’s not fair.” Clearly, people who need to work and need the income those jobs provide are totally able and eager to risk biting the hand that feeds them. That’s totally a thing that happens all the time. Which is why unions and anti-discriminations laws have never needed to exist.

    “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.” In families, womens’ roles and work are never undervalued, ever! Even in admittedly dysfunctional families! Families are so awesome, because they are also based soley on at-will employment, are filled with love in pecuniary form, and never ever abusive. Everyone loves families! We would have used a pony metaphor, because everyone also loves ponies, but then we remembered that ponies poo a lot! And it smells! And our poo, it does not stink!

    Tuesday, July 6, 2010 at 6:11 pm | Permalink
  24. Katie wrote:

    Uh, the shorter version of what I was trying to say is that TDS letter reads a whole lot like whistling past the graveyard sounds.

    Tuesday, July 6, 2010 at 6:13 pm | Permalink
  25. Kat wrote:

    Thank you for writing this! My first thought when I read the original letter was, “Why is there only one woman listed as a writer?” If there’s no sexism, why aren’t there as many women in the visible roles on the show? Why are there SO many fewer women guests?

    Tuesday, July 6, 2010 at 7:05 pm | Permalink
  26. JMS wrote:

    Well, there are two or three credited writers on that list.

    That is a change from the last time I checked! Well, clearly why are we complaining—obviously everything has been fixed! HURRAY FOR JON STEWART, THE LADIES’ FRIEND!

    Tuesday, July 6, 2010 at 7:31 pm | Permalink
  27. JMS wrote:

    (Not saying you were saying that, Ms. Sady.)

    Tuesday, July 6, 2010 at 7:31 pm | Permalink
  28. Alexandra wrote:

    This just further supports the “women aren’t funny” stereotype.

    Tuesday, July 6, 2010 at 7:52 pm | Permalink
  29. Ryan wrote:

    This is awesome. “Here’s a picture of ALL the women, smiling!” is just a weird and uncomfortable way to respond to the Jezebel article.

    Tuesday, July 6, 2010 at 8:00 pm | Permalink
  30. Jasmin wrote:

    This made me laugh so much, thanks!!

    Tuesday, July 6, 2010 at 8:14 pm | Permalink
  31. Samantha b. wrote:

    @Shinobi, I tend to think that they don’t think of themselves as idealistic but rather “pragmatic,” as in we’re not total dumbfucks who want to send the economy into the ground, but we have minimal interest in the rest of you, because why? I haven’t watched it all the way through since my partner passed 6 months ago, but I do remember walking out a lot on the “common sense” bits.

    I also tend to think that the interest in “changing the paradigm” should be properly credited to Lizz Winstead and Madeleine Smithberg. They are the *producers* who originated the concept for the Daily Show but, having nothing to say in their own right, were, in due time, shuffled off. I would imagine they’re a little less idealistic now?

    Tuesday, July 6, 2010 at 8:19 pm | Permalink
  32. William wrote:

    As to what’s actually going on at The Daily Show, I dunno. But some people here are surprised at the defensive tone of the open letter. The reason for that seems pretty obvious to me; they took the Jezebel piece as an attack.

    That’s not unreasonable; it is titled “The Daily Show’s Woman Problem” and opens by saying it’s “a boys’ club where women’s contributions are often ignored and dismissed” and goes on to say the show is run with “joyless rage.”

    With the conversation starting out like that, there’s no particular reason to expect The Daily Show people to be perfectly thoughtful and open in reply.

    Also, it’s not unreasonable that they defend The Daily Show as a good place to work despite the stats if, say, it’s in better shape than other comedy TV options. An employee standard is often the other jobs they might reasonably take, which is different than the in-a-perfect-world standard people from a distance often use.

    Tuesday, July 6, 2010 at 8:45 pm | Permalink
  33. A Nonny Moose wrote:

    @William. Oh, those joyless raging feminists, they’re so ANGRY. If they only adjusted their TONE, their message would be received better…

    Tuesday, July 6, 2010 at 9:19 pm | Permalink
  34. Brimstone wrote:

    http://www.avclub.com/articles/women-of-the-daily-show-respond-to-accusations-tha,42829/

    my fave media site turned into an asshole while covering this

    Tuesday, July 6, 2010 at 10:39 pm | Permalink
  35. Jessica wrote:

    Gotta love Jon’s throwaway comment about this in his monologue the other night: “…Jezebel thinks I’m a sexist prick”, listed among the many irritants that make him want to just play clips from Fox and Friends all the time. Because, you know, feminists, amiright? Always going on about discrimination when men have important things to do, like write books! Or make fun of Fox and Friends! Don’t they know that Jon Stewart is a liberal, and therfore cannot be criticized? And also here’s a photo of a bunch of smiling ladies, which invalidates all your criticism.

