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Too Many Dicks
September 20, 2011 3:36 PM   Subscribe

Too Many Dicks on The Daily Show. Two of my favorite things together at last. (YT)
posted by Nathanial Hörnblowér (66 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

 
From the longer description: Sure the occasional, strategically deployed, dick joke can be an effective tool for pointing out sexism or undermining homophobia but more often than not Jon Stewart and his team just use penis humor to get cheap laughs.

I think the gender imbalance of the show is absolutely worth exploring. But I'm asking this question sincerely and innocently - is it sexist (or indicative of a problem) to use crude humor like dick jokes, not for any larger social purpose but just for the sake of getting cheap laughs? It's lowest common denominator humor, sure, but I wasn't aware that it's particularly troubling.
posted by naju at 3:49 PM on September 20, 2011 [2 favorites]


I don't think, pace the uploader, that the original "Too Many Dicks" is homophobic - it's about Brett and Jermaine's terrible PUA friend.
posted by running order squabble fest at 3:50 PM on September 20, 2011


Nathanial Hörnblowér: Two of my favorite things together at last. (YT)

The letter 'Y' and the letter 'T'?
posted by gman at 3:50 PM on September 20, 2011 [2 favorites]


This remix would have been a lot more awesome had it been done by a woman.
posted by found missing at 3:50 PM on September 20, 2011 [2 favorites]


Love it!

I'm less annoyed by the Daily Show's frequent dick jokes than I am by the fact that something like 85% of their guests are male. And of the female guests, actresses are vastly over-represented.
posted by ErikaB at 3:52 PM on September 20, 2011 [10 favorites]


The letter 'Y' and the letter 'T'?

That's right. Y&T is one of Nathanial Hörnblowér's favorite things. You got a problem with that?
posted by The World Famous at 3:55 PM on September 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


Correction: the Daily Show guest list is 80% male for the last time period that I surveyed (7/2010 - 2/2011).
posted by ErikaB at 3:57 PM on September 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


I guess that's relevant if you force yourself to watch the interview portion of that show.
posted by found missing at 4:08 PM on September 20, 2011 [2 favorites]


I'm less annoyed by the Daily Show's frequent dick jokes than I am by the fact that something like 85% of their guests are male. And of the female guests, actresses are vastly over-represented.

I suspect Colbert has a better balance, which suggests Stewart has some adjustments to make. Did you gather any data on Colbert?
posted by Chuckles at 4:11 PM on September 20, 2011


Women of the Daily Show Speak. Only 40% of the staff are women. But hell, the show was created by women (women who created a show mostly to appeal to dudes).

Would it be nice if half the staff, on-air talent and guests were women? Sure. But it viewers also skew toward dudes. It is a catch-22. More women talent and guests might drive more women viewers. Or vice versa. But like Jon keeps having to remind people, it is a fake news show, not something on the BBC or PBS. It is a comedy show that is lead in by South Park. It is on a network courting bros in the 18-34 demo. And bros love dick jokes.

Jon would probably have more women politicians on if, you know, there were more of them. He gets guests like Madeleine Albright and Condi Rice, not Michele Bachmann or Sarah Palin (not the the wouldn't kill to have either on the show but they'd never do that show for fear of being mocked).

I guess I see this less as some misogynist conspiracy than a program hitting its core audience.
posted by birdherder at 4:25 PM on September 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


interestingly, if it was mostly vagina jokes they'd identify it as the same problem. I guess what we need is an even smattering. Also, an Even Smattering is when you twist ... oh nevermind
posted by the mad poster! at 4:36 PM on September 20, 2011


I suspect Colbert has a better balance, which suggests Stewart has some adjustments to make. Did you gather any data on Colbert?

Wikipedia keeps a list of guests. I'm just glancing over it, but it doesn't look any better. He had one female guest in March, one in April, three in May, one in July, and two in August. June depends on how you count "The Black Belles" who appeared with Jack White but I don't remember them speaking much.
posted by Gary at 4:40 PM on September 20, 2011


Yeah, I knew that "women of TDS speak" thing would come up. 40%? Did you not watch the video, and notice that at the Emmy presentation for Comedy Writing, that only one woman appeared onstage next to 12 men?

TDS was created by Lizz Winstead and Madeleine Smithberg. Winstead and Beth Littleford were regular contributors to the show, Littleford was consistently the funniest comedienne on TV.

And how long did Stewart go without ANY women regulars on air? Seven years. But then, Jon Stewart has always been a sexist pig.
posted by charlie don't surf at 4:41 PM on September 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


Ah, dick jokes...can't get enough of 'em!

