Emily Rome
June 20, 2012 AT 03:20 PM EDT

“Oh my gosh, did you know women can be funny too?” has been the ongoing epiphany of the past year, thanks to the stars and writers of Bridesmaids, New Girl and HBO’s Girls. But lately comedian Adam Carolla has seemed determined to stir the pot on the subject a bit more, declaring women less funny than men. Either that or he’s searching for easy publicity for his new book, No Taco Bell Material.

It started with a New York Post story published on Saturday, in which the former Man Show host was asked if he hates working with women. He responded, “No. But they make you hire a certain number of chicks, and they’re always the least funny on the writing staff. The reason why you know more funny dudes than funny chicks is that dudes are funnier than chicks.”

Christopher Hitchens would be so proud.

Carolla continued his take on the place of ladies in the writers room: “If my daughter has a mediocre sense of humor, I’m just gonna tell her, ‘Be a staff writer for a sitcom. Because they’ll have to hire you, they can’t really fire you, and you don’t have to produce that much. It’ll be awesome.’”

Is macho man Carolla going to find himself backing down and apologizing, like he has in the past for provocative comments? Probably not this time — given the opportunity to clarify, Carolla asserted, “I don’t care. When you’re picking a basketball team, you’ll take the brother over the guy with the yarmulke. Why? Because you’re playing the odds. When it comes to comedy, of course there’s Sarah Silverman, Tina Fey, Kathy Griffin — super-funny chicks. But if you’re playing the odds? No.”

Carolla has — surely knowingly — set himself up for a slew of responses, jabs at his comedy capabilities and defenses of funny women chief among them. Girls creator and star Lena Dunham tweeted: “Wait, Adam Carolla, is he the one who did the voice of the parrot in Aladdin??? He makes me giggle.”

Curious to hear what other women who have succeeded in the business of being funny had to say, EW reached out to TV writer-producer Jane Espenson, best known for her geek cred with shows like Buffy the Vampire SlayerBattlestar Galactica and Once Upon a Time, but also a writer on Gilmore Girls who is currently running her comedy web series Husbands. “I think there is an assumption being made here,” she wrote via email. ” The assumption is that you are funny, and then you are hired to write jokes. What’s more often the case is that you’re a little bit funny, and then you’re hired onto a staff, and you get funnier. You swap punch lines, you top each other, you learn to spin a concept to keep a joke fresh. As long as women are denied the experience of being able to fail without shame, play without judgment, and succeed without surprise, they are going to — oh f— it, never mind –they’re STILL funnier than Adam Carolla.”

What do you think PopWatchers? Anyone think Carolla has a point? Anyone wondering how long it’ll take for the are-they-funny-or-aren’t-they debate to go away?

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