There has been a lot of back and forth this week, about male comics and rape jokes. Specifically one (pretty green, it seems) comic’s rape jokes.
I got mad - not about the things this guy said, but the blind agressive defense of his “right” to say them when a journalist brought up how they made her feel as a female audience member. The battle against free speech is not going to start in a comedy club - no one is saying anyone’s rights should be taken away. But we get to have OPINIONS on those jokes. And these dudes have to suck it up and deal with it when our opinion is “yuck.”
And then I got tired, and I wrote this:
I am exhausted with misogyny in comedy. It is there, yes. It is infuriating, yes. But let’s stop playing in the dirt with these dudes. Let’s stop jumping up every time some dumb dude says something dumb. He wants to talk about rape, so, what - now we ALL gotta talk about rape?
INSTEAD, how about we jump up and put some focus on a great female comic doing killer material. Instead of giving an asshole a forum, let’s write an article about Cameron Esposito Emily Heller Aparna Nancherla Kate Berlant Mo Welch Rhea Butcher Brandie Posey Barbara Gray Lauren Ashley Bishop Beth Stelling (they won’t let me tag more, but Claudia Cogan, Katie Crown, Janine Brito, Jacqueline Novak, Kara Klenk, Megan Amram, Shelby Fero, Lisabeth Johnson, Michelle Buteau, Jen Kirkman, Erin Foley, Ali Wong, Jackie Kashian, Kristen Schaal, Sarah Silverman, Amy Shumer, Mary Lynn Rajskub, Karen Kilgariff, Maria Bambford, Margaret Cho, and goddamn it even Joan Rivers. ALWAYS Joan Rivers).
YES, we need to scream and yell sometimes. But even more than that, we need to talk about female comics - not in a “WOWOWEE THERE ARE GIRLS HERE?!?!” way, but just in a way that makes sure the GOOD is getting as much press as the bad. (And not in a list of “LADY COMICS”.)
I’m not scared to scream and yell. Currently my ENRTIRE CAREER is screaming and yelling, often at big scary companies. But I’m not sure it’s always the best for our souls. And I fear it is starting to reinforce the idea that COMICS = MEN.
And, please note - the top comics, the ones that people give a shit about and pay real money to see? They generally aren’t doing that scuzzy material. It IS getting better - let’s keep pushing it.
keithashley asked: fully support you on the strike Eilza! the RVA well me anyway has yo' back OHS style!
luvvdivine asked: Not a question. Just supporting you and the other Fashion Police writers.
ourfilms asked: Is this strike extending past Fashion Police? A lot of my friends love it, but Fashion Police isn't really my thing, but if there are other WGA strikes going on I don't want to watch scab programs.
It’s just our show striking. But we are an E! show, which is owned by NBCUniversal and Comcast - you can extend your own personal boycott as far as you want!
What to say if you are asked to write for Fashion Police while we are on strike.
- I stand with the writers of your show, and won’t work while they are on strike.
- Sorry, I don’t feel comfortable getting involved during this strike - but your show is great and I would love to work with you once this is all settled.
- I am currently divorcing Jessica Alba’s butt - so legally, I can’t write jokes about it right now.
- Oh no! You caught me in the airport - I am on my way to Florida, and they still don’t have internet access, electricity or the alphabet there.
- I ate some bad sushi that has swollen my fingers so badly I can no longer type “Kardashian Vagina.”
- MY BUTT IS EXPLODING!!!!
- Shoot! I just took a job collecting pennies in my couch, and it pays better.
Me on Bridgtown: IT WAS THE BEST.
Superslice on me (at Bridgetown):
Once again, the Bridgetown Comedy Festival was a blast!
And I am so sorry about all the filthy things I said about you there, Jason Schwartzman. (From the Wiliamette Week.)
Still on strike.
Here’s our official update on the Fashion Police writer’s strike. It doesn’t include anything about lingering around the free samples table at Trader Joes, but just assume that is implied.
Since we Fashion Police writers went on strike last week our employer has falsely characterized the situation in the media as one which could be easily resolved if only those stubborn, unreasonable Fashion Police writers would agree to hold an election.
Here is our response:
The only possible purpose of holding an election would be to determine if a majority of Fashion Police writers wish to be represented by the Writers Guild of America in this matter. That determination has already been made. A majority of Fashion Police writers have contacted the company numerous times to indicate that they want to be represented by the Guild. A majority of Fashion Police writers have signed union cards indicating the same thing. And last week a majority of Fashion Police writers indicated their support by walking off the job in a collective action designed to force the Company to offer us, without further delay, a Guild contract. We are not interested in fighting over yet another means of demonstrating that we represent a majority of the Fashion Police writing staff. We are only interested in getting a union contract that would put a stop to our years of under-paid work and unpaid overtime and provide us with health care for our families. For the benefit of all concerned we urge you to stop dragging this out and contact our representatives at the WGA now to move this process forward.
Please don’t work my job while I strike.
Real scabs aren’t cute.
I just went on strike from my job writing for a highly rated cable TV show. That might mean the brilliant comedians I know here online or in real life will be asked to come in and replace the striking workers. There are tons of people that are so funny, and I’d LOVE to have you write on our show - I’ve even recommended some of you for the job in the past. And who knows - they might ask you to do it.
But while we strike you really shouldn’t work my job. Really really really.
DO NOT SCAB FOR FASHION POLICE.
Here is why:
1) Cable pay rates are F’d. The more shows that stand up and fight, the better the situation is going to get for everyone. If companies think they can get away with it (and they have) they will keep doing it. If you work the jobs when we’re on strike the company has no reason to fix the situation. We’re fighting not just for our jobs, but for future writers too. That is you, future writer.
2) It’s not worth it. The whole point is we get paid shit. If you are good enough to work the job now, you’ll be good enough in a month. By that time, the pay rate for the exact same job could be 6 times as much. If you don’t wait, it might never get there. This is a high turnover job - people burn out or get other gigs. Hold off and you’ll still get it, just under better circumstances.
3) Working Rule 8. If working rule 8 is invoked, no WGA writers are allowed to work on a show. If you are not in the guild but hope to someday be, you should want to stand by them. They can and do ban people from ever joining for crossing a picket line.
4) Writers hire & writers remember. In most of the jobs I’ve gotten I’ve been recommended by other writers and hired by showrunners (people who used to just be writers). It’s in your best interest to create a reputation for standing WITH writers, and for being part of the team.
5) This is a union town. The few times I’ve been hired by non-writers, I’ve been hired by producers - who have their own union. Standing up for a union gains you respect from everyone. Even if you are someone who is distrustful of the inside organization of a union, the group of people that they represent are worth standing up for. Comcast is currently embroilled in fights with all kinds of unions - from the WGA to Communications workers. Don’t help them out.