Seriously, are they competing with Jack Ass or something? (Surely not demographically?)
posted by snsranch at 4:59 PM on September 20, 2011


Sexist Pig? Were we watching the same clip?
posted by Seiten Taisei at 5:02 PM on September 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


And how long did Stewart go without ANY women regulars on air? Seven years. But then, Jon Stewart has always been a sexist pig

Sam Bee has been a regular for 8 years.
posted by birdherder at 5:03 PM on September 20, 2011 [4 favorites]


Of course they use dick jokes to get cheap laughs. They're comedians. That's like saying that this band is pretty awesome, but too often they use a cheap 4/4 beat to get people dancing.
posted by Errant at 5:08 PM on September 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


I am honestly so confused, yet vaguely aroused......
posted by pdxjmorris at 5:10 PM on September 20, 2011


Sexist Pig? Were we watching the same clip?

Perhaps this is a cultural thing. Perhaps you are unaware that Stewart was comparing his girlfriend to a groundhog.
posted by charlie don't surf at 5:12 PM on September 20, 2011


The original Flight of the Conchords song is in no way meant to be critical of sexism -- in fact its actually homophobic

I can follow this, but it's really straining to take it the most negative view possible. It is a song about how a couple straight guys wish there were more women at a party. I guess you read into it that this is a problem because homos eww!, but really? The show and the lyrics of the song itself make it clear that the problem is that this makes it harder to meet women.
posted by Winnemac at 5:16 PM on September 20, 2011 [4 favorites]


Perhaps you are unaware that Stewart was comparing his girlfriend to a groundhog.

Will asshole men never stop this incessant comparison of women to groundhogs?!!
posted by found missing at 5:19 PM on September 20, 2011 [6 favorites]


Perhaps this is a cultural thing. Perhaps you are unaware that Stewart was comparing his girlfriend to a groundhog

Perhaps you're unaware he was a on a comedy show telling a joke? Because he was/is a comedian.

I'm sure he didn't think his girlfriend was a groundhog. If it was the same girlfriend he met around the same time as the appearance on Letterman , she must have gotten over it because she married him in 2000.
posted by birdherder at 5:19 PM on September 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


You mean there are people out there who are bothered about The Daily Show having too many men on staff and show? Who the hell cares?
posted by Liquidwolf at 5:20 PM on September 20, 2011


I'm less annoyed by the Daily Show's frequent dick jokes than I am by the fact that something like 85% of their guests are male. And of the female guests, actresses are vastly over-represented.

Stewart is an MTV frat boy who graduated to respectability. So it goes.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 5:21 PM on September 20, 2011


Two of my favorite things together at last

And Kristen Schaal in both of them!
posted by CaseyB at 5:23 PM on September 20, 2011 [3 favorites]


(From the youtube description): The remix takeover was created with clips borrowed from over 100 episodes of The Daily Show combined with the Flight of the Conchords song "Too Many Dicks on the Dance Floor" in order to subvert the sexism embedded in both sources... The original Flight of the Conchords song is in no way meant to be critical of sexism -- in fact its actually homophobic -- but when it is combined with any male-centered media source it instantly becomes a subversive critical commentary.

If you have to explicitly explain that what you're doing is subverting sexism, I would suggest that you're not being very successful.
posted by modernnomad at 5:26 PM on September 20, 2011 [3 favorites]


The gender balance among guests is more a reflection of society: how many female politicians, pundits and political writers are there compared to male?
posted by jb at 6:18 PM on September 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


Does "The Daily Show" still have a woman problem? An exhibit illustrates the lack of women on influential talk shows -- even on Rachel Maddow and Terry Gross
posted by homunculus at 6:27 PM on September 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


If the FotC song is so homophobic, why is the bouncer leading the conga line played by Randy Jones?
posted by Scoo at 6:37 PM on September 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


The YouTube uploader is, indeed, a surplus dick.

He seems not at all to appreciate the song he is appropriating, and comes across as a sanctimonious, self-satisfied twit. Personally, I am willing to bet that The Daily Show would be better if it had more women participating in it, but there are a lot of things about it I would tweak, and the last thing I would do would be to defer to that dude's sense of how the show should be run.
posted by Clyde Mnestra at 6:43 PM on September 20, 2011


naju: ... is it sexist (or indicative of a problem) to use crude humor ... just for the sake of getting cheap laughs?

