Late-night TV seems to be a man’s world


Dave Letterman is retiring from The Late Show, leaving the chair vacant.

Wouldn’t it be neat to put a woman in that chair?


First off, women are not funny.

Occasionally, they are indignant. But that is as far as it goes. If you really want laughs, have the vengeful spirit of Christopher Hitchens take over hosting duties. That man knew comedy.

It was scandalous enough when network executives tried to put a redhead in the chair. That almost tore NBC apart at the seams.

No, what CBS needs to do is hire a white guy named Jimmy. There are two places where Jimmys belong: on ice cream cones and behind the desks of late-night shows.

After all, they are the funniest people in comedy. Consider: Who, in the course of history, has hosted more late-night talk shows on major broadcast networks? Women and people of color, or white men named Jimmy? That’s right: white men named Jimmy. There is something about this name that makes a person objectively better. There are so comparatively many women out there, and so comparatively few people named Jimmy, that this has to be a merit thing.

Consider how many women out there seem, on the surface, as though they might be a good fit for a desk like this. Chelsea Handler is leaving her show this year! Whatever you think about her, she is definitely female! And she has experience being on TV late at night. Or, heck, one of the Amys — Poehler, Sedaris, Schumer? Do they do interviews? Ellen seems to be having a good time in daytime, but if she ever changes her mind . . .

Delving deeper into the land of podcasts (hey, they got Pete Holmes a show this way!), what about Aisha Tyler of Girl on Guy? Or Julie Klausner of How Was Your Week?” These are just a few off the top of my head.

But getting a woman only seems like a good idea. A Jimmy would be preferable.

Putting a man named Jimmy in the chair would allow us to dispense quickly with the idea that late-night television is a Vital, Happening Medium. The sooner we do this, and stop thinking that it is anything other than what your grandparents watch after drinking a glass of warm milk to lull themselves toward slumber, the better. All they need is a Nice Young Man to talk pleasantly for a few minutes until they are seized in the arms of Morpheus.

Even moving Craig Ferguson up an hour might be too much too fast. His accent might disorient people. The trick of late-night TV is that if you wake up suddenly and find that the television is on, you need to be able to convince yourself that it is still 1970-something and soothe yourself back to sleep. A woman or accented American would only alarm, disorient and awaken you.

Keep it with the Jimmys. There are lots of them: Jimmy Buffett. Jimmy Carter. Jimmy John, who makes those sandwiches.

Do this, and we can stop having to care about it. Late night is an overcovered vestigial organ. We do not need to care who is occupying the appendix. It seldom serves a purpose. If anything happens that is actually hip and relevant to young people, we kids will catch it online the next morning. Look, even when Jimmy Fallon has what an NBC news release describes as Excitingly High Ratings, only 4.3 million people are watching him.

Granted, this is more than have ever watched me do anything, but this is not a Massive Cultural Thing any longer. CaptainSparklez on YouTube has more subscribers than that, and I don’t know exactly what he does. He seems affable, though, and is friends with a green square named Jimmy. (Jimmy!)

No, no ladies. Just put a Jimmy on it. That’s the way to go.

© 2014, The Washington Post

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