    It’s just the trivializing that gets to me, you know? And I say this as a person who watches TDS every night.

    Tuesday, July 6, 2010 at 10:49 pm | Permalink
  36. Melissa wrote:

    “Jezebel says I’m a sexist prick”?? Seriously, that’s not remotely what the article says.

    I mean, they could have written about sexism on, say, Letterman, or Limbaugh or O’Reilly, but that’s pretty low-hanging fruit there. Frankly, I think the TDS article was written (and was poignant) BECAUSE Stewart and his cohorts have shown us that we can expect better from them.

    Tuesday, July 6, 2010 at 11:47 pm | Permalink
  37. Brenda wrote:

    While I generally am on board with the idea that The Daily Show would benefit from having more ladies on it and writing it (not to mention as guests!), I am uncomfortable with the dismissing of the actual things that women currently working there are saying (though obviously a – the show could have commented to Jezebel when they were researching the post and b – they obviously will say nice things about their boss and workplace which are probably exaggerated because I’m pretty sure the world of TV comedy is a reasonably cutthroat business and not a happy family). I am not saying I 100% disagree with you, Sady, but I am uncomfortable with the kinds of judgement we’re making.

    Also…the assistant thing seems a little bit dismissive of the actual roles of women on the show. I counted 5 women with “assistant” job titles on the list, of the 30+ women who work there. There are other jobs in TV that aren’t writing or being on-air that are maybe not visible, but still important — and I don’t see what’s wrong with women being proud of them?

    Basically what I’m saying is I agree with both sides of the issue, but I also think both sides are being unfair.

    Wednesday, July 7, 2010 at 1:24 am | Permalink
  38. Emma wrote:

    BASICALLY EVERYTHING HERE. EVEN THE COMMENTS.
    That letter is so ridiculous. I can tell I’m being patronized as soon as I load it and see all those pretty, overwhelmingly white, smiling faces! (I love the unnecessary need to say women work in makeup. No, really? Ugh.)
    Instead of blithely dismissing any legitimate arguments about TDS’s representation of women, they come out with this tripe as a non-response. And the PPS: I hope that is sarcasm–it’s hard to tell on the intertubes–because if it isn’t, time to cry for what TDS used to be.

    It’s been shite ever since they came back from Memorial Day. Jon started slaying Obama right away for not having solved all the world’s problems yet, hated on journalists for wanting to go to a fun party with the VP for a day, and couldn’t be bothered to learn how voting works in South Carolina (or get one of his lady assistants to look it up for him). It just hasn’t been as funny and now this is a GIANT stain on their credibility. (Plus Olivia Munn’s ever-classy opinions of feminists, who merely need to take their sandwiches out of their mouths, take a goddamn walk fucking walk [her words] and then have our opinions fucked out of us with a large penis.)

    Ahem. Sorry.

    In summary: this was hilarious, Sady you should be hired fo’ sho’ and also I may start looking around for other things to watch at 11 pm. Nothing good can last, I reckon.

    Wednesday, July 7, 2010 at 1:47 am | Permalink
  39. Ari wrote:

    It upsets me that Jon Stewart/his writing team decided it would be better/funnier to lampoon the Jezebel article & feminist critique of The Daily Show than to address the problem. He’s not a stupid man. He/they ought to know better than to use it as cheap fodder for a laugh. The feminists aren’t his enemies, and we’re used to him mocking the same people whose arguments we feminists also want to break down.

    Wednesday, July 7, 2010 at 2:06 am | Permalink
  40. Lisbeth wrote:

    Oh. He’s “charming”. I see. It must all be OK then.

    No-one described as charming has ever held a remotely problematic attitude towards women. At all. /Ever./

    I don’t know what to think about this whole thing overall, because I haven’t been following it that closely, but seriously, of all the words to choose…

    Wednesday, July 7, 2010 at 4:10 am | Permalink
  41. fafnir wrote:

    Dear Sady,

    I love you.

