Shockingly, sexism still exists in 2016, particularly in the world of comedy – PEOPLE assembled a panel of experts, each one an Emmy nominee, to address a question plaguing Hollywood: Why aren't men funny?

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August 10, 2016 10:00 AM

For years, men like Jerry Seinfeld, David Letterman and Jon Stewart have toiled away on the comedy circuit, just to crash against a glass ceiling, struggling to make the same money or gain the same notoriety as their female counterparts. So few movies, sitcoms or late-night shows feature men in a leading role that journalists have finally begun asking, “How can this still be happening?”

PEOPLE gathered a group of Emmy nominees who agreed to discuss the ugly truth behind Hollywood’s institutional sexism: Men just aren’t funny.

As black-ish star Tracee Ellis Ross says, “When I think of stories about men, I think … kitchen.”

So men can’t be funny? According to Allison Janney, the star of CBS’ Mom: “Personally, I haven’t seen it.”

“It doesn’t feel possible to me,” says Samantha Bee, former Stewart colleague, now hosting TBS’ Full Frontal with Samantha Bee. “And their voices are so shrill. Like their voices are weird to my ears that when I hear a man say a joke, it feels grating.”

For more from this year’s Emmy nominees, pick up the new issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday

Saturday Night Live and Ghostbusters standout Kate McKinnon says she saw a glimmer of hope a few years ago, “I remember watching Old School [in 2003] and thinking, ‘Oh my god, they made a funny movie with men. This is gonna catch on.’ ”

The trend didn’t catch on, but Niecy Nash of HBO’s Getting On tells her male counterparts not to give up hope, offering, “We might get there in another couple years. We’re ramping up.”

The 68th Primetime Emmy Awards will be broadcast Sept. 18 on ABC.

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