Why I’m not thrilled that Stephen Colbert is replacing Letterman

I love Stephen Colbert and I love Stephen Colbert. Let me explain: I think Stephen Colbert, comedian, actor and star/co-creator of the cult classic Strangers with Candy is fantastic, and I think Stephen Colbert, host of The Colbert Report is a brilliant creation – one of the greatest alter-egos a comic has created (it should stand side-by-side with other great comedic characters like Chaplin’s the Tramp or Lucille Ball’s variation on the scatter-brained housewife).

Stephen Colbert 2 by David Shankbone.jpg

Photo: David Shankbone

But I wasn’t thrilled when I found out Colbert will be replacing David Letterman as host of the Late Show for a couple reasons:

1) I would mourn the end of The Colbert Report. It’s one of the best satires ever – it does the kind of political humor that SNL wishes it could. And because Colbert’s right-wing blowhard alias is so well done and so perfectly crafted, he sometimes confuses less-sophisticated viewers who believe that he’s an actual right-wing talking head. The real Stephen Colbert is a left-leaning liberal, but as Stephen Colbert, host of The Colbert Report, he shreds all political sides, but skewers the right beautifully.

So, obviously, Colbert would be a great host – that’s not something I’m worried about. But when Letterman announced his impending retirement, I was hoping that he’d be replaced by someone else. Someone female.

It’s time that network late night television has a female host. In TV history, few women had a chance to be a late night chat host on network television – Whoopi Goldberg, Joan Rivers, Wanda Sykes – are three names that come to mind, all of whom failed to find an audience as television hosts. And I know that lots of folks use these examples as reasons to not hire a woman to take over the Late Show desk. But let’s be real: lots of guys failed at being night time talks shows, too (Pat Sajak, Alan Thicke, Magic Johnson, Chevy Chase). So to simply hang the paucity of female hosts in late night on the failure of Goldberg, Rivers, and Sykes is a little silly and short-sighted.

And the most disappointing part is that there are loads of comediennes that would be great at hosting: Chelsea Handler who recently left the E! channel, Sarah Silverman, Tina Fey, Tig Notaro, Anjelah Johnson, Aisha Tyler (the sooner she ditches The Talk, the better)…the list goes on and on…

Like I said, Colbert’s going to do great, but it’d be nice that in the sea of Jimmys, Seth, Arsenio, Dave (for now), a lady host gets a chance to break up the boys club.


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Filed under Celeb, Comedy, commentary, Television

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