First up Giles Coren has written a relatively reasonable piece about the shortage of women in the comedy DVD charts. I agree with a fair few of his points although it is frustrating that he says that women comics "tend to avoid accusations of sexism because they don’t want to sound like they’re whingeing" and then doesn't bother to address the fact that the real problem might be, erm, sexism, or indeed uber-sexism to the point where a woman can't even mention the s-word without being criticised for it! Also - and I hope this is a failed attempt at humour - he says "the Christmas television schedule: endless male comedy and not so much as a snort from the girls, unless you count the last episode of Miranda." In what sense is Miranda Hart NOT a woman? Has there been a rule change? I have a vagina, am I still in?*
Anyway he says in the middle he generally find women funnier than men and goes on to rave about his regular co-star Sue Perkins and how hilarious she is. Yet somehow the Daily Mail saw fit to title this article "So why aren't there any FUNNY women comics any more?". which implies that there are hundreds of female comics out there being offered DVD deals and their own shows, but sadly they're all rubbish. But I can't find a stand-up DVD by a woman on sale right now. Releasing a DVD is a huge deal - it requires planning and marketing. It's not a case of writing some funny jokes and wandering round the circuit until someone offers you a deal - deals are done years in advance and then promotional tours organised, posters, TV and radio appearances... In Edinburgh this year one magazine gave my panel show 5 stars and John Bishop's solo show 2 stars. But he got the Wembley Stadium gigs and the DVD deal. What gives? It has to be systematic sexism that means no women are getting to produce stand-up DVDs. How can we be dismissing as rubbish a group of DVDs that DOESN'T EXIST. Doh!
Anyway it gets worse.
Isabelle Caro - the French model whose emaciated body was at one point used to highlight eating disorders - has died. And the Mail chooses to mention that she blamed her disorder on her "difficult childhood". They mention NO OTHER contributing factors to eating disorders.
Now... Read down the headlines on the right hand side of the page:
Look out Posh! Now Geri Halliwell makes her fashion design debut with her own swimwear range. And she modelled line for next.
Lose TWO INCHES of festive flab by tomorrow - and look svelte for New Year. Feeling bloated after the Christmas festivities? Help is at hand.
That's not going to help your diet! Michael McIntyre takes his lookalike sons out for lunch. Family outing to McDonalds.
"My husband says he'll divorce me if I get fat". While SAMANTHA BRICK was poorly with an upset tummy, Pascal kept reminding her that she'll be losing weight.
Elisabetta Canalis's bikini can't shore up much support as she emerges from the sea... revealing a little too much.
Beaming Kate Moss can't hide her excitement as she and Jamie Hince jet off for New Year's holiday. Couple heading for Phuket in Thailand.
Kourtney Kardashian reveals slimming secrets after beating her sisters in diet battle. She's lost 3st 2lb.
And nine of the photos down the side of the website feature women in revealing bikinis/beachwear. None of them with any visible "flab".
Isn't it time to quit the faux concern and admit the Daily Mail itself is part of the problem?
*Two footnotes here: (1) There are some women comics with big enough ovaries to point at sexism and go "oh look - it's sexism". See, erm, my solo show, my blog, my career, etc. (2) Yes there are some female acts who tend to get drowned out on panel shows. But women are not all alike, we're not a "genre" actually. If you have a panel show, and you want to look all liberal and modern and not like a douchbag, call me - I will be more than happy to interrupt all the guys, be hilarious and rip Frankie Boyle a new one, the only question is what shall we do AFTER lunch?