"So much whiteness, so many men."
On September 14, 2015, Vanity Fair tweeted ... this.
The "titans" of late-night comedy pulled on their most dapper suits and enjoyed a few stiff ones for a Vanity Fair photo shoot.
The accompanying article, which is titled, "Why Late-Night Television Is Better Than Ever," appears in the magazine's October issue. It focuses on the state of comedy after dark and the recent influx of host switch-ups. Boy oh boy (literally), it looked like a lot of fun.
But a glaring oversight caught readers' attention: How can late night TV be "better than ever," yet still lack a single female host?
Of the 10 comedians featured in Vanity Fair's spread, three are named James, but zero are women. And, while we're at it, only two are people of color, and none are LGBT.
Although we may love our Jimmys, let's admit it: Late-night television (and comedy in general) has a bit of a white male problem. This, although still disappointing, is not news. It's the status quo.
So how can we call this new era in late night the "best yet" — while the genre has failed to produce a single show with a woman behind its desk?
To be completely fair, the Vanity Fair article itself even points out how absurd it is that, still, there's not one woman steering a late-night ship:
"How gobsmackingly insane is it that no TV network has had the common sense — and that's all we're talking about in 2015, not courage, bravery, or even decency — to hand over the reins of an existing late-night comedy program to a female person?"
Fortunately, Vanity Fair's "better than ever" assertion didn't go unnoticed on Twitter.
It didn't take long for tweets to start filling news feeds pointing to the lunacy of late night's boys club. Some were hilarious, others dropped some serious truth bombs.
Like Mark Harris, who can read minds.
And Sebastian Nebel, who experienced some serious side effects.
Kristy Sammis, who wasn't outraged.
And James Poniewozik, who pointed out this makes the GOP look progressive.
Mogul, who said what we were all thinking.
My own editor, Rebecca Eisenberg, who highlighted a detail many had overlooked.
Jordan Holmes, who pointed to an obvious biological reason.
Anita Flores, who needs a time machine ASAP.
And Samantha Bee, who will helm her own late-night show starting in January on TBS, responded with a flawless correction:
Despite there being plenty of qualified women out there, not one has headlined a late-night program since 1986.
More and more women in comedy are breaking down barriers (why, hello, Mindy Kaling), tearing up at the box office (I'm looking at you, Amy Schumer), producing some of the funniest shows on television (enter Tina Fey and Amy Poehler), and proving that, yes, audiences can appreciate a woman being funny after dark (shoutout to Chelsea Handler). But after Joan Rivers became the first female late-night host on a major TV network in 1986, no other woman has sat in a similar seat.
We should expect more of "the best time in late night comedy" than a photo spread featuring (almost) all white and exclusively male comedians. It is 2015, after all.
Here's to hoping the next late-night spread looks a little bit different from this one.