“The Late-Night TV Circus”

In the past year, we’ve seen a changing of the guard (or planned change) on The Tonight Show, NBC’s Late Night, The Late Show with David Letterman, The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson, The Colbert Report, and The Daily Show. That’s six major nighttime TV shows, exactly zero of which have chosen a woman as replacement host. (Yes, I am aware of Samantha Bee getting a show on TBS. I’m talking about the heirs to longstanding franchises here.)

Most people seem to just nod their heads and accept this without realizing how utterly weird it is. Women comprise over half the population. There are lots of female comedians. Yet the entertainment industry clearly believes that America is not ready for a woman in such a role. Don’t get me started on the “not enough ladies in the pipeline” excuse — I’m reasonably certain that if a woman had Jimmy Fallon’s standup abilities, she’d still be doing open mics at the Crab Shack instead of pulling down $12 million a year like Fallon.

As a female-type person who deals in political humor, I can’t help but take this stuff personally. To me, it feels like these are impossible biases that we’ll never overcome. It makes me wonder whether this country is capable of electing a female president. My guess, I’m sorry to say, is that we’re not.

On a lighter note, this would be my first Family Circus parody, which was fun to draw. I don’t think “Jeffy,” who now draws the strip, will mind — he bought me beers once.





  • bobdc

    I agree with you 95%. “Chelsea Lately” may not have been a longstanding franchise, but Chelsea Handler hosted a late night comedy talk show for seven seasons on a successful basic cable channel. It probably was a bit raw for the little Family Circus girl, but she can take heart that the glass ceiling she describes is not quite as undamaged as she thinks.

    The interview segments on Amy Schumer’s show showed that she would be a great talk show host, but instead of Crab Shack open mics she has opted to star in Judd Apatow’s next movie.

  • Shannon

    They gave one to Joan Rivers. It flopped.

  • billycruz81

    Don’t use the “not enough ladies in the pipeline” excuse? But there really isn’t. Also, Jimmy Fallon has like no stand up ability. He’s just a nice guy that everybody likes.

Jen Sorensen is a nationally-published political cartoonist. She is a 2017 Pulitzer Finalist and recipient of the 2014 Herblock Prize and a 2013 Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award.