Why Samantha Bee's new late-night show is a big deal
We all got teary-eyed when the hilarious Samantha Bee announced her departure from The Daily Show a couple weeks ago. As the show’s first female correspondent, first non-American correspondent, and the correspondent with the longest tenure, it’s safe to say she more than left her comedic mark — and we were all sad to see her go. But now, Bee is starting a satirical news program of her very own, and the just-released teaser has us all kinds of excited.
It’s no secret that women in late-night are a rarity (if not, as is currently the case, nonexistent), and the teaser is the perfect reminder of just how extreme this gender disparity has gotten. The teaser begins with Bee contemplating a gallery wall featuring portraits of current and former late-night hosts, and from there, hilarity ensues.
“You know, when I take a look at each piece individually, I like it,” her inner monologue muses. “But when I take a step back, I feel like something’s missing.”
Bee is then offered a platter of sausages — literally — from a passing waiter. (No, there is absolutely nothing subtle about this promo.) Each of the sausages she is offered is then intercut with photos of various late-night hosts: “mild” for Jimmy Fallon, “extra mild” for Carson Daly, “no idea what that one is” for James Corden, and the “English banger” for Bee’s fellow former correspondent, John Oliver (of which/whom the server has heard “really good things”).
Of course, the teaser is meant to poke fun of the overwhelmingly male-dominated nature of late-night — and we think Bee totally nails it. For the entirety of late-night talk show history, women have been pushed to the sidelines or completely off the field. There have, of course, been shining exceptions: Jessica Williams is a gift to all of us, the current SNL cast features some of the most talented women around, and Joan Rivers had a short-lived late night show of her own in the ’80s. But these women are definitely in the minority, and it often seems like the opportunities just aren’t there for women to host late-night. According to this list of late-night shows currently on the air in the United States, not a single show is hosted by a woman — but Bee is here to change that.
“Actually, you know what? I think I’m kind of done with sausages,” Bee ultimately tells the server, before pushing his face out of the shot.
Diverse representation has never been as essential as it is today, and nowhere is it as lacking as it is in late-night. The lack of diversity goes beyond just gender disparity, as well: the vast majority of late-night TV shows are white, cis-gendered, heterosexual, and able-bodied. This isn’t to say that these are the only factors that define a person, but how we identify certainly affects our perspectives and our experiences; and by having a diverse line-up of hosts, late-night can begin to better represent and appeal to its audience.
As I’ve written about before, I don’t think we should be picking our late-night hosts by fulfilling some non-existent diversity quota, but I do think it’s worth giving those outside of the straight-white-male mold a shot at the job if they’re the most qualified. And, more than that, if it’s continuously the case that women aren’t the most qualified, it’s worth questioning why. We couldn’t be more excited to see what Bee does on her own. According to the Associated Press, “women make up a majority of the audience for every network late-night show.”
“And I am female as f–k,” Bee says at the end of the teaser, as we all collectively pump our fists in the air. Check it out for yourself below.
(Image via YouTube)