Ehh - It worked for Shakespeare....
posted by Greg_Ace at 6:54 PM on September 20, 2011


Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar. Sometimes a youtube vid is just a funny video.
posted by digitalprimate at 7:04 PM on September 20, 2011


I'll admit that I didn't read the description. I just thought the video was funny and the song is one of my favorites.
posted by Nathanial Hörnblowér at 7:08 PM on September 20, 2011


And Kristen Schaal in both of them!

Yeah, I liked that too.
posted by Nathanial Hörnblowér at 7:12 PM on September 20, 2011


Kristen Schaal is torn on the HPV issue: on one hand, Rick Perry takes care of Texas vaginas, and on the other, Michele Bachmann argues for a woman's right to choose cancer.
posted by homunculus at 7:19 PM on September 20, 2011


Perhaps this is a cultural thing. Perhaps you are unaware that Stewart was comparing his girlfriend to a groundhog.

Perhaps you are unaware of the proximity of the fake holiday of Groundhog Day to the fake holiday of Valentine's Day. Perhaps you are unaware that groundhogs are big cuddly rodents and not actual hogs. Perhaps you are unaware that the funny part of the joke was that it was stupid. Perhaps you've been bearing a fifteen-year grudge over a single throwaway joke you didn't even get. Perhaps a lot of things.

I mean, groundhog? Sexist? Really? Shrew, sure. Beaver, obviously. Porcupine, even. But groundhog?
posted by Sys Rq at 8:20 PM on September 20, 2011 [14 favorites]


I'm a little surprised, because there are a lot of memorable female guests from Colbert, but not so for Stewart. As said up thread, the only female guests I can think of on Stewart's show were 'starlets'.
posted by Chuckles at 8:38 PM on September 20, 2011


Perhaps you've been bearing a fifteen-year grudge over a single throwaway joke you didn't even get.

No, I just had to search youtube for ancient videos by Stewart, before TDS, so I could find an example of what he was like before people started worshiping him. And there in the first minute he shows what an asshole he is. It's not enough he compares his girlfriend to a groundhog and says she's sex-withholding, but then he stands up and takes a bow, he's proud of it.

Stewart's act has never changed.
posted by charlie don't surf at 8:48 PM on September 20, 2011


The argument that the show (or any show, for that matter, including Rachel Maddow's or other female-hosted ones which also book mainly men) can only represent the society at large doesn't impress me. Even with the demographic pressures (viewership core as males 18-34 or whatever), there is still an opportunity to change perceptions, maybe more gradually than we'd like, but still, to change them, by going out of their way to find and book more interesting female guests. They're out there. Some of them can be quite hilarious, even, if your worry is that "more women = ratings-killing, humourless angry feminists" or some stereotype equally as stupid. Just saying, "oh, guys won't be interested", will simply be a self-fulfilling prophecy if the effort isn't made. You might be surprised what your core demographic will tune into. But if you're just sitting on your cowardly, status quo ass, you'll never know.
posted by Philofacts at 8:51 PM on September 20, 2011


w/r/t Chuckles' comment, I think one of the most memorable TDS guests for me—man or woman—would be Elizabeth Warren. She's been one at least once a year for the past three years, and makes a great impression every time.

Could TDS benefit from having more of a female perspective (esp. from Kristen Schaal) on air? Sure. Are dick jokes funny? Sure, but I would submit that they are as funny as fart jokes, which are the MOST gender neutral of all jokes.
posted by R_Kamidees at 8:54 PM on September 20, 2011


Other female guests I can think of off-hand - Doris Kearns Goodwin, Condi Rice, Sandra Day O'Connor, Caroline Kennedy, Sarah Vowell, Kirsten Gillibrand, Bethany McLean.
posted by Nathanial Hörnblowér at 9:11 PM on September 20, 2011


It's not enough he compares his girlfriend to a groundhog and says she's sex-withholding, but then he stands up and takes a bow, he's proud of it.

If you didn't get that the bow was sarcastic, surely you could have got the hint from the part one second later in the clip where Stewart apologizes for the lameness of the joke.

I mean, really.
posted by Sys Rq at 9:11 PM on September 20, 2011 [2 favorites]


Could TDS benefit from having more of a female perspective (esp. from Kristen Schaal) on air? Sure.

People keep forgetting, TDS was created by two women and it was the female perspective, until Jon Stewart came along and tossed them all out. If there were any dick jokes on the old TDS (not that I recall any) they were intended to make the audience feel like dicks for laughing at dick jokes. If you're going follow that act, people get to legitimately criticize you if women are underrepresented on your show.

