The Webby Award Winners Demonstrate Why We Need Women In Late Night Television
Late Night comedy isn't just a boys' club, it's a boys' institution. When Jay Leno "stepped down" the first time from The Tonight Show, Conan O'Brien inherited the position. Then O'Brien got bumped, Leno came back, Jimmy Fallon took over for O'Brien, then Leno retired and Fallon took over for him. Now Seth Meyers has Fallon's old spot and Stephen Colbert is stepping into David Letterman's seat when he leaves the Late Show. The trend of total male domination in late night comedy isn't just for the major networks either — it's true for basic cable as well. When Jon Stewart announced that he would soon be leaving The Daily Show, it was shortly followed-up with the news that Trevor Noah would be helming the popular comedy news series. Men taking up all of late night real estate doesn't just mean they rule the airwaves, they're also ruling the Internet, as proven by the 2015 Webby Awards.
The Webby Awards, which have been around for 19 years, honor the best content on the Internet as voted by The International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences judges (Who include Conan O'Brien and the guys who created Tumblr) as well as 500,000 Internet users around thw world. This year, Jimmy Fallon took home the Webby for best entertainment app and best television website while Jimmy Kimmel won the comedy Webby in the online film and video category for his "Mean Tweets" as well as a Webby and a People's Voice award for the "Halloween Candy Prank" in the viral and branded entertainment categories in online film and video.
Jimmy Fallon and Jimmy Kimmel both thrive on viral online media. Their voice and brand expands beyond their broadcast and onto the Internet with their Webby Award-winning segments along with a slew of retweetable content. After Jimmy Fallon airs a "Lip Sync Battle," it's almost guaranteed that your Facebook timeline or Twitter feed will be flooded by it, and you'll click and watch just to see what everyone is talking about. Though these segments are completely funny and entertaining, they demonstrate just how much control men have in controlling what people actually find funny and entertaining. When it comes to comedy online, the majority of what we're consuming is made by and starring in men and further pushing women out of the picture.
Thankfully women like Amy Schumer are taking that model of television to web clip to get women's voices out to a greater audience. But she can't do it alone. The Webby Awards show just how imbalanced late night comedy is when it comes to gender. With the way things have been going in recent late-night hosting shake-ups, it doesn't look like it's going to change anytime soon — that is unless the major networks actually start paying attention to web television where Netflix and Amazon are making series and specials that flip the gender bias. Oh, and they're massively successful.