British television network ITV has taken the extraordinary decision to ban all-male comedy writing teams from its shows.
This follows an insight by the network’s Head of Comedy, Saskia Schuster, that “an awful lot of my comedy entertainment shows are made up of all male-writing teams.”
Truly this is an aperçu to rank with the Pope being Catholic, bears using woods as their toilets, night following day, etc.
Writer Brona C Titley, who works on Celebability, told the festival: “If you have the same type of writers in terms of race or sexual orientation or gender, then you’re only getting one kind of joke.”
If a show or a movie has only one woman on the poster, and they are rolling their eyes at the “funny” men on the poster, then I will 100% NOT watch the show or movie from that poster.
— Brona C. Titley (@bronactitley) June 17, 2019
Yes, it is perfectly true that now — and, indeed, ever since the dawn of TV comedy — roughly 99.99 per cent of the funniest shows are and have been written by men.
But what Ms Schuster hasn’t explained — perhaps she feels she doesn’t need to — is why this is a problem it is any of her business to try to remedy.
The sole purpose of the Head of Comedy at a TV network, surely, is to commission and produce lots of scripts that are funny and to reject scripts that aren’t funny.
Because men are on balance naturally funnier than women, this inevitably means that the vast majority of successful scripts will — or ought to be — submitted by men.
It also means that any attempts artificially to correct this gender imbalance will simply result in a reduction in the quality of comedy on ITV.
Here is the fictitious Titania McGrath’s take on this nonsense:
Whenever I hear a joke, I seek reassurance that at least 50% of the writers were female before signalling my approval through laughter. https://t.co/ALifw8uj9I
— Titania McGrath (@TitaniaMcGrath) June 18, 2019
Yes. That’s exactly it, isn’t it? For Generation Woke, comedy has much less to do with being funny than with pushing the correct gender and diversity buttons.
Or, as Andy Shaw puts it, in his excellent How to tell a joke in 2019:
In the olden days, laughter was an involuntary response to something funny. In our more enlightened times, we must consider the effect of a joke before we decide whether or not to engage in spontaneous laughter.
I wonder how dire ITV’s comedy output will have to get before the bosses notice that their Head of Comedy isn’t actually fulfilling her job description?
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