Tina Fey Disses Jon Stewart
March 25, 2008 8:56 AM   Subscribe

Tina Fey on Jon Stewart and gender in comedy. Tina Fey disses Jon Stewart (of the Daily Show) in a recent interview. She goes on to say “I think male comedy is more boisterous. Usually it involves robots and sharks and bears. Female comedy is more likely to be about the minutiae of human behavior and relationships.” This has, once again, sparked the gender in comedy debate. Was Tina Fey right or wrong? Previously on Metafilter.
posted by lunit (72 comments total)

This post was deleted for the following reason: Between the (acknowleged) recent thread about women in comedy, the kind of thin material in the post, and the thread just not going well, I think we'll go ahead and pull this. -- cortex



 
Robots, sharks and bears are funnier than the minutiae of human behavior and relationships.
posted by Faint of Butt at 8:57 AM on March 25, 2008


Tina Fey is not a spokesperson for comedy.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:01 AM on March 25, 2008 [1 favorite]


Have you ever noticed how white guys drive like this while black guys drive like THIS?
posted by champthom at 9:03 AM on March 25, 2008 [3 favorites]


There's a boyzone joke here. I just have to work the robot, bear and shark into it. Give me a moment.
posted by never used baby shoes at 9:04 AM on March 25, 2008


You make it sound as though that article is Tina Fey talking about Jon Stewart, and it is not- it's a fluff piece is Reader's Digest. You make it sound as though she actively insults Jon Stewart, and she does not- she does not even mention him by name. And if this article has truly "sparked the gender in comedy debate", why weren't you able to link to anything that said so? Weak post.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 9:04 AM on March 25, 2008 [10 favorites]


It's worth pointing out that she doesn't mention Jon Stewart at all, mentions the Daily Show once in passing, and it's not even really a diss. Is there a link you forgot to include, or something?
posted by flashboy at 9:06 AM on March 25, 2008


Opps, missed the links at the end. Still, I think the "controversy" here is totally manufactured.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 9:06 AM on March 25, 2008 [1 favorite]


Or what TPS said.
posted by flashboy at 9:06 AM on March 25, 2008


That's a pretty mild "diss" on Jon Stewart. (People are up in arms about that? (Sensitive much?) )
posted by ClaudiaCenter at 9:07 AM on March 25, 2008


Jon Stewart's name does not appear in that interview. Here's the relevant portion:

You can prompt applause with a sign. My friend, SNL writer Seth Meyers, coined the term clapter, which is when you do a political joke and people go, "Woo-hoo." It means they sort of approve but didn't really like it that much. You hear a lot of that on [whispers] The Daily Show.

Big words coming from SNL. Daily Show gets more clapter in a night than SNL has gotten actual laughs in 15 years.
posted by DU at 9:08 AM on March 25, 2008 [4 favorites]


She's playing to the crowd. The "robots and sharks and bears" bit is a joke on the order of "Studio 60 is Schindler's List, 30 Rock is Hogan's Heroes." It's slyly self-effacing and clearly not what she really believes.
posted by kittyprecious at 9:11 AM on March 25, 2008


Reader's Digest (misquoted) padded out with three wikipedia links, a wingnut blog, Cracked, and a link to MetaFilter. That's some mighty thin gruel.
posted by Armitage Shanks at 9:11 AM on March 25, 2008 [2 favorites]


And spokesperson for comedy or not, there is some truth to the idea. The studio audience at The Daily Show is generally somewhat cantankerous about its beliefs, most evident in how interviewees of varying political persuasions are received (despite Jon's uniformly neutral introductions).
posted by kittyprecious at 9:14 AM on March 25, 2008


I agree that she has no business comparing what she did on SNL to the Daily Show, if she was doing her job correctly during that time there would have been no need to create the Daily Show. Seth Meyers might be a funny guy in the writers room but that humor has yet to present itself in front of the camera.
posted by any major dude at 9:14 AM on March 25, 2008


Wait ... that "right" link goes to a conservative blog, not a humor site. Anything slamming The Daily Show would have been posted there.
posted by krinklyfig at 9:15 AM on March 25, 2008


Female comedy is more likely to be about the minutiae of human behavior and relationships.”