    Love,
    fafnir

    Wednesday, July 7, 2010 at 9:14 am | Permalink
  42. Gayle Force wrote:

    Brenda, I don’t think both sides are being unfair. Sady’s letter was about how much things like the wage gap, and getting credit for work, and having women in the highest levels of employment on the show matter. And when you look at all those women’s professions (hi, makeup department), there are a great number who are not in high positions. They don’t get credit on the show. And while maybe jokes come out of the makeup department, do you think they get paid for them? Or recognized for them? Will this forward their career? Definitely not.

    The picture of all the women smiling was creepy. It was like, here we all are, happy and content under the glass ceiling! Never mind the important things, like salaries or basic numbers of who works where! Also, Jon Stewart, he is so CHARMING!

    I feel like if you had interviewed all the secretaries working in Mad Men, you might get the same response. I don’t want to see pictures of smiling women. That’s a front, meant to be a distraction. I want to see salary differentials and a breakdown in employment by gender. Otherwise, claims about the Daily Show having a “woman problem” stand.

    Wednesday, July 7, 2010 at 9:38 am | Permalink
  43. CassieC wrote:

    Oh no! fafnir is competing with me for Sady’s affections! And all this time I was thinking that they were the same person, since they are tied for “funniest and truest evah” on the internet.

    I give up. I will just be happy to giggle from afar at the funnies of the lovechildren of Sady and fafnir.

    Wednesday, July 7, 2010 at 9:41 am | Permalink
  44. Samantha b. wrote:

    @Brenda, I don’t think anyone’s saying that those women’s jobs aren’t valuable, but there is a not small significance to having women in positions that are visible, no? And production can mean different things, but it often involves a reasonable amount of deferral. Why isn’t it important for women to be realizing their own visions, too? These don’t seem like controversial things for feminists to be saying.

    Wednesday, July 7, 2010 at 10:46 am | Permalink
  45. PeeMikGee wrote:

    Here’s a show that’s been around for well over a decade, who has been listing their credits as clearly as anyone. No one to my knowledge took issue with its opperation until they hire a woman, who has been in Maxim, to be a face that their audience looks at. This is clearly a problem because being conventionally beautiful should hurt a woman’s chances of being on TV? (She has also been a TV personality for a few years, but her previous show never earned the high standards to which we hold the TDS. So it was ok for her to work there). All of a sudden there’s presumptions bandied around, about how painful it must be to work on TDS while being a woman. Is this not ‘splaining?

    What is being expected from TDS? Are its correspondents supposed to be a balanced presentation of oppressed faces? Should half of the production staff be female? the writing staff? Is it only who’s onscreen that’s important?

    When I read that list of jobs I see writers, producers, a facility manager, I see important and powerful positions. But then, I’m biased, and you see what you look for.

    Wednesday, July 7, 2010 at 11:05 am | Permalink
  46. wembley wrote:

    Are its correspondents supposed to be a balanced presentation of oppressed faces?

    My God, such crazy talk!

    Wednesday, July 7, 2010 at 11:21 am | Permalink
  47. blondie wrote:

    @ Gayle Force — “The picture of all the women smiling was creepy. It was like, here we all are, happy and content under the glass ceiling!”

    Good one. Who knows what subconscious quirk caused the camera angle, but that’s as good a guess as any.

    Sadly, TDS’s women’s defense of their employer would be similar to all the Congressmen and Senators on Capital Hill, (where it’s indisputable that women are wildly underrepresented as legislators) marching their staff out on the Capital steps to say, “See. There’s lots of women on Capital Hill!”

    Wednesday, July 7, 2010 at 11:50 am | Permalink
  48. Kathleen wrote:

    OMG Sady and Fafnir please make a baby!!!!! It would be the funniest being on the planet.

    :)

    Wednesday, July 7, 2010 at 12:15 pm | Permalink
  49. Victoria wrote:

    @Brenda & @Gayle: It’s worth remembering, too, that this “response” was presented on a web site that serves as a PR tool for the show, not some kind of independent venue. The response letter was a marketing tool, plain and simple, probably written by someone in Comedy Central’s PR division. In that light, it’s pretty hard to take it as anything else. All marketing should be read with a very critical eye, including the letter in question.

    Wednesday, July 7, 2010 at 12:29 pm | Permalink
  50. fieldwoman wrote:

    This letter is clearly ironic. It’s a comedic effort to validate the feminist critique of the Daily Show. Anyone unable to recognize the irony probably also believes that Stephen Colbert is actually a republican.

