"You realize that's illegal to say in a business meeting?"
September 13, 2014 1:03 PM   Subscribe

According to Kathy Griffin, when she expressed interest in hosting The Late Late Show, she was told they were "not considering females at this time." This is especially ironic considering that the current Late Late Show host, Craig Ferguson, stated that he thought the next host should "unquestionably be a female." Even worse, there was some talk about David Letterman's Late Show hosting spot going to a woman after he stepped down, but no dice.

The first and last woman to host a late night show was Joan Rivers, in 1986.

Previously, regarding CBS' announcement that James Corden would be taking over for Ferguson. Previously and previouslier, if you want to look at the ongoing CBS late night lineup saga.
posted by Sara C. (112 comments total) 20 users marked this as a favorite
 
One only need meet a few network executives* to realize why there are no women in these roles when they unquestionably belong there. They are craven cavemen who bow down to what they think the desires of their audience are, whether or not that reflects reality.

*I work in TV.
posted by nevercalm at 1:07 PM on September 13, 2014 [28 favorites]


I work in television too, and I have heard "We are not hiring any women." Yes, that would be pretty illegal to say out loud in most US businesses, but it's par for the course in the entertainment industry.
posted by OolooKitty at 1:13 PM on September 13, 2014 [17 favorites]


Should have been "not considering Kathy Griffin at this time."
posted by 2bucksplus at 1:14 PM on September 13, 2014 [18 favorites]


The really sad thing is that this could have been avoided by turning Griffin down for any of a number of very valid not-gender-related reasons.

There is a list of reasons as long as my arm not to hire Kathy Griffin as a mainstream network late night host. And none of them is "because of that pesky vagina of hers."
posted by Sara C. at 1:15 PM on September 13, 2014 [46 favorites]


dang, you stole my comment 2bucksplus!
posted by shockingbluamp at 1:16 PM on September 13, 2014


It never ceases to amaze me how openly backward and shitty people are.


Fuuuuhhhuuuuck this.


t(>o<t)
posted by louche mustachio at 1:18 PM on September 13, 2014 [8 favorites]


Yeah, not a huge fan of Griffin but there are plenty of women who should be under consideration. I would love to see Tina Fey have a late night show if she wanted.
posted by Drinky Die at 1:18 PM on September 13, 2014 [25 favorites]


I think a few of you are being generous to the executives, thinking this is something about Griffin in particular. I completely believe her story, and I completely believe that the executives haven't even considered any women for the role, because that's the way the entertainment industry works. It's by men, for men, and about men.
posted by xingcat at 1:19 PM on September 13, 2014 [19 favorites]


Don't think anybody has said that xingcat.
posted by Drinky Die at 1:23 PM on September 13, 2014 [8 favorites]


"The first and last woman to host a late night show was Joan Rivers..."

Joan was the first, but Chelsea Handler was the last.
posted by vitabellosi at 1:34 PM on September 13, 2014 [5 favorites]


First and last on network television, then. Handler's on cable.
posted by kagredon at 1:36 PM on September 13, 2014 [1 favorite]


Sorry, should have specified network.
posted by Sara C. at 1:37 PM on September 13, 2014


James Corden is undeniably the worst person they could have chosen to replace Craig.
posted by urbanwhaleshark at 1:37 PM on September 13, 2014 [10 favorites]


One especially damaging industry argument, made privately, is that women want to get their pre-bedtime monologue jokes from a man, while female hosts such as Ellen DeGeneres and Queen Latifah are welcome in daytime.

In fact, the audience for Handler's "Chelsea Lately" was about 65 percent female, more than any other late-night show.
yes what woman could resist jay leno's monologue before beddy-bye.
posted by twist my arm at 1:39 PM on September 13, 2014 [17 favorites]


Don't think anybody has said that xingcat.

Let's see...

Should have been "not considering Kathy Griffin at this time."

