Hosts On Late-Night TV Lack Diversity


Courtesy of Katie Sprick, Trevor Noah and The Daily Show

Celeste Umaña, Reporter

Reading Time: 2 minutes

After seven years as the host of The Daily Show, Trevor Noah announced last month that this season will be his last. 

With Noah leaving his post, speculations about who will take his place have been flying rampant. 

And with ongoing conversations surrounding possible new hosts, there’s something that becomes very apparent—there is a serious lack of diversity in late-night talk show hosts, and it’s a problem. 

If you look through a channel guide after 11:00 p.m, you see familiar names like Jimmy Kimmel, Jimmy Fallon, and James Corden. But if you look at all those hosts, they have the same things in common: they’re straight, white, middle-aged men. 

As it stands, Trevor Noah is currently the only person of color that hosts a late-night talk show, which means that before seven years ago, if you turned on any late-night talk show, the only people on air at night were white. 

Jimmy Fallon and Jimmy Kimmel are very respected and loved, but because of their sexualities, races, and gender, they’ve lived privileged lives, meaning that they’ve been given certain advantages in America. 

Their experiences and understandings are limited to the lives they have lived. When it comes to issues like Black Lives Matter, women’s rights, and other issues, there is only so much understanding and empathy they can emit, and the impact their words and sentiments have on people of color and marginalized communities doesn’t resonate as deeply. 

And another thing is that, as American citizens, Jimmy Fallon and Jimmy Kimmel have very Western views on domestic and international affairs. 

Something that made Trevor Noah so successful and loved is the fact that he brought an outside point of view as someone who came to America later in life. 

Growing up in South Africa during apartheid, he lived as a walking crime, as a mixed child, and was a witness to dictatorial governments. Witnessing what was happening in America during his time on air, he was able to see events through a different lens and his commentary reflected that. 

The satirical and sardonic tone with which he reacted to different events is different to most, if not all, late-night talk shows.

But why are there no women, LGBTQ+ members, or other people of color hosting late night talk shows? At one point, comedian Samantha Bee hosted a late night show, Full Frontal with Samantha Bee. However, it never garnered the same attention, and was eventually canceled after only about five years on air—even then she was also a straight, older woman.

Maybe it’s that Jimmy Kimmel and Jimmy Fallon have become notorious to the point that by extension so are their programs, but it can’t stay like that. Because at one point they will have to retire and leave, and who is going to replace them? More white men? 

The people we have don’t accurately represent the diversity of America and most likely is part of the reason why people don’t really watch late-night shows anymore. They have become so non inclusive. With having these men as the faces of the shows, the material and topics become tailored to white audiences. 

Times have changed, and if late-night continues with their lack of diversity, their ratings and reviews will reflect that and late night talk shows will become obsolete.