Kings of late-night: Don’t let gender take away from talented male evening hosts

Since the early days of “The Ed Sullivan Show,” late night talk shows have been an important part of the American household and have evolved into a subculture in themselves.
Now, millions of viewers gather each night to watch which celebrity Jimmy Fallon will challenge to a Lip Sync Battle or what crazy new impersonation Conan O’Brien has up his sleeve. However, the prestige of late night comedy has recently been under scrutiny.
In its October issue, Vanity Fair published a spread idolizing the current lineup of late night talk show hosts, who the magazine credits for making the genre “better than ever.” From ABC to Comedy Central, these 10 comedians: Stephen Colbert, Conan O’Brien, Trevor Noah, James Corden, Jimmy Kimmel, John Oliver, Seth Meyers, Larry Wilmore, Jimmy Fallon and Bill Maher. This group is credited in the article with revitalizing late night comedy for the new era.
Since its release, the article has been severely criticized on every corner of social media and several news outlets. The reason? All 10 comedians are men.
Although we are in a time of progressivism and forward-thinking for women, feminism should not get in the way of lauding these men for their exponential contributions to comedy.
Countless media outlets have called the lineup nothing more than a gentlemen’s club of comedy and a lot of whiskey, as the photo in Vanity Fair’s spread depicts.
But really, there is no controversy here. The people who have taken to Twitter or other news outlets to stir up something are merely grasping for some controversy about non existent sexism, thus creating another thing for people to complain about.
It’s also worth noting that there really have only been a handful of late-night hosts to begin with, as many do it for decades. Take Johnny Carson’s “Tonight Show” gig as an example; he hosted the show for 30 years. Only recently has there been a huge shift in hosts sitting behind these famed desks.
However, some of the top female names in comedy — Amy Schumer, Sarah Silverman, Kathy Griffin and Lena Dunham — have made a career degrading themselves and inserting as much raunchy language and behavior as possible into an hour-long HBO special.
Of course, there are plenty of male comedians, even a few in late-night comedy now, who have made a living telling just as dirty jokes as these women. But the point is, there is no room for such debauchery on primetime television.
This doesn’t mean there aren’t women in Hollywood who could hold their own against any of these gentlemen. The likes of Tina Fey, Amy Poehler or Mindy Kaling could run circles around many male comedians on the market today. And certainly, Ellen DeGeneres has become a normal source of laughter in the average American home.
However, for the majority of women comedians, it seems as though in order to be “funny,” they have to belittle themselves to be heard. Perhaps they should rethink their jokes if this is what these women deem as comedy.
On the other hand, women rule the daytime talk show gamut with shows like ABC’s heated “The View,” Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb on the “Today Show,” and the “Rachel Ray Show.” Oprah Winfrey reigned over all daytime talk shows for 25 seasons, and certainly Ellen DeGeneres has made a fortune off her funny pranks. But this daytime genre caters to the audience watching at these times of the day, and very few males — save Michael Strahan — are found hosting these shows.
Let’s not discredit the comedic genius this all-male lineup brings simply because a woman hasn’t stepped up to the plate to deliver the same amount of class these gentlemen bring every night. Jimmy Fallon redeemed the “Tonight Show” by taking his hilarious stunts to YouTube, and Stephen Colbert by satirically teaching us a thing or two about politics on the “Late Show.”
Perhaps there is a gender gap in late night comedy. But this should not take away from giving these 10 funny men a hand. Ladies, if it’s the glamour of late-night television you seek, clean up your act. The men who hold the keys to the after-hours kingdom have earned their spots.
Editor’s note: It is important to note that half of the Lariat Editorial Board are women, who also share the opinions expressed in this editorial.