Women shut out of Grammys comedy album category. There’s Been A Long History Of This. Women Aren’t Funny, Doncha Know?

Los Angeles Times
Women shut out of the Grammys comedy album category.
DEC 07, 2018

Comedy Album: Mud Will Be Flung Tonight- Bette Midler

The nominations for the 2019 Grammys Awards were announced on Friday morning, and this year’s contenders for best comedy album are — surprise! — all men.

Patton Oswalt (“Annihilation”), Dave Chappelle (“Equanimity & the Bird Revelation”), Jim Gaffigan (“Noble Ape”), Fred Armisen (“Standup for Drummers”) and Chris Rock (“Tamborine”) were all recognized.

Solely nominating men for this particular prize is nothing new for the Grammys. This year’s announcement marks the 60th year that a version of the comedy album award has existed.

Its nominees all have been male 19 times (not counting years that cast-wide albums from “Saturday Night Live,” “Monty Python” or “National Lampoon,” or releases like 2005’s “The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Presents … America: A Citizen’s Guide to Democracy Inaction,” 1991’s “The Best of Comic Relief ’90” and 1982’s “Airplane” and have been included).

Only three women have ever won the award as a solo act: Lily Tomlin (“This Is a Recording,” 1972), Whoopi Goldberg (the recording of her Broadway show, 1986) and Kathy Griffin (“Calm Down Gurrl,” 2014).

In her acceptance speech, Griffin expressed surprise and pride. “In the history of best comedy album, only two other women have won: Lily Tomlin and Whoopi Goldberg,” she said. “I stand in great company.”

Two additional women have triumphed as part of a male-female duo: Jo Stafford won in 1961 for “Jonathan and Darlene Edwards in Paris,” her musical comedy album with Paul Weston, and Elaine May won in 1962 with Mike Nichols for their spoken-comedy recording “An Evening With Mike Nichols and Elaine May.”

With six nods, Griffin is the category’s most-nominated female. Sarah Silverman, Margaret Cho, Tig Notaro, Amy Schumer, Lisa Lampanelli, Ellen DeGeneres, Marsha Mason, Joan Rivers, Julia Sweeney, Rita Rudner, Sandra Bernhard, Bette Midler, Judy Tenuta, Erma Bombeck, Gilda Radner, Mrs. Miller, Betty Comden and Alice Pearce also have been nominated. That’s fewer than two dozen women throughout the award’s six-decade history.

Occasionally, these women were included as part of a duo act with a man; oftentimes, they were the only female nominated for the honor that year. And that’s not counting the only time an all-female compilation was nominated in 2002: “The Queens of Comedy,” featuring Adele Givens, Laura Hayes, Mo’Nique and Sommore. So technically, the count is up to 27 — which is more, but still not great.

Comedy has historically been a male-dominated field, but women have made significant strides in the past year. Michelle Wolf’s epic set made waves at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner, and Busy Philipps scored a late-night talk show, “Busy Tonight,” on the E! network. The Emmy Awards showered their praise on Amazon’s comedienne series “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.” And HBO picked up specials by “2 Dope Queens” podcasters Jessica Williams and Phoebe Robinson.

On the flip side, many women — such as Griffin, Samantha Bee and the victims and critics of sexual-assault offenders Bill Cosby and Louis C.K. — have also faced vitriolic criticism for their work.

So it’s a shame that the 2019 nominees for best comedy album — a category that now includes spoken comedy and musical comedy — only lauds men. The albums released during the eligibility window (Oct. 1, 2017, through Sept. 30, 2018) included Hannah Gadsby’s “Nanette,” Ali Wong’s “Hard Knock Wife,” Notaro’s “Happy to Be Here,” Iliza Shlesinger’s “Elder Millennial,” Natasha Leggero and Moshe Kasher’s “The Honeymoon Stand Up Special” and the third-season soundtrack of “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend,” among others.

Though these releases might not necessarily have been snubbed — as with all Grammy categories, contenders must be submitted for consideration by the voting membership — the wider praise for women in comedy remains well overdue. The Grammys, which has been plagued with issues of female exclusion across many of its other categories as well, can and should be part of that chorus.

For now, such hopes will have to sit on the shoulders of comedic firebrand Tiffany Haddish, whose recording of her autobiography, “The Last Black Unicorn,” is the lone female entry nominated for the spoken-word album award.

Bette Midler - Why Bother?

Why Bother?
by Bette Midler

Oh, human history is a sordid affair.
Often I say to myself,
“Oh this is horrible,
man’s inhumanity to man.
It’s just awful, it’s…”
Oh, why bother?
Why bother, why bother, why bother?

I try to be rosy,
I try to be upbeat.
Life is real, life is earnest,
sing Polly wolly doodle all day.
I try to look on the bright side of things and yet,
when confronted with the truth,
I have to say,
Why bother?

Maybe I’ll get a lift.
Why bother?
Maybe I’ll get a job.
Why bother?
Maybe I’ll get a new car.
Why bother?
Maybe I’ll empty an ashtray.
Why bother?

It’s so hard to keep your ears clean.
Why bother?

There are millions of wonderful piano players in the world.
Listen to the chump I got.
Why bother?

You know, modern painting is supposed to be the panacea for all the ills of modern life,
and yet everyone still buys the painting that matches the couch.
Why bother?

Do you know that the only museum in Las Vegas is run by Liberace?
Why bother?

France — the country that gave us Renoir, Manet, Monet, Van Gogh, Gauguin — has hailed Jerry Lewis as a genius…
Why bother?

Calvin Klein wears his own jeans
his own underwear,
his own cologne.
I still wouldn’t fuck him.
I said “Calvin, why bother?”

I have a star named after me on Hollywood Boulevard.
It’s under a fire hydrant.
Why bother?

I got a new haircut.
I have to put a lotta mousse on it to make it look like anything.
I got a terrible case of dandruff.
My doctor said I was suffering from “mousse abuse”.
Why bother?

Dr Ruth…
Why bother?

There are 88 keys on that piano.
That motherfucker knows five.
Why bother?

Halley’s Comet comes once every 76 years.
So do I.
Why bother?

I fasted for 25 days.
I took a high colonic every day.
I lost 3 pounds.
My Enemist said, “Why bother?”

You ever read the LA Weekly?
You ever notice how many ads for high colonics they have?
Is this town that full of shit?
Why bother?

Is this what T.S. Eliot meant by
“the hollow men”,
“the stuffed men”,
or did he only mean…
“Why bother?”

Share A little Divinity

One thought on “Women shut out of Grammys comedy album category. There’s Been A Long History Of This. Women Aren’t Funny, Doncha Know?

  1. So are they saying her comedy album was nominated for a Grammy or it was not? I don’t think it was. I remember this album came out right before the opening of Bette Midler’s huge comeback in “DOWN AND OUT IN BEVERLY HILLS.” I received this record as a Christmas present from my mother, and then “BEVERLY HILLS” opened in theaters everywhere on January 30th. (Many of her films have opened on that day I have noticed…) After huge anticipation we went and saw it when it opened and while it received mixed reviews from my parents (my mother saying “I was more entertained by “JINXED!”) I loved it and it was number one at the box office that weekend! Go Bette Midler!

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