Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Uniting Against Scout's Sexist Remarks at Melbourne International Comedy Festival

From Australia's The Age, this article by Peter Munro covers comediennes calling out a sexist scout on comments she made in this other article:

[...] No less than 27 female comics from this year's Melbourne International Comedy Festival, which ends today, signed a letter deriding independent TV casting agent [Henrie Stride], who scoured the comedy festival for new talent and concluded that much of women's comedy was "angry and quite hard, bitter, man-hating, lesbiany"...

... Stride, a former Channel Nine casting director, directed most of her criticism at the narrow casting on commercial television, rather than female comedians. She laments the way commercial stations "turn everything bland" by preferring attractive, likeable personalities they see as marketable to mass audiences. "Don't shoot the messenger," she said yesterday. "I don't make the programming choices; I put forward the people somebody else chooses.

"A lot of people I know in my industry have said to me it's the white elephant in the room that nobody is brave enough to talk about." But she is sorry for the upset her comments have caused female comedians. "I was too judgemental and a bit harsh in hindsight … I hurt people and that was certainly not my intention."

Here's some interesting commentary by The Outland Institute blog:

So if you’re thinking of getting into comedy and you’re a lady, make sureyou stay upbeat and pretty! Don’t do any of that silly political material - it will only give you wrinkles. And for god’s sake don’t be lesbiany. That’s so important that Stride has made up a whole new word to get it across.

In fact, the word “lesbiany” gets to the heart of the matter. For a start,it’s not a real word. Secondly, by directly telling us that LESBIAN = BADStride has tipped from latent homophobia to overt homophobia

  I'd love to see the letter and hear about this from the comedians, themselves (email me at "wisecrackzine AT gmail DOT com" if you know someone who knows someone!).

1 comment:

  1. I think this was the letter:

    Bitter? Us?CASTING director Henrie Stride was quoted in The Sunday Age as saying: “A lot of women’s comedy is angry and quite hard, bitter, man-hating, lesbiany” (”Casting about for a comic alchemy”, 19/4).

    We the undersigned would like Ms Stride to publish a list in which she puts each of us into one of those categories. She’s obviously familiar with women on the comedy circuit and it would be great for her to share her expertise with us. Henrie, can we be in more than one category? PLEASE! Do we get a prize for being angry, bitter, man-hating AND lesbiany?

    Nelly Thomas, Andrea Powell, Bev Killick, Catherine Deveny, Christine Basil, Claire Hooper, Clare Bartholomew, Courtney Hocking, Denise Scott, Felicity Ward, Fiona O’Loughlin, Georgina McEncroe, Geraldine Hickey, Geraldine Quinn, Halley Metcalfe, Hannah Gadsby, Jodie Hill, Josie Long (UK), Judith Lucy, Julia Zemiro, Kelly Fastuca, Louise Sanz, Nelly Thomas, Rachael Maza Long, Rachel Berger, Sarah Millican (UK), Sarah Ward, Susanna Brisk, Wendy Little

    In Henrie Stride's defense, she described her job as a casting agent this way, "When making television shows, you don't want to offend anybody in any way. There is no room for risk-taking, particularly in the current climate … It turns everything bland."


    It's ironic that Ms. Henrie's quest for inoffensive blandness would be so offensive to so many!

    Here are some MySpace Pages for some of the offended comedians:


    Here's a blog entry by Hanna Gadsby that might make a perfect piece for Wisecrack!