We love Samantha Bee's response to an all-male profile of late night TV
For years, The Daily Show proved both an indispensable news source as well as a wellspring for comedic talent. Host Jon Stewart’s since left the late night TV game, but the capable Trevor Noah is taking that seat over. Meanwhile, other show correspondents like Stephen Colbert, John Oliver, and Larry Wilmore all branched out to create their own late night shows, joining the ranks of men like David Letterman, Seth Myers, Conan O’Brien, Jimmy Kimmel, Jimmy Fallon, and others.
Notice anything, er, monotonous about the string of names listed above? Perhaps it’s easier to see what’s up when all of these late night hosts are placed side-by-side, as Vanity Fair did for a piece in which they deem the late night scene “better than ever”:
Whoa, that’s a lot of dudes! While that much is apparent from the names alone (two Jimmy’s!), seeing a slew of men in suits being touted as the greatest late night comedic entertainers of all time is quite jarring, and makes us wonder: Why haven’t there been any high-profile female late night entertainers, despite the clear presence of women crushing it in comedy circles both amateur and professional? Just think about all the hilarious comediennes who’ve made you cry tears and fist pump over the years; what makes any of them under-qualified to spoof on the news, deliver heartfelt or scathing monologues, and bond with a national audience?
Hold up: There are at least two women poised to enter (or in one’s case, re-enter) the late night game — the indomitable Samantha Bee, who made her name on The Daily Show and, like colleagues Colbert, Oliver, and Wilmore left the show to pursue her own late-night spin-off on TBS; and Chelsea Handler, who had her own show on E! for years and is relaunching with Netflix. Yet somehow, this profile doesn’t speak with them directly, and buries concern over the lack of women in the field to the very end of the piece. This understandably ticked off Bee, who address the Vanity Fair piece in her own irreverent but hilarious way:
Yes, that’s Samantha Bee as an eye laser-shooting, six-pack-sporting centaur. It’s an impressive feat of Photoshop, but more importantly, Bee’s response serves as a cheeky indictment of Vanity Fair, which put in a footnote about gender disparity in the late night field while not reaching out to or photographing Bee or Handler.
We love Seth and John and Jimmy x 2 for bringing us joy and laughter and commentary — but there’s no reason why men have dominated late night except for the obvious one. In the meantime, we can’t wait for Bee’s and Handler’s shows to come on, and for the late night field to continue diversifying and reflect (at least a wee bit more) the audience that tunes in.
[Images courtesy of Comedy Central and via Twitter.]