Maybe They Just Weren't Funny Enough?

Look, I like former SNL members Casey Wilson and Michaela Watkins, but how come no one's even paid them the compliment of suggesting that's an option? Nope. When a woman's fired, it's all about the looks.

As Latoya mentioned earlier this morning, SNL has strenuously denied the rumors - publicized by E! - that Casey Wilson was dismissed from the cast because of her failure to lose 30 pounds. So, good?

But wait, Tom Shales suggested that the problem for Wilson and Michaela Watkins was excessive attractiveness, remarking in the Washington Post that "cute Casey Wilson and glamorous Michaela Watkins have concurrently left... Watkins may have been just too classically pretty to be hilarious." He goes on to trot out the old "pretty women can't be funny" cliche:

I thought Ms Watkins looked like a model; very elegant, quite quite pretty. It seemed like maybe comedy is too messy a business for someone like her. I couldn't see her letting herself get messed up for laughs — not that there's much slapstick any more, it's just that comedy is by its nature indecorous, if there is such a word.

Julie Klausner points out tartly that "Tom Shales is marinating in his own version of the sexism that prioritizes funny women's looks over their chops" - a claim that Alex Leo slyly takes down on the HuffPo - but I don't even think we need to reiterate that old argument. What struck me as so farcical was that in one week, these women were deemed too unattractive, and too attractive, to be funny. Not once have I seen anyone suggest that maybe they weren't as talented as the new cast members, in a show that's notorious for restless lineups. I'm not even suggesting this is the case - but it's ludicrous to me that people find those criticisms more damaging and delicate than claims that the dismissals must have been looks-based. Criticism of our looks, apparently, women can handle. Anything else is just too sensitive.

For 'SNL,' Doubts Follow A Banner Year [Washington Post]

Tom Shales Is So Right, Beautiful Women Are Terrible At Comedy
[Huffington Post]
Julie Klausner [Official Site]

Related: Did SNL Fire Casey Wilson Over Her Weight?