The hosts of late-night television programs on the major networks are all white males. If you expand out to include the cable late nighters, you add some racial diversity to the mix (Hi Larry Wilmore and Trevor Noah! It’s great to see you both here, as of 2015). When Vanity Fair profiled the “titans of late-night television” last September, they took a picture of just how male the late-night space is on television (luckily, Bee improved on the photo for us). In fact, you have to go all the way to TBS (and recently Netflix) to find a woman helming a late-night show.
And go all the way to TBS you should, because there you will find Samantha Bee doing outstanding work on her show Full Frontal with Samantha Bee, which premiered in February 2016. Confession time, here’s what I got: I don’t watch any late-night television on television. I do pay for cable, but most of the late-night material I consume is delivered via YouTube, where I’ll stumble upon an offering from John Oliver (for meticulously researched, in-depth pieces), Seth Meyers (for the friends of SNL interviews), Jimmy Fallon (for those dumb games and truly great Lip Sync Battles), and James Corden (for Carpool Karaoke, and only Carpool Karaoke). Stephen Colbert’s transition to The Late Show has not been outstanding, although I fully support him interviewing musical guests like the great Rachel Bloom. Among these very white, very male voices, I’m consistently delighted by all the things Samantha Bee is doing on her show.