Sure sounds like it.
posted by xingcat at 1:40 PM on September 13, 2014 [2 favorites]


It's a comment that says she isn't a fit for the job, not that she is lying about why she wasn't even considered for it.
posted by Drinky Die at 1:44 PM on September 13, 2014 [3 favorites]


Playing devil's advocate for a moment ... Couldn't a plausible BFOQ argument be made here?
posted by ZenMasterThis at 1:46 PM on September 13, 2014


The idea is it might actually be sexism, but the way to cover it up would have been to say that it was something about her in particular and not women in general.
posted by Small Dollar at 1:46 PM on September 13, 2014 [8 favorites]


I don't think BFOQ would pass muster under rational basis or strict scrutiny.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 1:47 PM on September 13, 2014 [1 favorite]


Playing devil's advocate for a moment ... Couldn't a plausible BFOQ argument be made here?

I don't see how that could possibly fly.
posted by Drinky Die at 1:47 PM on September 13, 2014 [2 favorites]


It's a comment that says she isn't a fit for the job, not that she is lying about why she wasn't even considered for it.

Not in my reading. My reading is that the assumption is that executives were covering for the fact that they didn't want to hire Griffin specifically and thus would be open to hiring other women for the job. I totally believe that they weren't considering any women for the job.
posted by xingcat at 1:48 PM on September 13, 2014 [2 favorites]


Well, we are definitely in disagreement on that reading. Up to 2bucks to clarify I guess.
posted by Drinky Die at 1:49 PM on September 13, 2014 [1 favorite]


Sigh. Liberal Hollywood pushing their liberal agenda upon the rest of the nation.

oh, wait, no. not so much that.
posted by el io at 1:50 PM on September 13, 2014 [3 favorites]


In this case, no, because the CBS exec allegedly actually said verbatim that CBS is not considering "females" at this time. Not that CBS isn't considering Kathy Griffin at this time, or that CBS isn't considering any particular comedians who happen to be women at this time.

I mean, I could see it being very clumsy phrasing, but, no, this is vehemently NOT a case of "no women happen to be qualified for this particular job". Even though, of course, it's very easy to make that argument. It's a slap in the face that someone at CBS came right out and said "we're not considering females", considering how easy it would be to pretend that they were, but just happened not to pick a woman in this particular case.
posted by Sara C. at 1:50 PM on September 13, 2014 [9 favorites]


Small Dollar: "The idea is it might actually be sexism, but the way to cover it up would have been to say that it was something about her in particular and not women in general."

The way to solve it, of course, is to now hire a woman, even if (especially if!) it's not Kathy Griffin.
posted by chavenet at 1:51 PM on September 13, 2014


Is it really illegal in the entertainment industry?

If a producer wants a female in a particular role in a show, do they still need to interview men?
posted by fairmettle at 1:53 PM on September 13, 2014 [1 favorite]


Jesus Christ it was just a stupid joke about me not liking Kathy Griffin's comedy.
posted by 2bucksplus at 1:53 PM on September 13, 2014 [39 favorites]


xingcat: "Sure sounds like it."

I think the point is that these guys can't even be bothered to pretend that they're not sexist, even when it would be easy to do so.
posted by adamrice at 1:55 PM on September 13, 2014 [17 favorites]


Jesus Christ it was just a stupid joke about me not liking Kathy Griffin's comedy.

And that's fine, but it devalues on its face Griffin's story. In terms of women comedians, Griffin has more name recognition, credits and awards to her name than most, so to say, "Ha! They probably just didn't want her," is to say that she's claiming sour grapes over a choice about her personally as opposed to an ingrained sexism that pervades the entertainment industry.
posted by xingcat at 1:56 PM on September 13, 2014 [20 favorites]


Is it really illegal in the entertainment industry?

Potentially, in the case of something like a late night host.

If we were talking about, say, the casting for a Chris Farley biopic or something, no, of course it's not illegal to say you're not considering women.

But since there's no reason women can't be late night hosts, and women are late night hosts on cable, and a woman has been a network late night host in the past, presumably this is something a woman is capable of doing.

Of course, it's not really illegal to privately decide in an off-the-record plausibly deniable sort of way that you're only going to seriously discuss male candidates for the position. But once you say it point blank to an applicant, yes, you kind of do get into EEOC stuff.

