The Full Frontal with Samantha Bee host explains why she finds the label “unsettling” after the cancellations of other female-led late night shows.
Late Night, starring Emma Thompson and Mindy Kaling, perfectly examined the treatment of women in late night television entertainment. (It’s also really funny and you should definitely go watch it). The film highlights very real issues, ranging from ageism to the lack of female writers, which continue to be prevalent in the industry.
For further proof of this, comedian and TV presenter Samantha Bee has spoken out about how “unsettling” it feels to be the only female late night host in America. In an interview with Variety magazine, she said: “It’s a bit unsettling. It’s been a bad year to be a woman in this space. It’s not really a badge that I want to wear.”
Comedian Bee - who was named one of Time’s most influential people in the world in the Time 100 list in 2017 - spent 12 years on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart before starting her own show, Full Frontal with Samantha Bee. Her political humour and sharp criticisms of Donald Trump saw her viewing figures soar in 2017 and it has been commissioned to run until at least 2020. The show is currently running an “Emmy For Your Consideration” segment which explores the challenges Bee faces as the only woman leading in late night talk entertainment
Bee referred to the recent cancellations of other female led night shows, including Busy’s Tonight hosted by Busy Philipps, I Love You America presented by Sarah Silverman, Michelle Wolf’s The Break on Netflix and The Rundown with Robin Thede.
She went on to explain how she thinks female presenters aren’t given enough time to give their shows a chance. “I do think the networks probably didn’t give them enough chance to find their sea legs,” she continued.
“They were good shows, they were moving forward, they were growing. It takes a while to grow an audience. It truly does… they just needed more time. In the late night space, it takes a while to properly grow your audience. There are a lot of options out there and you just need to be patient with it. And let it grow and let it find its people. When you cut it off prematurely, it’s really unfortunate.”
This also raises questions about late night talk shows in the UK, which are currently led by men including Graham Norton and Jonathan Ross. As the Late Night film and Full Frontal with Samantha Bee prove, more female presenters in this entertainment slot can only ever be a good - and very funny - thing for everybody.