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Dara Ó Briain
Dara Ó Briain

@moodybecca I also thought it was a great series and generally because of loads of new faces bringing it new energy. Glad you enjoyed it!

Becca Moody
Becca Moody

Thanks so much for your thoughtful reply!

I think what I mean about the programme being better because of the change is that the show was getting really stale for me. I was absolutely sick of seeing the same faces crop up again and again, regardless of how they good they are (discounting team captains of course) and I think the new comedians that were introduced have managed to refresh the show for me. And not necessarily only the women, as I said, I think Romesh Ranganathan is an incredibly funny comic and he really improved the series for me, as well as some of my favourite female comedians who got their debut (Sara Pascoe and Angela Barnes, for example).

I agree, maybe this positive discrimination towards the female comics is leaving many male comics at a disadvantage, but I don't think it really concerns the ones who are on Mock The Week regularly (despite obviously not getting the screen time/pay, but I think some of them have had more than their fair share). I do, however, see that many male comedians who are not as well known as, say, Ed Byrne or Milton Jones, are experiencing a similar problem to that of many female comics, and maybe this change has accentuated this.

The idea of there being a particular seat that the newest person baffles me, as well as the fact that Katherine Ryan and Zoe Lyons were by no means the newest panellist on their episodes. I don't really understand what you mean when you say it would be 'odd' to have the woman on an end seat, I'd think this would be perfectly fine actually. I don't really see the point in having a seat that is set aside for this purpose.

Yes, I have heard of the 'Women Against Feminism' and I think it's terrible! These women seem to have completely misunderstood the meaning of feminism and what it sets out to do and they are really damaging the hard work put in by people campaigning for equal rights. What do you think about it?

Thank you for sharing your thoughts!


@Becca Moody  No problem - it's good to talk :-)

OK, yes, the interesting thing this year is that they went for four new female guests, and two more experienced ones. When they could have gone the other way around, or, say, booked Sara or Angela again for one of the later shows. It will be interesting to see the line-up for September/October - at the moment very few guests have been booked/announced. Don't forget though that Romesh isn't new for 2013. It would be interesting to see if it gets to the point that one of the female guests becomes as regular a guest as him or say Milton, Josh Ed or Gary. Perhaps the second appearance of Sara, Angela, Susan and/or Tiff will be more 'telling' as it were than their first appearances - to see if their performances are better/worse than before (just the same as it would be for a male comic in the same position).

Yes, I was more thinking of all those male topical stand-up comedians who have never been on, not really about those that might be returning, as Mock The Week does generally try each series to introduce a few new faces anyway.

What I meant by it being odd to have a woman sitting on the end, would simply be that you would have, say, man/man/man/male host/man/man/woman. It could almost look like they've been deliberately banished to the outer reaches, as it were.

My views are mixed about that group. Having looked though a load of the selfies on their Facebook page, I agree with them to some extent, especially when it comes to the meaning of feminism, which is because I don't agree that it was the right label to give the idea of promoting gender equality. In fact, there are already words for that - equalist, and humanist. Logically, from the parts of the word (feminine, and ism), 'feminism' implies discrimination against women (and not against men), just like 'racism' is prejudice against race and 'sexism' is prejudice about people's sex. So I think there is certainly a problem between the misunderstanding of what you and lots of other people think 'feminism' or 'feminist' means, and what a bunch of other people think it is (based on a more logical interpretation) - I sit in the middle as I'm fully aware of both interpretations of the word.

Personally I'm all for women being treated equal to men, but I'm also for men being treated equal to women (which is sometimes not the case either), plus overcoming every other unfair prejudice that's out there, and thus I don't like labelling myself as a 'feminist', as I'm not just against prejudice towards women, and in fact against any form of discrimination towards things that people don't have a choice about (be that disability, race, sexuality, hair colour, height, intelligence), which really just makes me a humanist/equalist. But I am prejudiced towards religion in adults (as every adult can choose what religion they do or don't follow), for instance, so I don't like it when the 'Women Against Feminism' posts bring religious or conservative values into it, which they occasionally do.

Thanks for getting your article comments fixed :-)

BeccaMoody moderator


It would be wonderful to see a female comedian become a regular on Mock The Week, and I think that it's quite likely that this might happen at some point in the future. I understand the issue with these shows not representing male comedians with a smaller following (though this is obviously the case in most parts of the industry) and this is why I was so happy to see Romesh made more of a 'regular' panelist. I know that it wasn't Romesh's first appearance on the show (as I said in the post) but he had only been on once before this series and has now been on five times.

It would be great to see some more faces I haven't seen on TV very much in September/October, maybe Bobby Mair, Joey Page or Lloyd Griffith, that would be great.

It's clear that the word 'feminist' does often get misunderstood and that's why groups like Women Against Feminism can be very damaging. I just feel like everybody should be better educated before making these kind of posts on the internet, for other, more susceptible people to read and take on board. A lot of the time, the idea behind an opinion is sound, it's just the way people express these opinions that is sometimes questionable.

Also, I honestly don't think putting a woman on the end could ever be a strange move, negative reactions to that stem from prejudice (whether negative or positive) which is the opposite of equality, though of course it's natural to prejudge.

The comments are completely sorted as of yet, but they're a lot better than they were!


Hey Becca, thanks for another honest and insightful post about comedy - I do enjoy reading them :-)

I too had the same reaction to the announcement in February, and was glad to see that the MTW production team handled it well by drawing as little attention to the change (which was simply ensuring there was a female guest on every show) as possible. In fact, I think, as you say, if you just see the show as entertainment and don't think about the politics of it all, the sexes of the guests doesn't even crop up. it's just a funny topical comedy panel show, with a panel that simply continues to reflect the styles of comedy and types of topical comedians that are out there performing professionally (as opposed to reflecting the make-up of the UK population, which despite what some people seem to think, it was never supposed to do - that's what serious shows like Question Time are about).

However, I don't know if I agree that the show is 'better' simply for making this change. Surely it is at it's best when you have seven great and individually styled comedians sparring off each other, whatever their sex?

But as you say, it meant that the four new guests this series have all so far been female (taking the headcount of all artists to appear on the show up to 23 women from 19, vs. 55 men), and if that helps show detractors that MTW has never actually been sexist and has now featured a far higher proportion of women (23 out of 88 = 26%) than there are on the professional topical stand-up circuit (around 10%), that's no bad thing.

Sara, Angela, Susan and Tiffany all deserved their debut spots on the show (and hopefully some/all of them will want to do it again/will be asked to do it again [it's a two-way street!]), but there is the concern, for me at least, that the positive discrimination towards female guests does, technically, make it quite unfair towards the 90% of professional topical stand-up comedians that happen to be male. I believe in equality, but not by trying to tip the scales completely the other way.

And now, even looking at the simple number of men/women per show, it's 14% female every time, which is still higher than than the 10%, and that's an unfair way to look at things as three of the seven artists on each week are the host and regulars, who don't factor into the weekly booking selection.

To answer your query, the second seat from the far right is usually given to the newest guest on the show, whether they are making they debut or simply have less experience on it than the others. The person in that seat is also usually the one asked to pick the topic in the If This Is The Answer... round. So when you have four new guests in six shows, they will all take that seat because they are new (not because they happen to all be female). And I think Katherine Ryan (three previous appearances) and Zoe Lyons (five previous appearances) also got that seat simply to follow the pattern, plus it would be odd to place the single woman on either of the end seats.

Data is from http://www.mocktheweek.tv/thecast/

P.S. What do you think about this? http://womenagainstfeminism.tumblr.com (not comedy!)