GROSS: Let's get back to, Jo, your work studying medieval Jewish history and planning to become a history teacher or a history professor. Was there a part of you thinking, what I really want to do is comedy, but I can't do that...
GROSS: ...I can't become a comedian or a comic writer, so I'd better just keep to history?
MILLER: Yes. Yes.
(Editor stops washing dishes.)
GROSS: Why did you think that?
MILLER: Because I'm a girl.
(Editor stares hard into the sink.)
MILLER: I hate myself like girls do. That's exactly why.
(Editor looks at the radio.)
MILLER: I was in - well, when Lizz Winstead started The Daily Show in 1996, and I was watching it from day one. And I had these little fantasies of going to work for Lizz Winstead.
(Editor looks at the Lizz Winstead book sitting on her shelf.)
MILLER: But that's all it was, was a fantasy. I later did work for Lizz Winstead on Wake Up World, and she taught me so much. She's a wonderful person.
When I was at The Daily Show, we would have interns, college kids every semester. And at the end, they would gather in the writers lounge and - to ask us questions. And we'd ask them questions about what they wanted to do. They'd be half men, half women. And if you - we'd ask them, do you want to be a writer? And go down the line. And the men would all say, yeah. I'm going to be a writer. "I'm Jake. I'm going to be a writer." "I'm Carl. I'm going to write." And the women would say, "I'm Amanda. You know, maybe some day. I don't know. I'm not good enough."
BEE: "We'll see. I mean..."
MILLER: "I'd like to. We'll see."
BEE: "...I don't know. I might go into teaching."
(Editor thinks about punching a wall.)
MILLER: Yeah. And finally, one day I just had a meltdown. You know, somewhere between the unearned confidence of the men and the unjustified self-censorship of the women is where the truth lies. Yes, Donna, you were good enough. You just started. Do it, and you'll get good. But - and we plucked some - our best writers out of other fields, like, you know, journalism, the best writers at The Daily Show like Tim Carvell, who's running John Oliver's show came from journalism.
And that's - we're not - the women are out there doing journalism, doing academics, doing social work, doing lawyer stuff. And we just have to find them because they're sitting there like I was sitting in Ithaca going, I suck. Boy, it'd be fun to write for The Daily Show if I didn't suck.
MILLER: They're out there.
MILLER: It seems like a very far away dream.
BEE: Yes. It seems like a very far away dream.
MILLER: All the grad students who are listening - because every grad student in the world listens to this show, I know - try it. Put your stuff out on the internet. Put out YouTube videos. Put up - just put up your funny writings. Tweet funny things. Someone will find you.
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