Jessica Hynes and the death of comedy quiz shows

Jessica Hynes (42) is an actress, possibly best known to British audiences for her role in the Olympic Games satire Twenty Twelve. It would not be unkind to say that the role, whilst funny, wasn’t ‘stretching’ for a professional actress.

Television comedy quiz shows these days have to include token women on their teams, and this policy is steadily ruining a number of them, including a personal favourite first broadcast on Channel 4 in 2013, 8 Out of 10 Cats Does Countdown. In the series Rachel Riley (numbers) is reliably brilliant, beautiful, and funny, likewise Susie Dent (Dictionary Corner).

In stark contrast, the token female contestants are generally woeful. I challenge anyone who reads this post to point to even one substantive contribution – humorous or otherwise – by Jessica Hynes in the edition of the programme which has just been aired – here. You might have to register, and suffer some ads, but I ask you to persevere.

To my mind, Ms Hynes could have been replaced with a bag of cement, with no loss to the entertainment value of the show. In the course of 60 minutes, I failed to spot more than a few seconds of intentional humour on her part. Any one of hundreds of professional male comedians could have replaced her, contributed substantially to the programme, and earned money which they would have deserved more than Ms Hynes did for her dire contribution to the programme. Hopefully she’ll donate her appearance fee to charity.

4 thoughts on “Jessica Hynes and the death of comedy quiz shows

  1. I recall an episode of “Have I Got News For You” when Roy Hattersley failed to show and Paul Merton replaced him with a tub of lard. Paul then kept up allusions to it for the whole half hour, and he was brilliant. None of these token women could have done it.

  2. I totally agree! It’s also the death of meritocracy. Dara ‘Briain said the same thing many times, it’s not because he’s a misogynist, it’s just that these women are not funny and don’t bring anything to the show. Instead of paying for them, with that money you could have another brilliant comedian sit there, somebody who is actually good and has worked hard to get there. It doesn’t help in any way, not even women: it also tells them that it doesn’t matter if they’re good or not, all they need to do is be female. How is that empowering? So sorry for the hard working, truly funny comedians and the audience.

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