Tell that to Sinbad!
posted by BobFrapples at 9:15 AM on March 25, 2008


Coming soon to a FPP near you:

- Kids say the darndest things
- Laughter is the best medicine
- It pays to increase your word power.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 9:17 AM on March 25, 2008 [8 favorites]


she didn't diss jon stewart. she sort of dissed the daily show, I guess. I'm sure they're crying about it as we speak. this is a non-event. also, ALL comedy is about the minutiae of human behavior, evevn the robots and sharks and bears stuff.
posted by shmegegge at 9:19 AM on March 25, 2008


Nontroversy. And The Daily Show audiences do seem to clap more than laugh these days. Listen for it sometime. It's like every other joke gets a goddamn ovation. But I think it's more about the way talk show audiences are conditioned to respond these days than it is about the nature of the comedy itself. I've been watching The Dick Cavett show on DVD lately, and it's striking how much quieter and more attentive audiences were back then. The laughter seems more spontaneous, less coerced, and rarely, if ever, does a statement of opinion garner wild, hooting applause. I blame Married With Children and Arsenio Hall.
posted by Atom Eyes at 9:19 AM on March 25, 2008 [1 favorite]


No amount of robots, sharks or bears will make Baby Mama's "minutiae of human behavior and relationships" seem like anything more than the reheated Meg Ryan crap that it looks very, very likely to be.

/Tina Fey fan left with a pretty bad impression of her after her brazen ovaries-above-all-else schlepping for Hillary on SNL a couple weeks back.
posted by Senor Cardgage at 9:20 AM on March 25, 2008


"Robots and sharks and bears" is a joke, and in my opinion a pretty good one for an off-the-cuff interview statement. I'm sure she meant something by saying that male comedy is more "boisterous", and it may or may not be negative, but to draw any conclusions about this you would have to do a more in-depth interview with her. And she didn't compare SNL favorably to the Daily Show, she just used the Daily Show as an example to illustrate what "clapter" means.
posted by creasy boy at 9:20 AM on March 25, 2008


I heard she recently pissed on a lady bug.

It's Tina watch!!
posted by hojoki at 9:20 AM on March 25, 2008 [1 favorite]


Tina Fey is full of shit.
posted by empath at 9:22 AM on March 25, 2008


What bothers me most about the male vs. female comedy divide is how widely accepted dick jokes are and how much vagina jokes freak people out (men in particular). Maybe cause they are harder to draw on the face of a sleeping comrade? It might be that dick jokes are about other people's penii or the phallus in general, but vag jokes tend to come from people who are talking about their own roast beef drapes (ie, the Vagina Monologues). Semen is funny if shocking, period blood is shocking but only shows up in Carrie.

What bothers me second most about this debate is how it essentializes gender differences. But it's easier to illustrate my point about the spam purse.
posted by Tesseractive at 9:23 AM on March 25, 2008 [3 favorites]


Well... the "Tina Fey disses Jon Stewart" bit is framed that way by the Huffington Post, Comedy Central Insider, and Gawker. So I thought it was appropriate. I just didn't include those links because they're all pretty redundant.
posted by lunit at 9:23 AM on March 25, 2008


ClaudiaCenter writes "That's a pretty mild 'diss' on Jon Stewart. (People are up in arms about that? (Sensitive much?) )"

It's a pretty good critique, and is a major reason for the success of The Colbert Report, which doesn't rely much on "clapter." But, considering her time at SNL as a writer and "anchor" ... did you all see that guest appearance where she did the Hillary "bitch" endorsement? Let's just say I'm glad TDD is around. It does lean liberal, but it doesn't cross the line from comedy show into political endorsement vehicle.
posted by krinklyfig at 9:24 AM on March 25, 2008


Laughter. You can prompt applause with a sign. My friend, SNL writer Seth Meyers, coined the term clapter, which is when you do a political joke and people go, "Woo-hoo." It means they sort of approve but didn't really like it that much. You hear a lot of that on [whispers] The Daily Show.

Totally fair observation, and nice word by Seth Myers. I've always disliked when people clap at comedians, but I've always labeled it "I-agree-with-what-you-just-said-intellectually-but-it-wasn't-actually-funny-so-I-have-to respond-with-applause-because-well-damn-it-I-have-to-do-something-but-laughter-is-out applause", and "clapter" is a wee more precise.

