Here's my slightly aggressive response to an article written by a guy I like and respect who I vehemently disagree with on this subject. I figure the anger expressed and expletives I use are balanced out by the fact that I'm giving his article free press.
For reference, his article is here. In case you don't want to read that to read this, my summary of it is as follows "Grr! Why so many shows just for girls and minorities? They don't need to be coddled, they should compete on an even playing field with all us white guys." His version is probably less passive-aggressively whiney. Probably.
As an ostensibly white guy (my dad was a Jew from Argentina, but look at me), I get really exhausted by the never-ending attempts by the privileged group to completely ignore history and pretend that the playing field is equal, whether in stand-up or anywhere else. I mean Joe, I like you, but seriously, what the fuck? Are you going to ask why there isn't also a white history month too? I mean I know tons of talented historically worthwhile blacks, why do they need to be coddled by having their own special month?
The reason why minorities and women deserve to have spaces carved out specifically for them is because there has been institutionalized discrimination against them for most of recorded history (and ya know, probably also in non-recorded history too). This isn't special treatment in a vacuum, it's special treatment as a corrective measure in a context in which white guys have been getting special treatment for ever. If you think that things are equal and fair as is, then I guess you must just think white guys are the funniest. Given how much they're over represented, it just must be some genetic, biological function, being a white guy is the funniest thing in the world, since surely there's no institutional circumstances that have led to the wild relative number of white guys. Other things that white guys must just naturally be AMAZING at include: Being president, being the star of movies, being news anchors, being CEOs.... Man, I guess white guys are THE BEST.
Getting different views in comedy is vital for it to continue to grow as an art form, and as Raj points out, there are economic reasons why this is a good move too. If stand-up continues to look like a white boys club, then we should be surprised that white boys are far more drawn towards it and promoted with in it, as the people doing the promoting tend to be former white boys themselves. Maybe in a hundred years (or however long it takes) when there are people of different backgrounds who have risen through the ranks and the institutional prejudice has been corrected for, maybe then your point stands, but considering that we still have people saying "I've already got one lady on the show, I think we're set," I don't think we're quite there yet.
I have never had an unpleasant time seeing you Joe, so I mean this with all respect, but come the fuck on, you have got to be smarter than this.