If you didn't get that the bow was sarcastic, surely you could have got the hint from the part one second later in the clip where Stewart apologizes for the lameness of the joke.

Yes, I get the whole "I'm bad" schtick. It just isn't funny. It still isn't.
posted by charlie don't surf at 9:19 PM on September 20, 2011


TDS was created by two women and it was the female perspective, until Jon Stewart came along and tossed them all out.

Yes, the glorious female perspective that was... the Craig Kilborn era.
posted by mightygodking at 9:22 PM on September 20, 2011 [9 favorites]


Yes, I get the whole "I'm bad" schtick. It just isn't funny. It still isn't.

What? I don't even— That's not his shtick at all. Is it possible you've somehow confused Jon Stewart with Andrew Dice Clay?

Is it the jacket?
posted by Sys Rq at 9:23 PM on September 20, 2011


charlie don't surf: People keep forgetting, TDS was created by two women and it was the female perspective, until Jon Stewart came along and tossed them all out. If there were any dick jokes on the old TDS (not that I recall any) they were intended to make the audience feel like dicks for laughing at dick jokes.

I don't think Stewart tossed anyone out -- most likely the women left of their own accord eventually, and I don't think it's because Stewart took charge. There's really no proof that's what happened, but really, there's no proof of what you suggest happened either.
posted by JHarris at 9:42 PM on September 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


Ah, so if there where dick jokes back on the show when it was run by women, then the jokes were ironic. But dick jokes made by Stewart are sexist.

Stewart, of course is no true Scotsman.
posted by auto-correct at 9:54 PM on September 20, 2011


What you people don't seem to understand is that there are some things that you do not say. I don't care if you're a comedian; I don't care if it's your act. I don't care how many excuses you can come up with to explain why you didn't really mean what you said.

The truth is, some associations have histories and connotations that give them damaging force. You do not compare a South Dakotan to a mango. They'll know what you mean by it. You don't put the words "rotary telephone" and "Belgian" in the same sentence - you just don't. You don't call someone's mother a vegetable cooler. You don't needle a Calgarian about leap years if you don't want to get hauled up before a humans rights tribunal. Don't mention chick peas in any context; there's just no context that would justify it. And you never, ever compare your girlfriend to a groundhog. Not if you want to work in this town again!
posted by bicyclefish at 12:12 AM on September 21, 2011 [4 favorites]


And of course, you just do not ever criticize Jon Stewart, it is only acceptable to worship the ground he walks on.
posted by charlie don't surf at 12:21 AM on September 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


Chick peas really are good.
posted by The World Famous at 12:26 AM on September 21, 2011


I don't think Stewart tossed anyone out -- most likely the women left of their own accord eventually, and I don't think it's because Stewart took charge.

One left before Stewart arrived according to that infamous Jezabel article:
And the environment on The Daily Show was arguably worse in the Craig Kilborn era: Back in 1997, the then-host was suspended after telling Esquire,"To be honest, [co-creator] Lizz [Winstead] does find me very attractive. If I wanted her to blow me, she would." (Winstead quit not long afterward.)
At least he didn't call her a groundhog.
posted by Gary at 12:38 AM on September 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


And of course, you just do not ever criticize Jon Stewart, it is only acceptable to worship the ground he walks on.

Maybe if the criticism was valid, people wouldn't have a problem with it.

I'd say that referring to Vietnamese as "charlie" is more offensive than comparing his girlfriend to a groundhog for a joke.
posted by Bort at 12:58 AM on September 21, 2011


He gets guests like Madeleine Albright and Condi Rice, not Michele Bachmann or Sarah Palin (not the the wouldn't kill to have either on the show but they'd never do that show for fear of being mocked).

I don't know why Bachmann or Palin wouldn't go on his show, but it's not because they'll get made fun of. Politicians of all stripes love "Softball" Stewart. He never calls them on anything. Ever. That's why they keep coming back.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:02 AM on September 21, 2011


I love hummus, which is made from tasty chick peas.
posted by hootenatty at 1:24 AM on September 21, 2011


So... is this an actual problem or is it just a blow-up doll inflated to Thanksgiving Day parade size by people who hope to somehow discredit Jon Stewart because he is such a big meanie about their favorite people and political positions?

I don't mean that it's not good to have a balance of men and women on both sides of the camera -- that's something worth worrying about -- but is the Daily Show egregiously sexist compared to other shows on television?
posted by pracowity at 3:04 AM on September 21, 2011


So, where is the Phillip K. Dick? I don't see any Dick around.
posted by Eideteker at 3:34 AM on September 21, 2011


So, where is the Phillip K. Dick?