But yeah, Fey just made an aside in an interview. It wasn't a diss track.
posted by Bookhouse at 9:25 AM on March 25, 2008


I just didn't include those links because they're all pretty redundant.

well thank god you linked to the wikipedia article on jon stewart and dailyshow.com!
posted by shmegegge at 9:26 AM on March 25, 2008


I just want to say that 30 Rock is pure awesome.
posted by mek at 9:29 AM on March 25, 2008


People under the age of 250 still read the Reader's Digest? Wow. Thats the real scandal here.
posted by Avenger at 9:29 AM on March 25, 2008 [3 favorites]


I think I missed the diss. Was it thsi bit?

RD: What pleases you more, applause or laughter?
Fey: Laughter. You can prompt applause with a sign. My friend, SNL writer Seth Meyers, coined the term clapter, which is when you do a political joke and people go, "Woo-hoo." It means they sort of approve but didn't really like it that much. You hear a lot of that on [whispers] The Daily Show.


Because that seems fair enough, though arguable an unavoidable artifact of the daily political show format.

Oh, and Tina Fey rocks. I don't think it was any coincidence that the only recent funny episode of SNL was the one where she guested - even with the slightly uncomfortable Clinton advocacy bit (which I'm sure was better if you were claptering for it).
posted by Artw at 9:31 AM on March 25, 2008


Q: Which of the Three Stooges do you like best?
A: Larry. I like the middleman. You can't really like Moe because he's always poking people in the eyes.


SCANDAL ALERT: Tina Fey disses Moe, accuses him of using torture techniques in violation of the Geneva Convention.
posted by mullacc at 9:34 AM on March 25, 2008 [1 favorite]


" Female comedy is more likely to be about the minutiae of human behavior and relationships.”

That makes Seinfeld the greatest female comedian of all time.
posted by horsemuth at 9:34 AM on March 25, 2008 [2 favorites]


Biddly-bow-boP!
posted by Artw at 9:35 AM on March 25, 2008


or Comedienne?
posted by horsemuth at 9:35 AM on March 25, 2008


well thank god you linked to the wikipedia article on jon stewart and dailyshow.com!

Okay, I guess everyone knows who Jon Stewart is, then. My bad.
posted by lunit at 9:38 AM on March 25, 2008


This "diss" is manufactured. I read about the diss on reddit or wherever and didn't find it in the article. I find Ms. Fey quite fetching -- along with the interviewer Jancee Dunn -- and look at the article as it should: a breezy puff piece for a magazine for old people. After my grandma died, I thought she took RD with her.

I found her "diss" of Moe to be more damning. Sure he poked people's eyes out, but a) most deserved it and b) he did more than that.
posted by birdherder at 9:38 AM on March 25, 2008


Jon Stewart's humor is political -- isn't politics about "the minutiae of human behavior and relationships"? I loved Tina Fey's "bitch is the new black," but I think she's succumbing to the common myth that women like to think about people and men like to think about concepts and things -- and when men think about people it's somehow reconceptualized as really being about concepts and things.
posted by transona5 at 9:39 AM on March 25, 2008 [1 favorite]


People under the age of 250 still read the Reader's Digest? Wow. Thats the real scandal here.

Hey pal, I love Reader's Digest! It lined the walls of my relatives houses back in the day. My favorite memories from years gone by is grabbing 3 reader's digest and heading for the bathroom to read about bear attacks. Remember that? Some story about a guy that got his scalp bit deep into by a bear and then he played dead or something, and then stumbled his way to civilization? Oh and "Chappaquiddick!" I never actually read that article, but I saw that word a million times. It wasn't until decades later that I knew what that was about.

Oh wait, what were we talking about?
posted by cashman at 9:40 AM on March 25, 2008 [1 favorite]


Any major dude, it should be pointed out that The Daily Show was created in 1996, a year before Tina Fey joined SNL.

And that said, I don't know that it's fair anyway to say that the creation of a half-hour-long show that skewers TV news is the result of the head writer of a sketch comedy show (that happens to do a 15-minute fake news segment) not doing her job. I think it's pretty clear who Stewart and Co. think aren't doing their jobs.

