Women are underrepresented in the world of professional comedy, a fact that has inspired often incendiary debate. Christopher Hitchens provoked anger by saying in an oft-cited 2007 Vanity Fair piece that women just "aren't funny;" Jezebel's Irin Cameron last year called "The Daily Show" sexist for its treatment of female writers. But the real reason more women don't succeed in comedy is actually quite simple, says CollegeHumor.com writer Sarah Schneider at Splitsider. "More men are trying." But don't be too "bummed," she says. Women may be outnumbered in sitcom writing rooms, but those women who are out there working in comedy are "killing it," from Mindy Kaling of "The Office" to Tiny Furniture's Lena Dunham. Here, an excerpt from Splitsider:
Take network television, for example. Of the 27 creators responsible for the 15 sitcoms currently running in primetime, only three are women (Tina Fey, of course, along with Eileen Heisler and DeAnn Heline of "The Middle"). Well how dare you, NBC, FOX, CBS and ABC? What, did you pass over a bunch of presumably great, female-helmed sitcoms just to get some more boy writers in primetime? Also, ABC, were you as surprised as I was when you found out "Cougar Town" was created by two dudes? Because I was super surprised.
Let's also consider the recent crop of new green lit series. "Perfect Couples," "Traffic Light," "Mr. Sunshine," "Mad Love," "Breaking In," and "Happy Endings" were all created by men. So what the deuce is going on here?
Here's the missing piece of the puzzle — of the 71 creators with 41 pilots in consideration by the networks last year, only 9 were women. That means nearly eight times as many men had pilots in the running last year as women did — almost exactly the ratio of male to female creators we see on network television today. Overall, women and men are seeing success in comedy in the exact same proportions.