Karen Belz
April 14, 2014 8:00 am

First, I want to congratulate Stephen Colbert for successfully scoring the coveted position as David Letterman’s replacement on The Late Show. Not only will Colbert do an excellent job, but he definitely deserved the promotion. Plus, it’s a good chance for us to learn more about the real Stephen Colbert, as opposed to the character he played on The Colbert Report.

While the announcement was made soon after David announced his retirement, there was still plenty of time for us to brainstorm ideas for new hosts that could fill David’s shoes. And since a woman has never served as the host at either of the big late night gigs, it was interesting to figure out which ladies would have been amazing at scoring the role first. Here are a few worthy candidates that could have been incredible competitors to Jimmy Fallon’s Tonight Show.

1. Tina Fey

There’s no doubt about it that Tina would be an absolutely incredible host. Not only does she light up the screen, but her improv background would definitely help her handle possibly awkward interviews in a creative and flawless way. She was also one of the top women mentioned when news sources speculated who’d take over. Jimmy and Tina are tight, so it’d be interesting to see them separate, in the same time slot. Yet, that’s why DVRs and Hulu were invented, right?

Unfortunately, the role isn’t one that Tina sees herself destined for. “I don’t know if I would be good at it because the thing that makes Jimmy so great at it is he really, really loves talking to people. You can’t walk down the street with him, he’ll talk to everyone. I’m sorta shy, so I feel like I’d be too shy to talk to people every single day all day,” she said in an interview. Well, at least we can always dream.

2. Ellen DeGeneres

Ellen’s name was also tossed around as a possibility, and Ellen herself even spoofed the idea of being the host on her show. Ellen is extremely talented, and would have been a welcomed addition to Late Night. But just like Tina, she’s more comfortable in a different setting.

“I am very flattered but I really love doing my daytime show,” she told viewers. “And nighttime is very different. There’s a lot of political humor, which I don’t do.”

3. Aisha Tyler

If you remember Talk Soup (before it morphed into The Soup), you might remember how Aisha Tyler rocked when she took over as host in 2001. The job also landed her a pilot of her own show, The Aisha Tyler Show, in 2009. Unfortunately, it never saw the light of day.

Aisha’s background in stand-up comedy would have definitely lead to hilarious monologues. Thankfully, the American version of Whose Line Is It Anyway? saw how massively talented she was, and gave her the opportunity to host the show in 2013.

4. Krysten Ritter

Krysten would have been my top choice as a host, even though she would have been a dark horse. There’s something very intriguing about Krysten, and based on seeing her interviews, she would have easily been able to think on her feet. Plus, she’s sharp and funny. Even though Don’t Trust The B In Apartment 23 departed from this world sooner than it should have, she demonstrated her talents perfectly, and helped make the show so likable.

Krysten just recently signed on to NBC’s astronaut-themed comedy pilot Mission Control.

5. Joy Behar

My first introduction to Joy was when The View launched, and she stuck with the show for a lot longer than some of her fellow co-hosts. Plus, she definitely has a knack for comedy. Even though she used to be a high school English teacher, she gave stand-up a shot in the 80’s, and went on to host a segment on The View called “Joy’s Comedy Corner” in which she presented both established and up-and-coming comedians. Since her departure, she’s went on to host numerous other programs.

No doubt about it, this woman can carry a show.

6. Amy Poehler

Despite how much we want to fight it, I’m getting the feeling that Parks and Recreation might wrap up soon. (For the record: By soon, I mean in the next few years. Not tomorrow.)

Amy proved that she can be an excellent host by cohosting the Golden Globes with her best friend Tina. She also proved that there’s really nothing she can’t do. Even with her extracurriculars, like ‘Smart Girls’, she’s shown the world that she’s extremely intelligent and level-headed. Like Tina, (and Jimmy Fallon and Seth Myers) she’s an alum of SNL‘s Weekend Update. The men both found success with late night – why can’t our girl Amy?

7. Retta

Since we’re talking about Parks and Recreation, can we discuss Retta for a moment? Retta is so cool, that she doesn’t even need a last name. (But for the record, it’s Sirleaf.) Besides playing the incredible Donna Meagle, she’s performed on Premium Blend, which is a Comedy Central show that features up-and-coming comedians.

She also has hosting experience: In 2013, she was asked to host the 3rd Critics’ Choice Television Awards. Retta also tells it like it is, which is refreshing. In the popular podcast ‘How Did This Get Made?’ Retta appeared on the episode which dissected Spice World, and openly admitted that she stopped watching the film after being disgusted over the Spice Girl’s fictional bus – which appeared in one of the first scenes. Even though she didn’t complete her homework, she still managed to be absolutely hilarious.

8. Janeane Garofalo

I’ve been a Janeane fan since middle school. In fact, if I could have a spirit animal, it’d probably be her. (That’s how spirit animals work, right?)

Janeane would have been an excellence choice, since she’s fond of the political chatter that Ellen mentioned being uncomfortable with. Sure, she’s also a bit of a pessimist – but that would have given the show a bit of an edge.

While Janeane doesn’t have much hosting experience on television, she hosted Air America Radio’s The Majority Report with Sam Seder from 2004 to 2006. Also, her experience as a stand-up comedian and her brief stint on Saturday Night Live can’t hurt.

9. Caroline Rhea

Remember when Rosie O’Donnell had her popular daytime show, and Caroline Rhea took over when needed? Eventually she was given her own show after Rosie threw in the towel, and while it didn’t last as long (probably based on her lack of flying Koosh balls), it was still pretty darn good. Fans of The Biggest Loser might also remember Caroline hosting for a few seasons before Alison Sweeney took over.

Caroline is genuinely likable, and probably would have gained a pretty big audience if she was given the Late Night gig. She’s found other outlets that have accepted her with open arms, including travelling live stage show version of the game show Family Feud, and the Canadian television series Cake Walk: Wedding Cake Edition on Slice.

10. Amy Sedaris

Amy comes from a funny family – you’ve probably read a book or two from her brother David, and you might have caught Amy playing the feisty Jerri Blank on Comedy Central’s series Strangers With Candy a few years ago. It takes a strong woman to wear so much unflattering garb on television, but Amy succeeded and made the show hilarious.

Amy worked with the Chicago-based Second City and Annoyance Theatre comedy troupes, and was asked to host the Annual Microsoft Company Meeting in Seattle back in 2010. I’d love to see what she’d bring to late night television.

11. Jessica Williams

She might not be a household name yet, but she will be – soon. Jessica is currently a correspondent on The Daily Show, and we all know that successful correspondents tend to move on towards bigger and better things (see: Steve Carell, Ed Helms, and Stephen Colbert himself.) When she’s not kicking back with Jon Stewart, she’s performing at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre in Los Angeles.

Jessica is still very young (only 24!) so who knows? Maybe she’ll be in line to host a show in the future.

Is there anyone else you think would be a great addition to the list?

Image Credits: , , , , Williams

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