Seth Myers' comedy prowess notwithstanding, he does have a point about "clapter," at least as I read it. I think that reaction can be prompted by an audience identifying ideologically with the message behind the joke without appreciating the joke itself. And what with how much Jon Stewart thrives on political jokes at the expense of Republicans, I would say he leaves himself open to that kind of "clapter" more than SNL does with its non-sequitur zaniness.

Maybe Seth has a word for what studio audiences do when zaniness falls flat ("oblaughter"?).
posted by DeWalt_Russ at 9:41 AM on March 25, 2008


"You're trying to bring logic into the 'Robot versus Bear' sketch?"

"Live every week like it's shark week."

"Male comedy is more boisterous. Usually it involves robots and sharks and bears."

Tina Fey was making a 30 Rock reference with that comment. It was clever. This isn't like Chris Hitchens' bullshit column from last year, and she's not trying to start any shit - it's Readers' Digest, for chrissakes.

The "callout" of TDS is equally non-existent, but watch for her to be a guest on the show within the next week or two so she and Jon Stewart can laugh about it.
posted by Navelgazer at 9:42 AM on March 25, 2008 [4 favorites]


What? I saw no controversy or "dis" in any of this. Fey and Meyers reference was about how they sometimes get this "woo-hoo" that comes from Political jokes ALSO. Since the Daily Show is 95% Political humor, it stands to reason that they might get more of these. I think people are putting words into people's mouths on this one.

If anyone is getting fired up because of Cracked.com's take on this... just remember it's cracked.com, they're rarely funny, never clever, and often miss the point entirely.
posted by hellslinger at 9:42 AM on March 25, 2008


She's absolutely right about The Daily Show and "clapter," I think they're very aware of the issue at TDS but can't do much about it. By no means is it a diss of Jon Stewart or TDS.

End of story.
posted by YoungAmerican at 9:43 AM on March 25, 2008 [1 favorite]


Anybody remember Seinfeld? That show that was all about the minutiae of human behavior and relationships? Written by noted females Jerry Seinfeld and Larry David?

Or how I Love Lucy so insightfully explored the subtle spiritual growth of a married couple?

And how about Benny Hill's Robot-Shark-Bear Naked Lady Hour, where he...

OK that last one was a bad example.

My point is...all generalizations are stupid.
posted by PlusDistance at 9:43 AM on March 25, 2008


Atom Eyes wrote:

And The Daily Show audiences do seem to clap more than laugh these days. Listen for it sometime. It's like every other joke gets a goddamn ovation.

same happens on Colbert. These guys have developed a cult of personality whereby they don't really need to work for approval. It makes the show weaker in my opinion because a modicum of cynicism in the audience keeps the joke tellers sharp. If I was responsible for the audiences of these shows these days I would try to find a way to filter out the rah rah frat boys and send them tickets to the Price is Right.
posted by any major dude at 9:44 AM on March 25, 2008 [2 favorites]


Weakest controversy to be sparked by Reader's Digest since that class action malpractice suit against the contributors of Laughter Is The Best Medicine.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 9:45 AM on March 25, 2008 [1 favorite]


I still think autobanning anyone who links to cracked.com would be a good new site feature. I see absolutely no downside to it.
posted by Artw at 9:46 AM on March 25, 2008 [3 favorites]


So, Seinfeld and Bill Engvall are female comedians?

Good to know!
posted by batmonkey at 9:47 AM on March 25, 2008


Tiny Fey, wikipedia entries, Reader's fucking Digest AND cracked.com?

Flagged as a perfect storm of suuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuck
posted by kittens for breakfast at 9:47 AM on March 25, 2008


Colbert is a hell of a lot funnier than Stewart. Especially without writers.

Yet I’d never consider watching one without the other.

Of course if 30 Rock is on the DVR they both get bumped for that.
posted by Artw at 9:49 AM on March 25, 2008


Reader's Digest, all kinds of awesome. Humor in Uniform is still some funny shit.
posted by porn in the woods at 9:49 AM on March 25, 2008


I would try to find a way to filter out the rah rah frat boys and send them tickets to the Price is Right

Have you seen the new Price is Right with Drew Carey? They'd probably rather you sent them to Guantanamo.
posted by uncleozzy at 9:53 AM on March 25, 2008


eh. The cracked article was needlessly sexist, but as I read it, the point was that they were intentionally making a big deal out of nothing, and getting increasingly desperate trying to justify it. But then again, I'm a cracked apologist, and they gave me my biggest laugh of the day so far with "6 Endangered Species That Aren't Endangered Enough."
posted by Navelgazer at 9:53 AM on March 25, 2008


class action malpractice suit against the contributors of Laughter Is The Best Medicine

