[T]he BBC made it policy early in 2014 to ensure at least one woman appears on each panel show. Frankly, it was about time, given the move followed years of men dominating such programmes.If comedians are comedians, pure and simple, then why does the BBC need to mandate at least one woman on each panel show. The point is that most audiences don't rock with laughter at "female comedians". Very, very few female comedians are even remotely funny, and watching a UK panel show makes that all the more obvious. Men still dominate the panel shows, the difference is that now there is a woman on the panel, mostly sitting there in silence watching her nominal peers be funny.
Heck, I shouldn’t even be talking about “female comedians”; "female" isn’t a genre of comedy. Comedians are comedians, pure and simple. Audiences don’t rock with laughter at comedians because they’re women. They laugh because they’re funny. Heck, I shouldn’t even be talking about “female comedians”; "female" isn’t a genre of comedy. Comedians are comedians, pure and simple. Audiences don’t rock with laughter at comedians because they’re women. They laugh because they’re funny.
Watch an old episode of Mock the Week sometime. Frankie Boyle effortlessly dominates the show, but even the lesser male comedians are as far beyond the women posing as comedians as Boyle is beyond them. I used to amuse myself sometimes by counting how long it took before the token female comedian on the show dared to open her mouth for the first time. And when she did, it's usually some short joke based on the tired old cliche of there being humor in the notion of a woman saying something sexually rude.
Actually, some of the funniest moments were the expressions on the faces of the women on the show in reaction to something hilariously offensive that Frankie said. So, I suppose there is a defensible reason for having women posing as comedians on panel shows so long as Frankie is on there too. Call it the Boyle Rule.
Consider, here are what one woman posing as a comedian claims are the very best jokes told by women:
- "The best way to a man's heart is through his hanky pocket with a bread knife" - Jo Brand
- "A woman without a man is like a fish without a bicycle" - Gloria Steinem
- "I saw a pair of knickers today - on the front it said, 'I would do anything for love' and on the back it said 'but I won't do that'" - Sarah Millican
- "Gravity is the story of how George Clooney would rather float away into space and die than spend one more minute with a woman his own age" - Tina Fey
- “In advertisements, there are just two types of women: wanton, gagging for it; or vacuous. We’re either coming on a window-pane, or laughing at salads” - Bridget Christie
- "I blame my mother for my poor sex life. All she told me was, 'The man goes on top and the woman underneath'. For three years my husband and I slept in bunk beds" - Joan Rivers
- "I was raped by a doctor, which is so bittersweet for a Jewish girl" - Sarah Silverman
- “Men don’t realise that if we’re sleeping with them on the first date, we’re probably not interested in seeing them again either” - Chelsea Handler.
Meanwhile, good male comedians throw off much funnier jokes across a much wider range of topics just in passing:
- (To a crowd in Newcastle) You may not recognize my accent. It is, in fact, educated. - Simon Evans
- I've been studying Israeli army martial arts. I now know 16 ways to kick a Palestinian woman in the back. - Frankie Boyle
- (On being mugged in Hull) Incredibly awkward when you're involved in a confrontation of this sort and you have to spend the whole time saying 'I'm terribly sorry, young man, but I really can't understand a word.' Turned out he was saying 'give me your money'. I said, what, all of it? Most of it's tied up in land. - Miles Jupp