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Ban male comedy writers? Of course not – but do more to give women a chance

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Last Monday, I spoke for five minutes on a panel in Bradford, alongside the head of ITV comedy, about diversity in television. As a working comedy writer, I was well positioned to make the point that comedy is better when it’s written by a wide range of voices – people of different genders, races, sexualities, everything. Mad controversial, right? Burn the witch! I assumed my comments would, like most comments ever made on panel discussions, be lost in the annals of time. Even if I wasn’t, like most people on panels, speaking out of my annals.

Quite the shock, then, when I woke up the next morning to find that my name, photo, quotes and tweets had been used – without my knowledge – on multiple news platforms. Most under versions of the inaccurate headline “ITV bans all-male comedy teams”. I opened story after story to see an (old) photo of myself, looking like a demented elf who just tried ketamine for the first time, staring up at the world as the new poster child for “keeping men out of comedy” … GO AWAY MEN! TAKE YOUR PENISES, TUCK THEM BETWEEN YOUR LEGS AND NEVER BE FUNNY AGAIN! The stories mentioned I had recently been hired to write on ITV’s CelebAbility, a show that had no female writers on its previous two series.

The headlines might as well have read: “All men are BANNED from comedy for ever, and will be replaced with inferior women who wouldn’t know a joke if it hit them in the tits. [Giggles. Tits …]” Predictably, men were outraged and, with an easily........

© The Guardian