For example, it's pretty clear that E! prefers female hosts for its late night shows, but as long as they don't tell Conan O'Brien "we are not considering males at this time", it's fine.
posted by Sara C. at 1:58 PM on September 13, 2014 [11 favorites]


She got the same response when applying to be a writer on The Colbert Report.
posted by themanwho at 2:16 PM on September 13, 2014 [3 favorites]


Every time a late-night job becomes available, people on social media and websites like this one get to play Fantasy TV Exec! And we toss around overqualified, non-white guy candidates like Aisha Tyler, Maya Rudolph, Wayne Brady, Tina Fey, Margaret Cho, Ellen DeGeneres, and Chris Rock. Occasionally, I even get thrown into the mix. And for a little while it is exciting to think of the possibility of these shows… until we actually hear the announcement.
w. kamau bell on the lack of diversity in late night
posted by nadawi at 2:24 PM on September 13, 2014 [14 favorites]


Every time someone refers to women as 'females' my skin just about crawls off.
posted by shakespeherian at 2:24 PM on September 13, 2014 [87 favorites]


You know that adage that "If a man says it, he is assertive. If a woman says it, she is a bitch"? I wonder if something similar applies here. The kind of jokes they want to pull off wouldn't go over as well if spoken by a woman.

What I don't understand is why in 2014 the networks are still throwing all of their eggs into the basket of one single host. Why not go for a format with a variety of hosts, and thus maximize the variety of jokes you can pull off? Mind you, I don't get late-night TV in general...
posted by mantecol at 2:40 PM on September 13, 2014 [1 favorite]


It's by men, for men, and about men.

I would have thought the entertainment industry is for and about money.
I don't think the executives would give a crap about who the host was if they thought the host would bring in the right demographics.

Now whether their data on who is watching is outdated or not, gathered under a bias, or some otherwise misinterpreted is another question. However it isn't due to misogyny or any other prejudice
posted by 2manyusernames at 2:41 PM on September 13, 2014


of course it's about misogyny - just because old white dudes are so good at having stats that just happen to conform to their worldview doesn't mean it's free of bigotry.
posted by nadawi at 2:44 PM on September 13, 2014 [25 favorites]


Is it really illegal in the entertainment industry?

That's a good question in this context. I'm an attorney, but I don't practice employment law. I would be curious to hear thoughts from someone who does. (Five-dollar speculation from the peanut gallery is okay too, but I'd be curious what an expert thinks.)
posted by cribcage at 2:44 PM on September 13, 2014 [1 favorite]


Kathy Griffin occupies a niche as a celebrity commentator but that isn't what late night TV is typically about. Any time Kathy Griffin is on the TV I watch. She's an odd genius in that her standup routines consist of just a list of things to talk about without any structured punchlines. Her focus is exclusively on celebrity and I'm not sure how that would translate. She's so nimble though I would give it a shot.

Chelsea Handler [nevermind her problematic pet foreigner short guy Chuy] is more of a panel host as opposed to a guest host and intervewer.

Tina Fey is nimble but hasn't dwelled on a specific subject matter which would attract some and drive others away and would be my first choice.
posted by vapidave at 2:46 PM on September 13, 2014 [5 favorites]


They are craven cavemen who bow down to what they think the desires of their audience are, whether or not that reflects reality.

Well, sure. You take a huge risk when you change a formula that works. The bigger the money, the more timid the executives. It's business, in all its sad and sordid reality. The best that can be said is that it leaves open opportunity for those with less to lose.

Like Bravo, who gave Ms Griffin two seasons as a late night talk show host, and cancelled the show, presumably because of its bad ratings. Noble effort, perhaps, but it pretty much scotched her chances at NBC right there.
posted by IndigoJones at 2:48 PM on September 13, 2014 [1 favorite]


"Every time someone refers to women as females..."


Maybe they're Ferengi?
posted by wittgenstein at 2:51 PM on September 13, 2014 [14 favorites]


That's why it seems so bizarre that CBS would tell her they were not considering women at all. Just tell her you ran the numbers, and with her track record on Bravo it's not the right choice for CBS at this time. I mean, jeez. How hard is it to at least pretend not to be a bunch of misogynist dicks?
posted by Sara C. at 2:52 PM on September 13, 2014 [22 favorites]


Before everyone starts trying to pencil Tina Fey into this slot, realize that she wouldn't be interested in it.

Before everyone starts trying to pencil Ellen Degeneres into this slot, realize that she makes $22 Million/year doing her daytime gig and she doesn't have to stay up late.

