Where are the women on late night TV?

 
 

Comedian Adam Carolla has been taking “being a chauvinist” to the bank for a number of years now with no end in sight. While I haven’t had a chance to read his 2010 best seller, In Fifty Years We’ll All Be Chicks, I’m assuming it’s not the anthology on feminism that the title suggests.

In the past he’s railed against transgender people (“When did we start giving a shit about these people?”), LGBT activists “ruining his life,” and homosexual parents, chalking all of these remarks up to “comedy.” He’s explained that producers, “make you hire a certain number of chicks, and they’re always the least funny on the writing staff,” and just this week, more of the same. Seems you can put lipstick on a pig and it’s still a pig, and you can further sugarcoat misogyny and it’s still perpetuating a tired argument.

On Wednesday, Carolla went on HuffPost Live to chat about his new show, Catch a Contractor. During the interview with Alyona Minkovski, he shared his thoughts on where he sees women within the landscape of late-night TV.

As with most comedy outlets, late-night TV is one of the most perpetually outmoded boys clubs known to, well, man. Aside from The Wanda Sykes Show which wasn’t renewed after its first season, and Joan Rivers’ controversial hosting duties on the original Late Show on Fox (revived by CBS in 1993), we rarely see a woman deliver a monologue any time after the sun goes down. A distant second place of course goes to SNL, but even the Saturday night institution has made strides to widen the gap between the two, engaging a more diverse cast and writing room.

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So when asked “What about women? Are there any women you think would just kill it during late-night,” Carolla didn’t hesitate to respond with a resounding, “Ummmmm.”

He bookended his answer by mentioning the illustrious, if obvious, Ellen DeGeneres, saying she would do “pretty well.” In this instance, “pretty well” is being loosely defined as crashing Twitter with awesomeness. He quickly explained saying, “To me it’s not so much about women and men, it’s sort of who do you want to see at night.” Obviously his implication is that the answer here is “men.”

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His responses to the question were passive, most likely to avoid further criticism of underlying sexism. Instead of owning his remarks, he blamed society being unable to adapt to seeing a woman host late night talk show when we’re so “used to a guy standing there in a suit telling monologue jokes.” He goes further to say, “I don’t know if it would be confusing if it’s a woman standing there telling monologue jokes. We’re just used to certain genders in certain roles.”

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I don’t know about gender roles, but what I am used to is Adam Carolla sticking his foot in his mouth. Minkovski curbed her response, saying, “I think the viewers could handle it if there was a change, and they wouldn’t be so confused.” And she’s right, there are plenty of women who could take the reigns of late night and “kill it.” Has this man ever heard of Tina Fey or Amy Poehler? Will someone just introduce him to Kate McKinnon or Jessica Williams already? It’s about time he freshened up his schtick.

 
 

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