An episode of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart is interrupted by a remixed critique of the show’s gender imbalance and “boys’ locker room” comedy stylings. The remix takeover was created with clips borrowed from over 100 episodes of The Daily Show combined with the Flight of the Conchords song “Too Many Dicks on the Dance Floor” in order to subvert both sources.
I am a fan of The Daily Show about 50% of the time but often find myself disappointed with the overwhelmingly male-centered style, jokes, segments and guests each night. Sure the occasional, strategically deployed, dick joke can be an effective tool for pointing out sexism or undermining homophobia but more often than not Jon Stewart and his team just use penis humor to get cheap laughs. I can’t help but feel that there are, in fact, just too many dicks on the dance floor.
The serious lack of women in on-screen or leading creative roles on The Daily Show and other late-night comedy shows has been well documented and discussed in recent years. But here’s a quick recap: Only 3 of the 12 regular correspondences/contributors on The Daily Show are women. Only 2 of the 16 writers are women. And so far barely 15% of the guests in 2011 have been women.
To be absolutely clear I’m not saying that Jon Stewart or his team are personally sexists but as host and Executive Producer Jon is largely responsible for the messaging, tone and culture of the Daily Show as a comedy institution. He could get creative in addressing the boys’ club comedy culture on the show – and, as a start, hire more women in leading creative roles. As Wyatt Cenac has pointed out, talented female comedians are not hard to find.
The original Flight of the Conchords song is not meant to be critical of sexism – in fact its heteronormative and it could be argued even a bit homophobic – but when it is combined with any male-centered media source it instantly becomes a subversive critical commentary. Try remixing it and see for yourself!
• NEW The remix is now featured on Virgin America’s inflight TV BoingBoing channel
• Sample This Show! Use of ‘Fair Use’ is Growing (Kansas City Star)
This remix was inspired by the practice of fan vidding and specifically by the vid Star Trek Dance Floor created by Sloane. She used the same song to point out the lack of female characters in J.J. Abrams’ 2009 Star Trek reboot. In 2010 Feminist Frequency video blogger mashed-up the same song in order to highlight the violent phallic imagery in modern video games.
Fair Use Notice & Licensing:
This transformative remix work constitutes a fair use of any copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US copyright law. “Too Many Dicks on The Daily Show” by Jonathan McIntosh is licensed under a Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 3.0 License permitting non-commercial sharing and remixing with attribution.
Much thanks to vidder Laura Shapiro for helping to beta test the final edit. Also thanks to Paul Paz y Miño (@paulpaz on Twitter) for the use of his extensive Daily Show episode archive.
Further Reading on this Topic:
• The Daily Show’s Woman Problem (Jezebel)
• 5 Unconvincing Excuses For Daily Show Sexism (Jezebel)
• Among Late-Night Writers, Few Women in the Room (NY Times)
• Number of women working in TV falls (LA Times)
• Women Of The ‘Daily Show’ Respond To Allegations Of Sexism (HuffPost)
• The Only Women In The Late Night Writers’ Rooms (Jezebel)
• Guess How Many Female Writers There Are On Late Night? (Jezebel)
• The strange, men-only world of late-night TV (Salon)
• Does “The Daily Show” still have a woman problem? (Salon)
UPDATE: On August 28th 2013, after nearly 2 years on YouTube, this remix was removed without warning via a bogus takedown by Viacom claiming infringement for “visual content” from The Daily Show. This has resulted in an unjust strike placed against my YouTube account. The 100+ short Daily Show clips used in the remix are transformative in nature and quoted for the purposes of critique. The remix is clearly a fair use of any copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US copyright law. Viacom has abused of the YouTube takedown system and I will fight to have my work restored. In the meantime you can still see the remix on the Internet Archive.
UPDATE 2: As of September 5th 2013 this remix is back on YouTube. A few days after my lawyers at New Media Rights contacted Viacom to inquire about the bogus takedown I received an automated message from YouTube stating that Viacom had released their copyright infringement claim. No other information was given and no explanation was provided. The copyright “strike” appears to have been removed from my account.
UPDATE 3: Déjà vu. On February 3rd 2015 this remix was again removed from YouTube, again without warning via another bogus takedown from Viacom claiming infringement. As Viacom was made aware after the last bogus takedown, this fair use remix video barrows 100+ snippets from The Daily Show in a critical and transformative way as provided for in section 107 of the US copyright law. I’m in the process of again trying to get my video back online. For now you can watch it via the Internet Archive.
UPDATE 4: Shortly after the story about the latest takedown was was picked up by TechDirt the remix video reappeared on my YouTube channel and the copyright strike against my account vanished. I received no official notification about what had transpired from either YouTube or Viacom. As of February 25th 2015 my remix is again viewable on YouTube, for now anyway.