Where are all the women in comedy?

Sarah Millican
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You may have seen Lizzie and Sarah last weekend on BBC Two. However, you quite probably didn't, considering it was scheduled at 11.45 on Saturday night. Even the BBC's own comedy blog was rather desperately pointing out to people that they could watch it on iPlayer, considering there was naff all chance that anyone would watch it live.

 
That's a shame, as it was sweet and sad, triangulated somewhere between the bleakness of Nighty Night, the middle-aged fragility of Jam & Jerusalem, and the sisterhood-rises-up-in-arms vibe of Thelma & Louise.
It adds to the litany of dumped female-led comedy of late, joining the cancelled Pulling and Jam & Jerusalem. All three had something distinctive to say about women, were touchingly true to life, and above all else, were very, very funny.
 
Women in TV comedy are starting to look like an endangered species. So aside from all the stars of said shows, here's who it would be nice to see moved from the fringes of broadcasting and put centre stage.
 
The panel show guest
Sarah Millican
Currently in Sarah Millican's Support Group and 7 Day Sunday
It's been a common and completely on-the-nose criticism of panel shows that women are so rare that what is left smells a bit like a boy's changing room. Sarah Millican is warm, funny, and good at bouncing off other people – exactly what the shows need. She's got topical comedy pedigree after her time on 7 Day Sunday on Radio Five Live, and a successful appearance on The Bubble showed she can do telly.
 
The panel show presenter
Victoria Coren
Currently in Only Connect
Panellists are one thing, but a female presenter would really show that telly can still recognise a funny woman when it sees one. Victoria Coren has made a name for herself as the school marm host of minor quiz hit Only Connect, but she's also great in the role because she's darned funny – even with no comedic panellists to work with or audience to feed off, she's still hilarious. Plus she did that great BBC Four spoof, A History of Corners, on Screenwipe. More of the funniest Coren, please.
 
The break out to mainstream star
Josie Long
Currently guesting in all manner of 'things' 
Whenever Josie Long guests on panel shows she is whimsical and enthusiastic, like Paul Merton was before he got a bit arch. Still, it's never as funny as her sweet stand-up routine, and it looks like she'd need something else to get that level of funny out of her. Strangely her most successful TV appearances were on the UK and Australian editions of ITV improv show Thank God You're Here. Tap into that vein, strip away the hipster talk of knitting her own cardigans, and her sunny disposition could conceivably help her go mainstream. Like Michael McIntyre, but not awful.
 
The glossy American import
Tina Fey
Currently in 30 Rock
There are approximately eight articles proclaiming how great 30 Rock is per actual viewer of the show in the UK. Its first series was shown on Five, but in a late night spot where the audience dwindled to naught. It seems to have a bit of reputation as being telly for people who watch Mad Men – sure, it's great, but it's too clever for the mainstream. But it's packed with enough quickfire jokes that with a bit of decent promotion, a terrestrial channel could easily pick this up and make it a hit in double quick time.
 
The dark comedy star 
Alice Lowe
Last seen in Beehive
E4 sketch show Beehive wasn't great, and considering it was a slight, glossy affair, it seemed a strange place to see Alice Lowe. She could easily become the new Julia Davis, as they (normally) both specialise in character comedy that is normally prefaced in descriptions by the word 'dark'. She's not really recaptured the giddy heights of her time in the various Garth Merenghi shows, but given the right vehicle, it would be good to see Lowe back on telly.
 
The homely BBC One Sunday evening comedy
Liza Tarbuck
Currently on Radio 2
Someone on the radio has obviously realised Tarbuck is hilarious – she's due to take over from Jonathan Ross on Radio 2. But why stop there? She was warm and fun on the Big Breakfast, and merrily feisty on Linda Green. It doesn't really matter what the format is, just get her back on telly, please.
 
The brassy chat show host
Natalie Casey
Currently in Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps 
For those who only know Casey from BBC Three's perennial Two Pints, this may seem a strange suggestion. But Casey did sterling presenting work anchoring shows on MTV about a decade ago, as well as co-hosting early Big Brother's Little Brother. She's bolshy, chatty and amiable, and knows how to work an audience. She could easily make a BBC Three chat show work where Lilly Allen and Johnny Vaughan have both failed miserably.
 
The voice over
Emma Kennedy
Currently on Twitter, prolifically
Kennedy's voice is probably familiar, even if her face isn't – she's often on the radio, and Richard Herring's podcast – while also doing some TV work, like The Smoking Room. She also co-narrated The Comic Side of 7 Days. These days, 90 per cent of all voice over work on TV seems to go to Mitchell or Webb. It would be good to get a bit of gender balance for the ears as well as for the eyes.
Person(s): 
Sarah Millican
Person(s): 
Josie Long
Person(s): 
Tina Fey
Person(s): 
Alice Lowe
Person(s): 
Liza Tarbuck
Person(s): 
Natalie Casey
Person(s): 
Emma Kennedy
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The comedy is really great.

The comedy is really great. They made sure that they get the whole thing going. - Kris Krohn Strongbrook

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