I’ve long been a comedy fan, and groaned when a BBC senior executive publicly announced last year that all-male panels on comedy panel shows would no longer be permitted. Why? Because the number of comedians who excel (and therefore entertain) on such shows vastly outnumber the number of comediennes who do. It’s just a FACT. Very few comediennes have the ‘wiring’ for competitive humour at the top level. As always, there is no problem here requiring a ‘solution’.
Sure enough, the consequence of this positive discrimination – for that’s what it patently is – has been a marked decline in the quality of BBC comedy panel shows. While a few performances by comediennes have been strong, the vast majority have been little short of embarrassing. And you often sense the comediennes know it. More than a few times I’ve switched over to another channel rather than watch the poor women put themselves (and myself) through the wringer.
My thanks to L for pointing me to me this. It’s a piece on the BBC website about the views of Jason Manford and Dara O’Briain on panels, and in particular their regret about the fact that the BBC made the decision public. As if the public is too stupid to realise what’s going on. You would as usefully introduce a number of female players into the English men’s soccer team, and claim they won their places on merit.
But it’s the reason Manford and O’Briain both cite for their regret which should make them utterly ashamed of themselves. Essentially they’re saying that it’s good to preference a comedienne over a comedian, but she shouldn’t be made to feel she’s a token woman – even though she obviously is (generally, at least). We mustn’t hurt these women’s fragile egos…
If they’re that fragile, what the hell are they doing on comedy panel shows?
So, who gains from the BBC decision? Comediennes who wouldn’t have a hope of being on these shows if the producers still had a free hand.
Who loses? Comedians who are more talented than the comediennes who’ve replaced them, and thereby lose exposure and income. And long-suffering licence fee payers, who are financing a social engineering exercise which has inevitably led to less funny programmes.
Ironically, of course, all this is being driven by feminists at the BBC who (by definition) have no sense of humour anyway. They give Kate Smurthwaite work, for heaven’s sake. When the licence fee is abolished and people have to pay to watch BBC content – or be exposed to adverts – these initiatives will hopefully be swept away.
This is only one part of a much bigger picture. Exactly a year ago, to the day – now, that’s spooky – AVfM published my piece on the BBC being a job creation scheme run by women for women.