Splitsider.com is reporting that the Late Show with David Letterman will no longer employ Eddie Brill as their comedy booker. According to splitsider, he was let go “following a New York Times article in which he said a pretty dumb thing about female comics being less “authentic” than men. Apparently he will be permitted to continue in his position of warm up comic for the Late Show audience, but the booking will be taken over by “a small group of 25-year-olds.”
Writer Hallie Cantor expressed that while, “[s]ure, it’s a bummer to see someone lose their job over one or two sentences, but it’s also kind of awesome that the incredibly outdated and close-minded sentiment displayed in those sentences won’t fly in the comedy community today. Especially on the part of someone responsible for choosing which comics to showcase to a huge audience.”
For the record, his exact comment in the article was, “There are a lot less female comics who are authentic,” Mr. Brill said. “I see a lot of female comics who to please an audience will act like men.”
We were disappointed to hear CBS’s decision, and a bit shocked by Splitsider’s take on the incident. This was not the case where some misogynistic idiot shot off their mouth without thinking, just to be shocking, or insulting. This is someone with over 15 years experience, history, and the qualifications to give an opinion on the issue. Does that mean we agree with his opinion? No, not necessarily. But we also don’t like the idea of an environment where a person will be removed from their job that they’ve held for 15 years just because they gave a non-inflammatory opinion in their field of expertise.
And neither does stand up comic (and woman) Bonnie McFarlane, who also happens to be the director of a documentary called Women Aren’t Funny. In a conversation with The Laugh Button, McFarlane stated “People need to stop taking exception every time someone makes a slight towards female comics.” She continued, “We’re winning, already. Relax, take a victory lap.” She also added, “Eddie Brill was in our movie and I can honestly say that during the 40 minutes of raw footage he states over and over again that he thinks women are funny and perhaps even funnier than men.” She joked afterward, “Of course, for the movie, we took this footage and rearranged it to make him look like a misogynistic asshole.”
Bonnie and her husband comedian Rich Vos, who is the Executive Producer onWomen Aren’t Funny have a working relationship with Brill that’s stretched over a decade. “Eddie Brill booked me, a lady comic, on Letterman twice and although it was a great experience, it really did nothing for my career. Point being, if you don’t make it on Letterman, it really doesn’t matter.”
Ron Bennington, host of Unmasked, a series of interviews with artists in the comedy business on SiriusXM radio agreed with McFarlane. “Eddie Brill has dedicated his whole life to promote comedy and comedians,” said Bennington. “It’s unconscionable to judge him on two lines and not his entire career. To my read, it seems like Eddie was judging a current trend in comedy and not in women’s ability to be funny.”
Lisa Lampanelli has also spoken out in support of Brill. She told the New York Times that she would be disappointed if it turned out he lost his booking role “over an opinion that’s pretty benign.”
Obviously CBS has the right to hire and fire who they please. But an environment where speaking frankly could put you at risk of losing your job isn’t good for anyone. Sooner or later, we hope common sense will win out over knee jerk reactions.
Is it true that Bonnie couldn't sit by Dave at his desk because she had a Red Ball stickin' outta her Ass ??
Additional [useless?] facts, in no particular order:
1. Brill took over as booker in 2001 when Zoe Friedman left for Comedy Central (and became CEO).
2. Brill's ethics were questioned just last week by NYT's suggestion that he capitalizes on his Letterman "juice" by running side businesses where up-and-coming comics are his clients.
3. Last year, there were just over 190 shows broadcast. 22 comics appeared, and only one was female (Karen Rontowski).
4. Brill's been quoted in the WAPost, "some of the funniest comedians on the planet are women".
5. He apologized (before being dismissed as booker).
6. Ironically, when you rearrange his name: Rid Libel, Ed.
You have the right to express any opinion you want. And your employer has the right to fire you for it. Don't believe it? Go on Facebook and trash your managers or the place you work for and see how long you last.I agree with the fact comedians and performers entertaining people deserve to be protected when performing. Imus shouldn't have been fired. O&A shouldn't have been suspended over Homeless Charlie. Eddie Brill in his capacity here is a comedian booker, and from the statement it seems like he's predisposed to not book women.Not like he was on the air expressing an opinion. I support the right to say whatever you want. But some people act as if you have that ability without any repercussions whatsoever. Or they believe the people that disagree have no right to disagree. It's getting to a point where it looks like looking for censorship here is like people looking for racism behind every tree. Sometimes it just is what it is.
americans are becoming obsessed with their ability to silence one another with no regard for the future implications of what they are doing. no one wins when someone loses their job for something they say even slightly innocuous. it maybe cliche but how about agreeing to disagree? i don't agree with what you have to say therefore you must not say it. it's just ludicrous how much joy adults get in telling other adults what to do or how to speak. i think people feel they have so little control in what goes on within their own daily experience they leap at the opportunity to condemn. i can't imagine why one would derive so much pleasure in something so easy to bypass. they lynch mob mentality needs to be curbed in order to restore the american right to express their opinion. if you don't what eddie brill has to say, don't go to eddie brill shows. but don't take away his livelihood because he has an opinion on a trend he has noticed while doing his job.
Companies still have the right to hire and fire people for whatever reason as long as it isn't violating the law. I don't like the idea that saying something stupid could get you fired, but that's the way the world works. You don't have the right to be employed.
it's just so wonderful that we've gone from desiring open dialogue's in the 60's social revolutions to basically being forced to not give any comment on any topic- lest it be taken out of context and your career burned at the stake. what a fucking joke.
i don't know what eddie could have been talking about, how could anyone be more authentic than whitney cummings!