I know there are great women for this time slot, it just won't be either of these two.
posted by mcstayinskool at 2:55 PM on September 13, 2014 [6 favorites]


I once worked in documentary television. We produced a show with a number of female experts and both women and men in the recreations. Our executive producer was told by the network to cut all the women because "men don't want to see women on TV." This was less than a decade ago and I am unsurprised that things are the same.
posted by rednikki at 2:56 PM on September 13, 2014 [14 favorites]


Is it really illegal in the entertainment industry?

I would think it would violate any standard HR policy.

But more importantly, it violates those large Dept. of Labor signs about how equal employment is the law businesses have to hang in visible places. But then once I started reading it I realized the gender part is specifically about wage discrimination. And then I realized I'd never really read those before, and was struck by the tidbit on the DOL site that its to "employees of most private employers" which really made me wonder who "most" private employers here. So yeah, any relevant lawyers out there?

For those interested, the beginning:

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, protects applicants and
employees from discrimination in hiring, promotion, discharge, pay, fringe benefits,
job training, classification, referral, and other aspects of employment, on the basis
of race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy), or national origin.


And the part specifically regarding gender:

In addition to sex discrimination prohibited by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, as
amended, the Equal Pay Act of 1963, as amended, prohibits sex discrimination in
the payment of wages to women and men performing substantially equal work,
in jobs that require equal skill, effort, and responsibility, under similar working
conditions, in the same establishment.

posted by barchan at 2:57 PM on September 13, 2014 [2 favorites]


more from the w. kamau bell piece - And even if Corden isn’t great right away — and this is what usually separates white guys from the rest of us — he’ll get a chance to work out the kinks and get it right. Basically the exact opposite of what happened to one of the greatest comedians of all time, the late Joan Rivers, at Fox in 1989.

all sorts of white guys take a couple seasons to really get their groove, but they are given that time to figure it out. somehow the economics allow them that space. strange how that works...
posted by nadawi at 2:57 PM on September 13, 2014 [25 favorites]


It's probably within the realm of possibility that, given the extreme vanity and low self-esteem married to easily bruised ego of the stereotypical person in entertainment, the guy at CBS thought it prudent to avoid saying, "Kathy Griffin, we think you suck and are not funny, and would never consider you."

"Bob, we don't like Kathy Griffin. She's crass, and unfunny, and we can't sell her in Des Moines."
"Look, I know this. But we can't tell her that!"
"Okay, fine -- just tell her that we aren't considering females as late night hosts. That'll get us off the hook!"
posted by gsh at 2:58 PM on September 13, 2014 [1 favorite]


They are craven cavemen who bow down to what they think the desires of their audience are...

Which, oddly, correspond exactly to their own preferences. It's no wonder the legacy networks are slowly dying.
posted by Mental Wimp at 2:59 PM on September 13, 2014 [7 favorites]


I know there are great women for this time slot, it just won't be either of these two.

yeah, that's what i found most interesting about w. kamau bell's opening paragraph, that often when we all come up with our fantasy late night roster, we tend to gravitate to women/non-white men that are way overqualified for the spot.
posted by nadawi at 3:00 PM on September 13, 2014 [6 favorites]


"Before everyone starts trying to pencil Ellen Degeneres into this slot, realize that she makes $22 Million/year doing her daytime gig."

Heh, more like, $70 Million but I take your point.

And she's from Metarie which should come with compensation.
posted by vapidave at 3:09 PM on September 13, 2014 [3 favorites]


That's not how you spell Metairie vapidave.
posted by bukvich at 3:17 PM on September 13, 2014 [3 favorites]


Gah.
posted by vapidave at 3:20 PM on September 13, 2014 [3 favorites]


The response of one executive to her query: "They're not considering females at this time," she recounted.

"You realize that's illegal to say in a business meeting?" was Griffin's comeback.