There's a PKD book being used in one of our courses this semester, so we have a few copies on Reserve at my library. Normally, students request books at the circulation desk by course number and author.

Last week, a male student (who sounded a whole lot like Jason from Home Movies) came to the desk and said, loudly, to one of my new female student employees "I NEED THE DICK BOOK!"

The female employee, new and unaware of Philip K. Dick, paled and whispered "excuse me?"

The patron, recognizing the weirdness, stammered and said, "Uh. Not that one?"

Then everything got awkward and everyone went off to do something else.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 5:30 AM on September 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


The only dick jokes I've noticed in TDS recently have been about Anthony Weiner. Which was started by Weiner.
posted by jb at 6:35 AM on September 21, 2011


And of course, you just do not ever criticize Jon Stewart, it is only acceptable to worship the ground he walks on.

Oh come on, that's not what I see in this thread at all.

However you seem to be the negative version of this, taking every opportunity and excuse to inflict a cut however that might be done. If you aren't trolling then you're starting to sound obsessive. What did Jon Stewart ever do to you?
posted by JHarris at 6:52 AM on September 21, 2011


The valentines day /groundhog day joke makes Stewart a sexist pig? It's not like it's the most idiotic thing I've ever heard, but it's probably the most idiotic thing I've heard today but it's still early.
posted by delmoi at 9:58 AM on September 21, 2011


The presumption that the groundhog joke is sexist, comes from the comparison of someone to an animal. I think why I question that is because I am unaware of any negative connotations to ground hogs. Does anyone know of any? I can think of positive associations , like 'cool cat'. There are many negative connotations associated with animals, of course.

garbanzo beans!
posted by annsunny at 10:16 AM on September 21, 2011


pracowity, I wouldn't say the Daily Show's stats are more skewed than those of other shows. I never bothered to look, honestly. (It's pretty easy to do if someone wants to - just look up the Wikipedia page of all the episodes and guests, and start making tick marks on paper.)

For me, this isn't some kind of pitchforks-and-torches situation. It's about disappointment. For some reason, I would have expected better from Jon Stewart. Maybe that's naive of me. After all, just because someone's a super-liberal left wing person who frequently speaks out against sexism (just like me!) that doesn't mean they always practice what they preach.

I don't know why there's such a significant gender imbalance on the show's guest list. Maybe they're just pandering to the male demographic. Maybe they haven't noticed, the way that most Daily Show viewers apparently haven't noticed.

What I do know is, whenever I bring it up, people get surprised and then angry. So I bring it up as often as possible, because it's a fact, and facts need to be acknowledged if we want things to change in the world.
posted by ErikaB at 10:27 AM on September 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


I think the worst you can say about the groundhog is that, unlike the honey badger, it gives a shit.
posted by found missing at 11:31 AM on September 21, 2011


It is a noble creature.
posted by The World Famous at 11:37 AM on September 21, 2011


The valentines day /groundhog day joke makes Stewart a sexist pig? It's not like it's the most idiotic thing I've ever heard, but it's probably the most idiotic thing I've heard today but it's still early.

I've said more idiotic things myself.
posted by Nathanial Hörnblowér at 12:19 PM on September 21, 2011


I don't mean that it's not good to have a balance of men and women on both sides of the camera -- that's something worth worrying about -- but is the Daily Show egregiously sexist compared to other shows on television?

Eh, not really. Not a lot of ladies work there (and I don't know what the working environment is like) but the writing has always struck me as pretty egalitarian in the way it deals with female politicians. I especially love this critique of Gretchen Carlson, which starts as a dumb-blonde joke and morphs into something more interesting. Samantha Bee, Olivia Munn, and Kristen Schaal are all featured pretty regularly, and The Daily Show covers women's issues adequately. The segment where Bee tries (and fails) to get Republican politicians to say the word "choice" is a particular standout for me.

I was kind of surprised by the huffy tone of the video guy's explanation, because the video itself seemed like an apt and funny way of pointing out a real issue... you know, like The Daily Show does all the time.

For the record, I am a feminist lady-woman, and the groundhog joke wasn't offensive to me. It was kind of dumb, I guess, but a dude has to make more than one vaguely-uncool-if-you-squint-at-it-hard-enough joke before I'm going to label him an Enemy of All Womankind.
posted by Nibbly Fang at 5:41 PM on September 21, 2011 [3 favorites]


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