Samantha Bee's 2017 Emmy Nomination Just Busted A Major Glass Ceiling
In a year where late night political talk shows can be like medicine for your sanity, it's nice to see the one female host get some well-deserved recognition. Full Frontal With Samantha Bee was nominated for an Emmy in the Outstanding Variety Talk Series category. She is the first woman to be nominated in this category since its invention in 2015, and now is the perfect time for her to nab the win.
The other nominees in the category this year are Jimmy Kimmel Live, Last Week Tonight With John Oliver, Real Time With Bill Maher, The Late Late Show With James Corden, and The Late Show With Stephen Colbert. While I'm sad to see Late Night With Seth Meyers and The Daily Show With Trevor Noah left out, the biggest takeaway here is that this is a list of men.
Bee is the first woman to be nominated in this category, but I say that with caveats. The category is only two years old. In 2015, Outstanding Variety Series was split into Talk and Sketch to accommodate the abundance of both late night talk shows and sketch comedy programming. John Oliver and Jon Stewart were the first two winners of the new award, and Amy Schumer was the first person, period, to win in the Outstanding Sketch Variety series. When the category was previously combined, iconic funny women like Carol Burnett, Julie Andrews, Lily Tomlin, Tracey Ullman took home trophies — but not for hosting a talk show.
Either way, Bee is somewhat of a pioneer. Joan Rivers won a Daytime Emmy, and was never nominated for a Primetime Emmy. Oprah Winfrey's hosting talents have never gone to primetime either. I have trouble believing it myself, but Whoopi Goldberg has never had her own talk show. Chelsea Lately was never nominated for any Emmy.
So what I'm trying to say is, it's about friggin' time! Good gravy. Full Frontal is also nominated for Outstanding Writing For A Variety Series, which combines talk and sketch. The show was also nominated in this category last year, in 2016. So the two nominations for the show this year is a step up.
It's also gratifying to see a show that nails women's issues with overpriced razor-thin precision be recognized in a year where women's rights are being marginalized. If nominations like this keep Full Frontal With Samantha Bee on the air and, even better, encourage more networks to put more women — smart women, women of color, engaging women, and women from all backgrounds — in hosting positions and writer's rooms, the efforts for resistance and progress that we so desperately need to amp up could actually happen.