    Wednesday, July 7, 2010 at 12:44 pm | Permalink
  51. bh wrote:

    Thank you for this post.

    The best responses from TDS defenders I’ve seen are that we can’t really judge the show without access to the numbers: how many men and women have applied for creative positions vs how many received them, that sort of thing. This is true, but it’s all the more frustrating then that TDS’s response wasn’t to give us any actual information that could dispel the sexism criticism; their response was to scoff at critics for being uninformed. :/

    Wednesday, July 7, 2010 at 1:21 pm | Permalink
  52. AnthroK8 wrote:

    I am a very lucky girl.

    *click*

    I am a very lucky girl.

    *click*

    I am a very lucky girl.

    Stepford Producers!

    ANYWAY. Nice post Sady. I’m glad TDS is doing BETTER than other shows when it comes to lady-hiring. However, if I were funny enough to have my jokes end up on air at TDS, I’d like everyone and their sainted grannies to know about it. And I don’t care who knows.

    Wednesday, July 7, 2010 at 1:25 pm | Permalink
  53. alleen wrote:

    Ever since I saw “The Ladies of TSG” message about how 40% of the staff are women I’ve been imagining a similar rebuttal if it had come from the women of Sterling Cooper.

    Peggy, Joan, et al posing for a photo and saying “We love working for the guys here. See? They hire lots of women here!”

    Wednesday, July 7, 2010 at 2:00 pm | Permalink
  54. SKM wrote:

    He’s not a stupid man. He/they ought to know better than to use it as cheap fodder for a laugh.

    He’s not a stupid man, and that’s why he used it as cheap fodder for a laugh. Making fun of feminists is easy and popular; it’s the fastest way to deflect the criticism.

    Wednesday, July 7, 2010 at 2:04 pm | Permalink
  55. AnthroK8 wrote:

    Also, I am glad that the funny ladies in the makeup department are happy that they have their uncredited jokes on the air. Wonderful.

    The issue is, are they having their funny uncredited jokes on the air as often as the hilarious set-sweeper or security-providing guys are having their uncredited jokes put on the air?

    AND THEN, are the funny ladies having their jokes on air with credit, and funny ladies performing on air, at the same rate as the credited guys and the the on air guys?

    No? Well, you still have a problem TDS.

    Wednesday, July 7, 2010 at 2:07 pm | Permalink
  56. Kat wrote:

    “It upsets me that Jon Stewart/his writing team decided it would be better/funnier to lampoon the Jezebel article & feminist critique of The Daily Show than to address the problem.”

    Had the critique involved more than a few former employees and general facts about gender disparities in comedy. Then maybe it would have deserved a more serious response. Like a poster above me all the TDS drama seems to have coincided with the hiring of Munn.

    Wednesday, July 7, 2010 at 2:16 pm | Permalink
  57. fieldwoman wrote:

    I realize that my remark didn’t make sense, since I hadn’t realized that it was making fun of the letter by the women at TDS. Now I’m caught up after reading the original letter and the Jezebel article. As a woman who worked in the TV industry, including exposure to the world of comedy, I agree that it’s still a boys club. But discrimination by men is only a fraction of the whole story. Women are socialized to be less competitive than men. In a competitive industry as show biz, as in many industries, that proves detrimental to advancement. Low-ranking men also get treated poorly. Emotional vulnerability is not tolerated. I’ve also witnessed discrimination by women against women. The women in positions of authority didn’t get there by being pretty. They got there by being tough and shrewd. It leaves plenty of room for senior-level women, who feel threatened by the potential of lower-paid junior women to take their jobs, to intimidate and bully their competition. It’s show-biz, and at every step of the way, it’s about putting on a show.

    Wednesday, July 7, 2010 at 2:20 pm | Permalink
  58. snobographer wrote:

    It’s always struck me as ironic that, as much of a frat boy prick Craig Kilborn was, and as smart and politically enlightened Stewart’s supposed to be, there were a lot more female TDS correspondents when Kilborn hosted the show. Though I’m not sure how much control Kilborn had over casting or if that was all Winstead’s and Smithburg’s doing. I’ve missed Bethelford with an aching, aching heart since she left. Where the hell is that lady?!
    Nancy Wall was killer too.
    It’s interesting that Sam Bee’s been the only regular female TDS correspondent for more than five years now and Stewart only noticed just now since The Feminists started making noise about it. Best response is to get defensive and sic one of your two lady-correspondents on them to call them a bunch of whiny shrews!

