Scout Durwood takes another comic to task over lesbian jokes on “Funny Girls”

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Oxygen’s Funny Girls has been on air for four episodes now, but out lesbian comic and cast member Scout Durwood has barely made an appearance. Instead, the reality series has focused on five other straight women comics who are dealing with a lot of dude drama. They’re looking for love in all the wrong places, and two of them (Esther Steinberg and Stephanie Simbari) are upset at each other over a male comic. 

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Last week, Scout penned a blog called “Hey Guys, I’m on a Reality Show…Sort of,” addressing why she hasn’t been a huge part of the show thus far. An excerpt:

No one got mad at me or forced me to do anything I wasn’t totally willing to do, and everyone involved in the show has been nothing but overwhelmingly supportive of each of the six cast members and of each of our careers. The best way I can describe why my scenes didn’t make the cut is this: being popular on reality TV is like being popular in highschool [sic], which, for the record, I was not. 

…The fall to the cutting room floor always comes with a sting, but I am honored to be involved in a show that supports female comedians, and proud to share an imdb credit as well as the stage with my five castmates who were so willing to put their lives on the line.

On this week’s episode, though, Scout finally showed up for more than two seconds. In an early scene, she meets with friend/fellow comic Nicole Schreiber, and they discuss their different ways of doing comedy. But they both want to do an open mic that week, so they decide to go together later that week. There’s also a great clip of Scout doing stand-up about a time she shut down a dude who said lesbians don’t know how to please women as well as men do.

The next day, Nicole asks Stephanie if she thinks it’s OK that she does some lesbian stuff that was kind of inspired by her friendship with Scout.

At the open mic, Scout performs some of her musical comedy (wish we could have seen more!) before Nicole takes the stage. She opens with the fact that she loves showing her lesbian friend dick pics. “Nothing like watching a lesbian squirm in front of a dick pic. It’s the most repulsive thing in the world to her.”

Scout, sitting only feet away, is not impressed. “I know she’s talking about me, and everyone knows she’s talking about me. It is the most horrifying like stomach dropping moment because I have no idea what she’s about to say next.”

And then Nicole says: “I tried being a lesbian once…and then I came down from the ecstasy.” Scout is still not impressed, but Nicole hears some laughs and keeps going: “I’m not built to be a lesbian, like ugh man, I have a pussy. I don’t want to eat a pussy, too!”

Scout tells the camera: “You can’t tell a joke that’s truly at the expense of someone else.” She leaves the room as Nicole’s time ends, not happy her friend has used her as fodder for her set.

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 A few days later, Nicole says Scout sent her a text message saying they need to talk. “I don’t know what we need to talk about and it’s kind of weird so….”

“I was really mad about your set at Echoes. My life is my life and you’re not allowed to make jokes about it on stage,” Scout says to Nicole. She feels like she can’t trust Nicole, or tell her anything about her life. Nicole can’t believe her friend is upset, saying all comedians talk about the people in their lives.

“Do you want to be one of those comedians?” Scout asks, and Nicole says Louis C.K. does it all the time. “Well he writes jokes about it and it’s funny.” Ouch! Scout doesn’t see any well-crafted jokes in Nicole’s lesbian stage game, and Nicole says she’s still working it out.

“You don’t set the rules. You’re not the comedy police!” Nicole says, but Scout says it’s not even just her, that Nicole has made jokes on stage about some of their other lesbian friends., too. “They wouldn’t say it on stage because it’s private information,” Scout said. “They told you off the record.”

Nicole isn’t apologetic and Scout says she can’t be friends with someone who uses her personal life as their material. “I think you’re better than the material you’re doing right now. And you’re funny, but you’re funniest when you write it, revise it and get laughs,” Scout said. Nicole apologizes. She doesn’t want her friend to think she’s “a mean, malicious person who uses people for her comedy.” They worked it out, both feeling better about it and hopefully both learning from the experience. 

Lesbians often get a bad rap for being humorless, but we’re so often the butt of easy, not funny jokes that it can be incredibly frustrating to hear them, especially from people you know and love. There are ways to make “lesbian jokes” without them being like this one from another straight woman comic on the show, Yamaneika Saunders:

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Let’s put it this way: If the punchline is that lesbians are a choice you make when men suck, or a phase you go through while intoxicated, it’s just not funny. It’s tired; it’s cliche. Try something a little more inspired, one that even your lesbian friends will wish they’d written themselves.

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