I feel like this is a question that we keep having to ask pertaining to late-night comedy shows: Saturday Night Live, The Tonight Show, The Late Show, Late Night, you name it. It's a question we ask over and over, and, still, receive only scant (if that!) acknowledgement from networks about the problem. Other than that, well — no real solution and no real recognition. So, in light of last night's episode of The Daily Show which featured Jason Jones guest-hosting for Jon Stewart, who was out sick, I ask again (in the most exasperated Liz Lemon voice I can muster): Where are all the women in late night comedy?
In The Daily Show's defense, last night's episode did heavily feature correspondent Samantha Bee (Jones' real-life wife, coincidentally), but Jones was still the main host of the night — and no amount of pre-written jokes from Bee about how "I should be in that chair. Right now!" and "While you were in that chair remolding Jon's ass groove, I was out there doing some real reporting on police shootings!" can sugarcoat that fact. Now, I'm not saying that Jones isn't a funny guy and didn't do a great job, but what would have been so wrong with just sticking Bee in that chair for the entire duration of the show as opposed to the second half? Or even Jessica Williams, who's proven to be a fan favorite with segments like the war against catcalls?
There was a great opportunity here to present some diversity — not to mention, to stand out from just about every other late night show on air, because guess what, all hosted by white dudes — and it just feels like The Daily Show sorely missed it. I had half-hoped that after the backlash following Stephen Colbert laughing off the fact that he only has one female staff writer on The Colbert Report during the Emmys, Comedy Central would have at least tried to make amends, but perhaps that was just extreme wishful thinking.
It might seem like I'm taking this too seriously. After all, Jones did a great job! Why turn over a whole essay about how a lady should have guest hosted the show when Jones himself was a fine pick? Well, that's true — Jones was a fine pick. But the fact of the matter is that these opportunities don't come along very often on The Daily Show: In the series' entire 18+ year history, they've only had a total of eight guest hosts, and only a handful of episodes where Stewart has been out for various reasons. Amongst those hosts — John Oliver, Rob Corddry, Stephen Colbert, Steve Carell, Nancy Walls, Vance DeGeneres, Mo Rocca — only one was a woman (Walls), and she only guest hosted two episodes in 2001. An episode needing a guest host is a rare occurrence, so there's really no telling when the next opportunity will present itself.
So, the fact that there hasn't been a lady host sitting in Stewart's chair for the past 13 years? Kind of a big deal.
The Daily Show has never had a history of being unsupportive towards female comedians — Bee, Williams, Kristen Schaal, and Olivia Munn were all apart of the show at one point or another as correspondents, and they're just a few of the talented, badass women that The Daily Show has brought us. So, wouldn't it be awesome if the show just went that one step further and let one of these aforementioned ladies sit on that iconic chair to remold Jon's ass groove?
Because, network brass, I promise: The world won't end if a woman hosts something for once.