Surely her agent was the person told. Did Elber get an exclusive interview with Griffin? When did she make the snappy comeback?
I wonder which exec made the statement--Nina Tassler? Wendi Trilling? Tassler is pretty enthusiastic about James Corden, who got the job.
posted by Ideefixe at 3:22 PM on September 13, 2014 [2 favorites]


When other industries violate employment law (race, gender, age, religion discrimination) they are generally smart enough to be coy about it and not make it so goddamned obvious.
posted by el io at 3:22 PM on September 13, 2014 [2 favorites]


(Regarding the use of 'female', including the observation that the Ferengi do it...)
posted by Rat Spatula at 3:22 PM on September 13, 2014 [5 favorites]


If I was her, I'd pitch my show idea to Netflix. Imagine it: the first streaming late-night talk show for subscribers. She could get as real or as foul as she wanted and she doesn't have to ever worry about ratings.
posted by Renoroc at 3:55 PM on September 13, 2014 [2 favorites]


she doesn't have to ever worry about ratings.

You don't think Netflix care about streams/total-viewing-time per dollar invested?
posted by jaduncan at 4:33 PM on September 13, 2014 [1 favorite]


Does James Corden come with his own TARDIS?
posted by Dr. Zira at 4:43 PM on September 13, 2014


If I was her, I'd pitch my show idea to Netflix. Imagine it: the first streaming late-night talk show for subscribers.

They've already inked a deal for this with Chelsea Handler.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 5:00 PM on September 13, 2014 [4 favorites]


Before everyone starts trying to pencil Ellen Degeneres into this slot, realize that she makes $22 Million/year doing her daytime gig and she doesn't have to stay up late.

You know all the late-night talk shows aren't live, right?
posted by shakespeherian at 5:09 PM on September 13, 2014 [12 favorites]


It's probably within the realm of possibility that, given the extreme vanity and low self-esteem married to easily bruised ego of the stereotypical person in entertainment, the guy at CBS thought it prudent to avoid saying, "Kathy Griffin, we think you suck and are not funny, and would never consider you."

"Bob, we don't like Kathy Griffin. She's crass, and unfunny, and we can't sell her in Des Moines."
"Look, I know this. But we can't tell her that!"
"Okay, fine -- just tell her that we aren't considering females as late night hosts. That'll get us off the hook!"


Even if this were true and they were trying to avoid enraging the stereotypical prima donna celebrity, feigning bigotry would be the most absolute dumb-ass tactic to use, which is why xingcat's reading of the situation makes no sense.

It would be like disliking Chris Rock in particular and getting rid of him by telling him you're not hiring black people. Open bigotry exposes you to all sorts of problems that could be easily avoided with some polite, neutral brush-off about ratings and them not being the right fit for the job.
posted by Sangermaine at 5:23 PM on September 13, 2014 [12 favorites]


"Ha! They probably just didn't want her,"

But 2bucksplus wasn't saying they probably just didn't want her. 2bucksplus was saying that they should just have not wanted her, rather than any woman.
posted by kenko at 5:34 PM on September 13, 2014 [5 favorites]


I read this post and wondered if perhaps the networks were run by a misogynistic guild from medieval times. And then I realized how much else that would explain, like for example everything else about their programming.
posted by George_Spiggott at 5:53 PM on September 13, 2014 [5 favorites]


It's probably within the realm of possibility that, given the extreme vanity and low self-esteem married to easily bruised ego of the stereotypical person in entertainment, the guy at CBS thought it prudent to avoid saying, "Kathy Griffin, we think you suck and are not funny, and would never consider you."

oh my god, can we not play "come up with some outlandish hypothetical to make this Totally Not Misogynist" in just one thread someday
posted by kagredon at 6:18 PM on September 13, 2014 [45 favorites]


also, lol at the implication that CBS executives would be worried about treading lightly on the feelings of Kathy Griffin
posted by kagredon at 6:20 PM on September 13, 2014 [16 favorites]


I understand Leno's and Letterman's spots passing to safe picks, but the shows that are behind in ratings should feel more free to experiment with different kinds of hosts.

Also, if all late-night shows could be replaced with original serial sci-fi, that'd be great.
posted by michaelh at 6:22 PM on September 13, 2014 [6 favorites]


oh my god, can we not play "come up with some outlandish hypothetical to make this Totally Not Misogynist" in just one thread someday

Exactly.