    Wednesday, July 7, 2010 at 2:23 pm | Permalink
  59. snobographer wrote:

    @of making many books #18

    Yeah, this response makes me want to somehow not watch TDS even more than I was already not watching it.

    I don’t understand why sexists always get defensive like this when somebody points out their sexism. Stewart knows damn well how few female writers and correspondents he has. It’s ridiculous for him to blame anti-sexists for pointing out what he set up himself. Big baby.

    Wednesday, July 7, 2010 at 2:46 pm | Permalink
  60. Kerri wrote:

    Especially being a comic, I dont care if the editor and hairstylist think female comics are not discriminated against on the show.
    Also, just because you are woman also doesnt mean you are automatically not sexist also. How do we know these women speaking out are not sexist even in just a passive way of tolerating it.
    there must be something wrong with the women staff if that was the funniest most intelligent comeback they could think up between the 30 of them

    Wednesday, July 7, 2010 at 3:09 pm | Permalink
  61. smadin wrote:

    No one to my knowledge took issue with its opperation until they hire a woman, who has been in Maxim, to be a face that their audience looks at. [emphasis added.]

    Allow me to suggest, in all kindness, PeeMikGee, that the problem here may be with the extent of your knowledge on the subject.

    Wednesday, July 7, 2010 at 3:22 pm | Permalink
  62. smadin wrote:

    Making fun of feminists is easy and popular; it’s the fastest way to deflect the criticism.

    Agreed, SKM, and in particular treating a structural critique as a baseless personal attack is a bog-standard way to (try to) avoid dealing with any real issues that may be present while making your critic look like an asshole.

    Wednesday, July 7, 2010 at 3:47 pm | Permalink
  63. small wrote:

    @PEEMIKGEE: Apparently I have some thoughts about this.

    Are its correspondents supposed to be a balanced presentation of oppressed faces?

    Choose any or all appropriate answers:
    a) Why not?
    b) Is this a problem?
    c) Or a bad thing?
    d) Since “oppressed” usually means people who’s voices aren’t generally heard?
    e) You’re abusing this multiple-choice gag and these answers no longer make sense.
    f) Other

    Should half of the production staff be female?

    Ditto.

    the writing staff?

    Ditto again.

    Is it only who’s onscreen that’s important?

    Of course not. (And I don’t think anyone ever claimed it was.) Flip that around and you’ll see why – “is it only who’s offscreen that’s important?” Just because there are many women behind the camera doesn’t make it ok that there are very few (or none) in front of it.

    Wednesday, July 7, 2010 at 4:37 pm | Permalink
  64. Kathleen wrote:

    Smadin you maded me laugh.

    Wednesday, July 7, 2010 at 4:50 pm | Permalink
  65. sarah wrote:

    “Also Jon Stewart is wonderful. He is our boyfriend.”

    ahahahahahahah. hahah. haaaaa.

    Wednesday, July 7, 2010 at 8:17 pm | Permalink
  66. Mireille wrote:

    For those saying that Jezebel only started writing about this because of Olivia Munn, that’s not true. They were writing about women in the writing room on Lettermen and Leno (I don’t watch either and Leno is aaaaawfullllll) a couple months ago and this was just bringing that critique to a show that resonates more with its readership. I thought it was a logical step in analyzing the issue of women in the writing room, particularly on night time talk shows.

    Wednesday, July 7, 2010 at 11:40 pm | Permalink
  67. Helen wrote:

    And the PPS: I hope that is sarcasm–it’s hard to tell on the intertubes–because if it isn’t, time to cry for what TDS used to be.

    I like to think that some lowly female content-updater for the TDS female website, after having been co-opted for the happy happy shiny WOMEN!!! photoshoot (“No, I’m not saying you HAVE to do this, I’m just saying if you don’t get your arse on this here podium it might affect your, er, future prospects here”)sneaked that last line in as a heroic gesture of snarky rebellion.

    But I know it’s most likely just a fantasy.

    Thursday, July 8, 2010 at 9:18 am | Permalink
  68. Ennu wrote:

    Yep, I’m pretty sure I’m never watching The Daily Show again:
    http://www.salon.com/books/int/2010/07/07/olivia_munn_interview/index.html

    Thursday, July 8, 2010 at 9:34 am | Permalink
  69. Erin wrote:

    I think Munn is doing a good job of responding to all the bullshit thrown at her by Jezebel. Those people are hateful, and not what I consider feminist. I will definitely watch TDS when she is on.