I read an abridged bit about that in Life in these United States. Nice to see the whole gag.
posted by yerfatma at 9:57 AM on March 25, 2008


Does this mean we won't get the Fey/Stewart dream ticket I've been praying for?
posted by Pater Aletheias at 10:01 AM on March 25, 2008


...on [whispers] The Daily Show
Isn't that enough to show that she's being sarcastic? She's obviously doing that shtick where you make sarcastic remarks about Friend B to Friend A but in a feigned whisper loud enough so that Friend B can hear you. C'mon, hello! She's a comedian whose trademark is biting sarcasm. In that interview, she's tossing some humor into almost every answer. What's different about this one?
posted by junesix at 10:01 AM on March 25, 2008


She didn't diss Jon Stewart. Weird post. Good article though.
posted by agregoli at 10:02 AM on March 25, 2008


Is it wrong, in the context of this thread, to say that I think Tina Fey is a hottie?
posted by KokuRyu at 10:03 AM on March 25, 2008


The real disses (disen?) we should be harping on is Stephen Colbert's (staff) dis of The Venture Bros and World of Warcraft.

Stevie, baby, I know you gots ta manage your image, but these are the people who helped bring you where you is today!
posted by robocop is bleeding at 10:04 AM on March 25, 2008


Wow. I fail plurals.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 10:05 AM on March 25, 2008


Is it wrong, in the context of this thread, to say that I think Tina Fey is a hottie?
posted by KokuRyu


Not necessarily, but I'm not sure why we should care who you think is hot.
posted by agregoli at 10:07 AM on March 25, 2008 [1 favorite]


I hate 30 Rock because it forced me to explain to relatives that were visiting for the holidays why "It wouldn't be a Lemon Party Without Old Dick!" was funny.
posted by Tenuki at 10:12 AM on March 25, 2008 [1 favorite]


No more Professor Impossible? Shame.
posted by Artw at 10:12 AM on March 25, 2008


I'm sure Tina Fey is devasted that the cracked writer no longer wants to "bone" her.
posted by jb at 10:13 AM on March 25, 2008


I can't believe Tina Fey would throw John Stewart under the bus like that in order to gain some new Reader's Digest fans.
posted by 23skidoo at 10:14 AM on March 25, 2008 [1 favorite]


All of my humor is based around the intimacy issues between sharks and bears, and their shared experiences in a world which is increasingly hostile to man eaters. Naturally, I do the entire bit in binary, so as not to lose the robot crowd.

Because, let's face it, if you want to work in this town, you need to play to the AI set... they own all the best clubs.
posted by quin at 10:14 AM on March 25, 2008


Does this mean we won't get the Fey/Stewart dream ticket I've been praying for?

You know who else had a Fey Stuart dream?

That's right. The Jacobites.
posted by Greg Nog at 10:14 AM on March 25, 2008 [7 favorites]


Cracked.com is looking more and more like an STD I'm glad I didn't get in college.
posted by COBRA! at 10:15 AM on March 25, 2008 [1 favorite]


Oh no! Now the guy from Cracked won't "bone" her, even if she asks!

And he also won't be president, even if we vote for him! Or invent flubber, even if we give him grant money!

Or be funny, even if we read his column!
posted by klangklangston at 10:16 AM on March 25, 2008


ROBOT: Do you think he likes really me?

BEAR: Of course, what's not to like?

ROBOT: Sometimes I can be a bit inhuman

BEAR: And I can be a bit of a bear, so what.

ROBOT: It's his smile, you know? It just makes me think of (whispers) lube jobs.

BEAR: Is that as rude as I think it is?

SHARK (enters): Hey gang, wussup?

BEAR and ROBOT: Nothing.
posted by Sparx at 10:16 AM on March 25, 2008 [4 favorites]


The problem is ... Tina Fey isn't funny.
posted by Camel of Space at 10:24 AM on March 25, 2008


Tina Fey has jumped the shark.
posted by aerotive at 10:26 AM on March 25, 2008 [1 favorite]


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