If I could contort myself like people contort their logic to pretend sexism isn't a thing I'd be the greatest gymnast in the history of our species.
posted by winna at 6:27 PM on September 13, 2014 [14 favorites]


You know, it's funny, I used to sometimes be on the side of "but no really this time it's probably not bigotry..." every now and again, and the uptick in general outrage about sexism, racism, homophobia, transphobia, etc. has really given the lie to that sort of thinking. Like, when we only talk about this stuff on rare occasions, you can kind of believe that no, really, the cops aren't racist, they really thought the dude's wallet was a gun. But when it's the same "but maybe what really happened is..." every time, you start to remember the existence of Occam's Razor.
posted by Sara C. at 6:37 PM on September 13, 2014 [13 favorites]


Yeah, this. I mean, even if it's a cold-blooded decision about marketability or whatever, it exists in a larger context in which sexism is a thing. To pretend otherwise is--let's say myopic at best. At best.
posted by box at 6:41 PM on September 13, 2014 [4 favorites]


"Yeah, this. I mean, even if it's a cold-blooded decision about marketability or whatever, it exists in a larger context in which sexism is a thing."

I agree with this completely.

I still wouldn't watch a Kathy Griffin talk show and would absolutely watch a Tina Fey talk show though.
posted by vapidave at 7:11 PM on September 13, 2014 [2 favorites]


Kindly don't jump on me, but I think to some extent this may stem from show business exceptionalism, in the sense that they're thinking of it as a casting decision rather than a hiring decision. In casting for a role, they still expect to be allowed to discriminate on the basis of characteristics that would at minimum get you sued in practically any other context. This is not to excuse it, because talk show host is a professional and performer job, not an acting job. They're not impersonating a predefined character, they're going on as themselves, which means the excuse doesn't fly so maybe I should just up about it before someone picks up on it and tries to use it as a defense.
posted by George_Spiggott at 7:42 PM on September 13, 2014 [5 favorites]


Oh, yeah, this is a casting decision, and absolutely they have to think about brand, demographics, comedic style, audience, experience level, the workload of a nightly show, etc etc etc.

I don't think anyone is saying that not turning the Craig Ferguson show into the Kathy Griffin show is, in itself, sexist.

What is sexist, on the other hand, is deciding that no women will be considered for the position of late night host, period, end of story, on account of them being women.
posted by Sara C. at 7:54 PM on September 13, 2014 [6 favorites]


Oh, I agree. If the script says "The Little Matchgirl is about ten years old and approximately the dimensions of a match herself", certainly they can be excused for not casting John Goodman. But this is not a role, it's a job. As far as I can see there's no difference between saying "no women will be considered for this talk show host job" and saying "we are accepting no female comedians for our standup segments". It's pure sexism. Talk Show Host is a job that requires you to have charm and appeal and skills but not any specific anatomical features. They're utterly in the wrong. I was just speaking to why they thought they could get away with being wrong.
posted by George_Spiggott at 8:06 PM on September 13, 2014 [1 favorite]


You can never be excused for not casting John Goodman.
posted by vapidave at 8:17 PM on September 13, 2014 [13 favorites]


Sara C.: “James Corden [will] be taking over for Ferguson [on The Late Late Show.”
Who?
nevercalm: “They are craven cavemen who bow down to what they think the desires of their audience are, whether or not that reflects reality.”
Precisely. I might tune in, even if it's only for the first night, for Kathy Griffin. Some dude I never heard of? Not even gonna consider it. Instead it will be the 2,551st weekday I'm watching Adult Swim at 00:30.
posted by ob1quixote at 8:43 PM on September 13, 2014 [4 favorites]


James Corden is undeniably the worst...

FTFY.
posted by opsin at 8:43 PM on September 13, 2014 [1 favorite]


I work in TV, too. I get a little thrill every time I tell someone I'm really looking for a woman to fill [x position].
posted by buzzkillington at 9:17 PM on September 13, 2014 [6 favorites]


Wanda Sykes also had a (weekly) late night talk show for a season.
posted by roger ackroyd at 9:18 PM on September 13, 2014 [4 favorites]


The show I work on has a female grip!

Which is like the opposite of this whole situation.
posted by Sara C. at 9:20 PM on September 13, 2014 [3 favorites]


It's probably within the realm of possibility that, given the extreme vanity and low self-esteem married to easily bruised ego of the stereotypical person in entertainment, the guy at CBS thought it prudent to avoid saying, "Kathy Griffin, we think you suck and are not funny, and would never consider you.