    Thursday, July 8, 2010 at 10:23 am | Permalink
  70. Erin wrote:

    This entire deal has made me realize that much of the feminist blogosphere is just women criticizing other women. It reminds me of something Sady said when she was doing the stint over at some other blog writing about music (in the post about John Mayer). Yeah, I get it. Writing a post critiquing Taylor Swift or Olivia Munn is more interesting than writing about your average garden variety asshole sexist. But it is still bullshit. And it makes me really sad.

    Yes, that Jezebel piece criticized Stewart and TDS, but there were many more earlier posts that just criticized Munn. How much of a chance to comedians like Munn have at success when people like us spend so much energy putting them through the ringer? And I’m sure all of this won’t negatively affect Stewart’s career, but what is it going to do to Munn’s? Or do we not care about that? Megan Fox can be on the list of women we like, but not Munn apparently.

    You all can stop watching TDS, but this has just made me decide to stop reading Jezebel.

    Thursday, July 8, 2010 at 10:43 am | Permalink
  71. SKM wrote:

    Re that Salon link Ennu posted: the writer refers to the response from TDS women employees as “a saucy rebuttal”. FFS. So, women who are defending the status quo are taken at their word and dismissed at the same time. Nice.

    Saucy infuckingdeed.

    Thursday, July 8, 2010 at 11:16 am | Permalink
  72. Ennu wrote:

    @SKM
    I KNOW! I felt like it totally crapped all over Tracy Clark-Flory’s actually thoughtful article from before.

    Thursday, July 8, 2010 at 11:21 am | Permalink
  73. Ennu wrote:

    I’m wondering if the author was afraid that if she said the wrong thing then Munn would just start yelling at her and calling her an ugly bitch. Or take the opportunity to call her a cunt instead since she thinks the term is so underused.
    Ugh. I can’t stand this shit anymore.

    Thursday, July 8, 2010 at 11:25 am | Permalink
  74. E wrote:

    @Erin

    Bloggers don’t write about Taylor Swift or Lady Gaga or Olivia Munn because it’s more interesting to write about ladies than about sexist dudes. They write about them because sexism and patriarchy are institutional problems, problems that women can put forth and reflect just as men can. Feminism isn’t about infighting, just as it isn’t about persecuting dudes: it’s about pointing out instances of sexism, inequality, and oppression, however they happen to occur. We all mess up sometimes, and we all need to call out oppressive behavior — or own, and other people’s.

    Thursday, July 8, 2010 at 12:11 pm | Permalink
  75. snobographer wrote:

    @Mirielle #66 – I’ve been lamenting the dearth of female correspondents on TDS since Beth Littleford and Nancy Wall quit.

    Thursday, July 8, 2010 at 12:40 pm | Permalink
  76. Ennu wrote:

    Okay, I know three comments in a row is a little much, especially since I rarely comment at all ever, but this is stressing me right the fuck out.

    To women levying the “why are you criticizing/being mean to/ being so hard on her! She’s a woman and so her success must be good for all women regardless of anything she actually says/does/stands for” defense:
    Can we please stop pretending like women can only be feminists if they never criticize other women and prove this by supporting a woman who goes out of her way to put other women down? I thought we already covered this with Sarah Palin!

    Thursday, July 8, 2010 at 1:04 pm | Permalink
  77. Ockeghem wrote:

    Picking up a bit on Fieldwoman’s remarks: While I like a good satire, and I had some of the same issues with the TDS letter (could they say anything bad if they wanted to? It’s their employer), I’m not sure any of this (Jezebel, TDS letter, Olivia Munn’s comments, this post) moves the debate forward.

    My reaction after reading your post was: a) Every workplace is sexist, especially by the standards set out here. Okay, any woman with a fair amount of experience knows this. What’s the story here, really? Some are better than others — some places, the male execs walk into meetings with a diagram of a penis to illustrate a point, some places they don’t (yes, I speak from experience). But hey, TDS actually allowed Sam Bee to keep working in front of the cameras through her pregnancy and come back to the same job (not a substantively similar but sidelined one, which meets the legal requirements but ends the mother’s career at the company), and that’s a hell of a lot better than some places I’ve worked. So why are we all knocking TDS? How about we talk about Letterman — sounds like TDS is a much better place to work? How about we talk about the sexism in all workplaces, of which TDS is not likely the best poster child?

    b) Yes, there are a lot of “assistants” on the list of signatories. But here’s what you don’t account for — in my experience, many mothers *choose* to take assistant positions because they want to focus a little more on the home front than on the work front. There is a degree of agency here that you’re not accounting for. Choices like that are not TDS’ fault, or Jon Stewart’s fault.

