I used to be indecisive…

…but now I'm not so sure

where are all the women on comedy quiz shows?


Here’s another post from my Guest Blogger, Mother-on-a-Mission.  MOAM is feeling cross…

Mother-on-a-Mission lives in the country. Her mission is to perfect the art of being in two or more places at once.

I Used To Be Indecisive’s blog is a lovely place; calm, peaceful, friendly with wonderful photos of far-flung, exotic places, the natural world closer to home and even the occasional small furry animal. Nothing could be nicer and I love it. So I hesitate to raise a serious and downright ugly issue. I really do. However, I can hold my tongue (OK, fingers) no longer. This is something that has bothered me for a long time. It is scandalous and warrants, at the very least, letters to newspaper editors, a debate in the House of Commons and a statement by the appropriate Government Minister.

I refer, should there be any doubt, to the PROFOUND LACK OF WOMEN PANELLISTS ON COMEDY QUIZ SHOWS. Oh sorry, was I shouting? On the whole, I’m a big fan of Have I Got News for You* and I could be a big fan of QI* and Mock the Week*. They have the potential to be seriously funny and there’s nothing like a good laugh to end a long day or a tiring week. But so often when I switch on there’s a male host and an all-male panel. Why?

I have nothing against any of the individual comedians, actors or celebrities who take part. They are often very entertaining. What I do object to is week after week of such shows without a single member of the female half of the population. What is the problem? It cannot be because there are no suitable women and when the occasional woman does make it on to a show, she is just as funny and entertaining as the other panellists. In fact, I’d go so far as to say having both men and women on a show makes for richer and more varied humour because panellists will have a different perspective on the same topic. Surely this is a good thing.

I have to assume, then, that women are not absent from these shows because quiz show humour is something they can’t do. Is it that they won’t do it? Well, no. I’m pretty sure that’s not it either. While women on comedy quiz shows are as rare as a tidy teenage boy’s bedroom in my house, they, just like the tidy room, do exist. I know because I’ve seen them, just not very often. So what is it that stops more women from appearing on our TV screens in this way?

Could it be that quiz show producers think that comedic ability resides exclusively in the Y chromosome? Perhaps because the host and panellists are usually men, only other men get asked. Maybe the programme makers think most viewers are men so they want to reflect their audience in the make-up of the panel. If true, this would be a fair point but I’d bet my child’s beanie baby collection that it’s not (true, I mean). Perhaps the pool of potential guests is overwhelmingly male because men put themselves forward in a way that their female counterparts don’t.

Of all the possible reasons, this last strikes me as the most likely. Do female comedians just have better things to do than hang around a hot TV studio for several hours? Or is it that they are simply fed up being the token woman in a show full of men? You could hardly blame them.

* popular UK shows with panels/teams made up of comedians, actors or public figures who don’t mind being made fun of.


4 thoughts on “where are all the women on comedy quiz shows?

  1. I’ve noticed that, too, and it is seriously annoying.

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