If there is one thing network execs are not afraid to do, it is to spell out exactly why they don't want you.
posted by OolooKitty at 9:45 PM on September 13, 2014 [8 favorites]


What's Janeane Garofalo doing these days?
posted by Spatch at 10:45 PM on September 13, 2014 [4 favorites]


Kathy Griffin is hilarious. Seriously I've seen her live and she's fantastic.
posted by whoaali at 10:50 PM on September 13, 2014 [6 favorites]


If a producer wants a female in a particular role in a show, do they still need to interview men?

Depends. If it's a prescripted role written to be gender-specific, typically no. But talk-show host isn't a prescripted role that requires a specific gender, and refusing to even consider women for this role is more like refusing to consider a woman for the job of anchor, which certainly could be against labor law.
posted by maxsparber at 11:05 PM on September 13, 2014 [4 favorites]


Yep, sexism writ large on the late-night landscape.

However, often when this conversation comes up the replacement suggestions to increase diversity are just poor. I mean, I love Tina Fey, but she has shown no interest, and it's suggested in her Bossypants, no aptitude for being a late-night host. She's producing, writing and acting instead. While Ellen DeGeneres, though a good candidate skillswise, seems perfectly happy being amazing during the daytime, rather than having to deal with the network night-time format, which I can't see giving her the freedom she must currently enjoy.

Aisha Tyler, Wayne Brady, Wanda Sykes, who all have experience hosting these sorts of things? Bring it. That'd be awesome. If RuPaul wanted to get back in the game, go for it. I'd enjoy what Kathy Griffin would bring to the table, although she'd undoubtedly fall afoul of the restrictive boundaries placed on such a role. And there's a number of other performers I can't think of or don't know who would be interested and qualified. I just wish these fantasy castings involved more people who could and would, rather than just naming random funny women the commenter can think of.

Though I know about as much about James Corden as I did about Craig Ferguson before he took on the role, in that they're both UK actors from comedies I don't watch - so he might turn out to be equally as good. It's definitely a shame that a non-straight white guy wasn't given the chance to find out. I also find it interesting that of the bigger night-time talk show hosts I can think of in the UK, there's Parky (whose format doesn't have the 'variety' component the other talk shows have), but then there's two gay men in Graham Norton and Allan Carr.
posted by gadge emeritus at 11:59 PM on September 13, 2014 [1 favorite]


I would have thought the entertainment industry is for and about money.

Almost right. It's for and about money for the right people. If you look at almost any industry in the context of diversity you see a lot of backwards decisions made that don't make sense if you're just worried about making the largest possible amount of money for the business as a whole, but do if you want to keep your own clique in power and don't want competition.
posted by MartinWisse at 2:48 AM on September 14, 2014 [4 favorites]


Lower your expectations, gadge. Scratch James Corden and you'll find that he is a clumsy loudmouthed occasionally bullyish douche who's cravenly eager to impress people. Even via TV you can faintly hear the wind howling through the hollow lack of self-esteem in his core.

On either side of the Atlantic there's such a long list of good candidates of all genders, colours and sexual orientation that it's hard to even imagine what insane metric brought him out on top. He is a one-man refutation of just world theory, a billowing nothing person, so different from Craig Ferguson in character that he might as well have crawled in from some tangential multiverse suffused with immaturity and desperation. Not the sort of aura you want to send you to sleep.

Of course there is precisely one way in which he is similar to Craig Ferguson. Like Bell, when the audiences drop I fully expect that he'll be given more than a fair shake due to his presenting the correct external markers and having the red herring of his accent to cover sins, but I will watch and I will wait with a tall bottle of schadenfreude at my side, ready for the day it can be uncorked and savoured.
posted by forgetful snow at 2:59 AM on September 14, 2014 [3 favorites]


an ingrained sexism that pervades the entertainment industry.

Ingrained sexism pervades EVERY industry. It's just more visible in the entertainment business.
posted by psmealey at 3:11 AM on September 14, 2014 [4 favorites]


I also find it interesting that of the bigger night-time talk show hosts I can think of in the UK, there's Parky (whose format doesn't have the 'variety' component the other talk shows have), but then there's two gay men in Graham Norton and Allan Carr.