    Jezebel’s not doing themselves any favors in this debate, and Olivia Munn sure isn’t, either. (And no, I don’t think she’s particularly funny, but that’s a different debate.) But I think all the umbrage at the expense of The Daily Show might be misplaced.

    Thursday, July 8, 2010 at 2:47 pm | Permalink
  78. SKM wrote:

    Or take the opportunity to call her a cunt instead since she thinks the term is so underused.

    And don’t forget–”overanalyzed”! We should be slingin’ that shit around as thoughtlessly as ever we can!

    Thursday, July 8, 2010 at 3:41 pm | Permalink
  79. PeeMikGee wrote:

    @SMADIN, You are right, my knowledge was not extensive enough. A half hour of trying to remove recent posts from google results yields: http://www.mixedmediawatch.com/2006/07/06/is-the-daily-show-racist/
    http://bit.ly/aiqnBx &
    http://bitchmagazine.org/post/in-which-i-gingerly-criticize-jon-stewart

    I’m sure there would be more if Jon wasn’t treated like some progressive messiah one can only criticize “gingerly.” Or if I were better at searching.

    @SMALL I’m going to go with (D). And, the only response I can make (and it’s a weak one) is that TDS is not in the business of giving voice to the voiceless. TDS gives voice to the inner anxieties and angers of a very privileged demographic. It’d be good if they used that platform a bit more radically more often, but balancing preaching and entertainment is hard. I’m a bit bewildered that people would expect entertainers to not err on the side of entertainment.

    Thursday, July 8, 2010 at 5:19 pm | Permalink
  80. snobographer wrote:

    Ennu wrote:

    Can we please stop pretending like women can only be feminists if they never criticize other women and prove this by supporting a woman who goes out of her way to put other women down? I thought we already covered this with Sarah Palin!

    Further, there’s a big difference between criticizing a woman’s actions and ideals (possibly feminist) and criticizing a woman’s appearance and calling her a stupid bimbo (not feminist).

    Thursday, July 8, 2010 at 8:01 pm | Permalink
  81. Not much that I could say that hasn’t been said yet, especially considering that, being a brazilian woman, I don’t have TDS on tv in any channel, and only watch it online semi-regularly. *But*: as a brazilian woman, it’s been months that every time I watch TDS, I have to remember myself consciously to try to ignore how incredibly offensive and hurtful to brazilians (brazilian women above all) this was:
    http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/mon-october-5-2009/chicago-nope

    Thursday, July 8, 2010 at 8:27 pm | Permalink
  82. Miasma wrote:

    Considering how they completely fail on the race front (anyone notice how overwhelming white that pic was that supposedly featured a portion of their female employees and how there is maybe 2 minority correspondents as of now on the show), I’m not at all surprised that they fail when it comes to equal hiring of genders. Also, I find Olivia Munn painfully unfunny but I’ll try to give her another chance.

    Anyways, TDS’ letter was just facepalm worthy, but hell, TDS has MANY moments where they seem to be completely oblivious to their racism, sexism, and homophobia. I’m not excusing them, but hell I’m not surprised.

    Friday, July 9, 2010 at 3:12 am | Permalink
  83. CassieC wrote:

    @Ockeghem

    You’re argument about “all employers are shitty so stop writing about it” is very hollow indeed. How are things ever supposed to change if no one calls anyone out on it? It’s not that most employers are not sexist: as Jezebel and Sady pointed out, TDS pretends to be progressive. Guess what: feminism SHOULD be part of that.

    Also this post sums it up pretty nicely, when it comes to being blaze about shitty environments:
    http://shakespearessister.blogspot.com/2010/05/more.html

    Friday, July 9, 2010 at 4:36 am | Permalink
  84. Ennu wrote:

    @Snobographer:
    Agreed.

    Friday, July 9, 2010 at 4:54 am | Permalink

6 Trackbacks/Pingbacks

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  4. [...] Show put out an open letter insisting that Jon Stewart isn’t sexist. Cue the (hilarious) response to that letter and the debate over whether or not new TDS female correspondent Olivia Munn is worthy of being a [...]

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