There Are Too Few Women On 'This Is Not Happening'

Comedy Central is one of the only TV channels that has consistently kept with programming true to its name (channels like MTV and TLC have given up long ago). A new stand-up show, This Is Not Happening, premiered on Jan. 23, so what is This Is Not Happening actually? (The title may seem vague, but it perfectly fits the content of the show.) Host and comedian Ari Shaffir described it on the first TV episode as, "If you don't know — here's what the show is: It's just a bunch of people and we're all telling true stories. I mean, mostly true stories." The premise is really that simple — it's just Shaffir and a couple other comedians telling stories about a shared theme per episode.

Although the premiere episode of This Is Not Happening was technically on Comedy Central on Friday, Jan. 23 at 12:30 am, it wasn't the first time you could have seen the show since there are already two seasons that were online only. (And because the world is good — you can watch all of the web episodes on YouTube.)

The TV version of the show will have eight episodes and will feature comedians Rob Corddry, D.L. Hughley, Bert Kreischer, Marc Maron, Steve Rannazzisi, Joe Rogan, and Paul Scheer. Ah, how interesting: there's not a woman in sight on the series' website. The trailer, however features a few glimpses of women comedians, but for the most part, the landscape is chock full of dudes. Must be because like Jane Austen wrote, "It is a truth universally acknowledged, that women are not funny." I'll let Chelsea Handler take this one:

A producer for This Is Not Happening reached out to Bustle to confirm that more than four women will appear on the show, including Ms. Pat, Iliza Shlesinger, Cristela Alonzo, and Guilin Rozzi. She also mentioned that the show reached out to 20 other female comedians, including Handler. Still, I am disappointed that I don't see a more even split of men and women here and that no women are represented on the show's official site. It is good to know that there will be some women comedians on the show. Phew.

All that said, I want to make it clear that I'm not the type of person who feels that there must be an obligatory token female on the show; I just would like to see a woman tell her own crazy story because uh, funny women (just like some men), are — in fact — funny. "Shocker!" says no one.

I was concerned about how female-friendly the show would be right off the bat since it takes place at Cheetahs, a Los Angeles strip club — and I've got some real strong feelings on strip clubs (but I'll avoid that rant for now). Not only that, but the intro for the first TV episode, "Brain on Drugs," made me feel all sorts of odd feelings considering it featured a sexed-up portrayal of Shaffir's kindergarten teacher dressed up as Mother Goose (oh, I hadn't realize Mother Goose had cleavage).

But Shaffir does actually know that women are funny. The hilarious Fortune Feimster was in the web series, along with Jackie Clarke and Julia Lillis.

Although we aren't guaranteed to see a comparable number of women hanging around the literal stripper pole in This Is Not Happening (oh, the irony), the show isn't here to make feminists angry. "Brain on Drugs," which featured Shaffir, Keegan-Michael Key, and Bobby Lee (both alumni of MADtv), was pretty good. And no offensive comments made about women at all! Hoorah! And really, any offensive comments seen on the show are going to be in the name of stand-up comedy — and hopefully, equal opportunity offensive. That is the comedian way.

Editor's Note: A previous version of this story implied that no women were present in This is Not Happening's roster and the previous headline stated no women were present. It should have stated that no women were present on This is Not Happening's official website.

Images: Jesse Grant/Comedy Central; Giphy