Eddie Brill has been the comedy booker on The Late Show With David Letterman for over a decade. But the comedian found himself at the center of a small-yet-potent Internet firestorm last week when The New York Times published a profile in which Brill explains the show’s tendency to book more men than women by noting: “There are a lot less female comics who are authentic.” Brill, perhaps sensing he was on a gender-bias kamikaze run, then explained further: “I see a lot of female comics who to please an audience will act like men.” It’s hard to know precisely what Brill meant by these statements, since we all know gender is fundamentally fluid and questions of quote-unquote “authenticity” are meaningless in our modern era of exhibition and proud narcissism. Nevertheless, Brill has now been fired as the Late Show‘s comedy booker, although the Times reports that he’ll probably remain as the in-studio warm-up comedian.
Brill’s comments were perceived as a direct assault on the notion that women can be as funny as men — an idea which has been consistently disproved throughout human history, most especially in 2011, when the female gender created the roundly praised Bridesmaids and the darkly funny Young Adult while the male gender produced two Adam Sandler movies, a lame Hangover sequel, and something called Mr. Popper’s Penguins. (It didn’t help matters that the profile also alleged that Brill used his status on Letterman’s show to drum up interest for his comedy workshops.)
Brill attempted to defend, explain, and ultimately apologize for his statements in the comment boards of Mirth magazine. Unfortunately, in the context of apologizing, he referred to comedian Amy Schumer — who was quoted in the original Times profile — as “that comedian’s girlfriend,” a reference to the fact that Schumer used to date the also-quoted Anthony Jeselnik, which is kind of like calling Michelle Obama “that president’s wife,” which, yes, is accurate, but don’t be a douche. In turn, Times writer Jason Zinoman — the author of the profile — responded to Brill’s comments with his own explanatory comments, in the process revealing that you can’t write “pee” in The New York Times.
Left ignored in this firestorm is the fact that Brill’s taste in stand-up just seems incredibly old-fashioned/lame. In the profile, he notes that he dislikes character-based comedy, physical humor, any use of music, or any jokes about Hitler. Those are, like, the four main pillars of contemporary comedy! The point is, the time is finally right for a brave young female comedian to go on the Late Show with her hilarious sketch act, “Pratfall-Prone Lounge-Singer Hitler.”
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