Trevor Noah: “Women Are More Powerful In Comedy Right Now”

Oh man, Trevor Noah. The new host of “The Daily Show” hasn’t even started yet and he’s already kind of letting me down. While I’m reserving judgment on his actual abilities until his tenure begins on September 28, his recent comments about sexism in comedy are disappointingly complacent. Yesterday, Vanity Fair revealed the cover of their October 2015 issue, about the “titans of late night television,” featuring 10 men (eight white and two black, to be specific), a visual reminder of late night TV’s lack of diversity, especially in regards to gender. But Noah is not concerned! In fact, he assured Newsweek:

“I don’t agree with the notion that there are no women in comedy. I would…argue that women are more powerful in comedy right now. If you look at the top comedy actors, Melissa McCarthy by far is killing the numbers of other actors. You look at Amy Schumer right now—I would argue that there is no more preeminent voice in comedy. Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, their movies coming out…”

Oddly, I don’t feel reassured by this. Yes, duh, obviously, there are women in comedy, and yes, duh, some of them are fucking killing it. No disagreement there! These are lovely facts. But the fact remains that, as far as representation and compensation are concerned, both in front of the camera AND behind the scenes, comedy is still a primarily male-dominated entertainment industry. And white-male dominated too — while Trevor is one of the two Black men on the cover of Vanity Fair (Larry Wilmore being the other), he ought to look no further than the writing staff of “Late Night With Stephen Colbert,” all of whom are white men.

But Noah, at least as far as women in comedy are concerned, would really prefer that we look at this with a glass half full approach:

“Yes, that Vanity Fair cover is all men, which is what it is. I guess what we need to look at is how is that evolving? The first step in that is you go, OK, there’s two men of color. That’s a big jump. Pretty soon there will be a woman that’ll be added to that. And there will probably be more women, which is gonna be fantastic. And over time, that’ll happen; it’s a conversation that we need to continue having.”

In other words, continue to be patient, little funny ladies! Your time will come! Eventually! Hopefully! Over time! Just keep talking about it! And when you do, as women did yesterday with the release of that Vanity Fair cover, Trevor Noah will be there to tell you to look at the brightside and to continue to be patient, that your time will come, eventually, hopefully, over time, and so on and so forth. Does he not see that this complacent attitude does nothing to actually move the conversation forward, let alone make progress? I’m not holding out hope for the new “Daily Show” to have much gender diversity, I’ll put it that way. Sigh.