Graham Norton and Alan Carr are inhabiting a this sort of narrow space of acceptable camp, though. (Jonathan Ross, too, though he's straight and Paul O'Grady, though he's on in the day.) I don't think it's that Britain has gay chat show hosts without caveats.
posted by hoyland at 4:06 AM on September 14, 2014


Sara C.: “James Corden [will] be taking over for Ferguson [on The Late Late Show.”

Who?


Hey, I'm no James Corden fan either, but how many Americans knew who Craig Ferguson was before he got that gig?

Bing Hitler was a lot less famous than James Corden.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 4:18 AM on September 14, 2014


He played the store manager on the middle seasons of 'The Drew Carey Show.'

I see your point.
posted by box at 4:29 AM on September 14, 2014


Even if Tina Fey is interested in hosting a late night show, it will be quite unlikely she'll go against Lorne Michaels on a competing network.
posted by applesurf at 5:04 AM on September 14, 2014 [1 favorite]


Think of all the badass ladies there are. Put a funny, badass lady in the slot, man!
posted by uraniumwilly at 6:12 AM on September 14, 2014


> I love Tina Fey, but she has shown no interest

Unless you're personal friends with her, I don't see how you can say this. Not just you but all the people saying Tina Fey, or Ellen DeGeneres, or whoever, isn't interested in hosting a late-night TV show. The comedians would be reckless to declare publicly that they want the show, given the slim chances of them getting it.
posted by The corpse in the library at 8:37 AM on September 14, 2014 [1 favorite]


Shows like SNL treat women badly and it's difficult for women to get the experience and exposure that will lead them to the next bigger, step. That any executive would say something so blatantly, and illegally, sexist and discriminatory, makes it clear that discriminating against women is not considered a problem. I'm not a fan of Fallon's show, and when Dave retires, I'll probably give up on late night.

Carson used to have authors and other interesting people on. Cavett even more. could we have 1 late show that's not incredibly shallow?
posted by theora55 at 8:42 AM on September 14, 2014


The main problem with the late night fantasy casting game when it comes to female comedians is that even the best intentions still produce some pretty sexist results.

For example I was in the middle of typing out a whole thing about why Tina Fey wouldn't be a great choice as a late night host, and I realized, wait a sec, we gave a network late-night slot to THE GUY WHO PLAYED DREW CAREY'S BOSS. And nobody was like "wtf no cancel immediately what were we even thinking gaahhhhhhhh"

Meanwhile here I am typing out things like "Tina Fey has kids, which would make a nightly show grueling." Meanwhile Carson was so unreliable that they had a permanent backup guest host! Who was a woman! And she wasn't even shortlisted to take over Carson's spot! And then when she left for another network, her show was canceled when it wasn't an immediate smash hit! But oh, yeah, sure this dude who is like the 90s equivalent of Ike Barinholtz? Sure, let him in! He'll be great!
posted by Sara C. at 8:46 AM on September 14, 2014 [10 favorites]


Also, doesn't James Corden have a three year old kid?
posted by kyrademon at 9:02 AM on September 14, 2014 [1 favorite]


(As does Craig Ferguson, for that matter.)
posted by kyrademon at 9:03 AM on September 14, 2014


It's the Doctor Who casting problem: you need someone who's kinda-a-bit-famous, but not so famous that they're off pursuing films and their own passion projects instead.

(That said, I would've said Stephen Colbert was in the Too Famous bin, as I'm sure he was not hurting for choices for what to do post-TCR. But then, he's taking over the earlier time slot with a certain history and prestige attached to it--it'd be a lot harder to see him going on at midnight or whatever.)

I've never really done the late-night TV thing--even for Craigyferg, who's great, it's just too much of a time suck each night--but I would be there each and every night for The Late Late Show With Geena Davis
posted by kagredon at 9:51 AM on September 14, 2014


Unless you're personal friends with her, I don't see how you can say this.

Uh, considering she's intimated in the past that she doesn't want to host a talk show, I think I can say exactly that 'she has shown no interest' without being a personal friend. Unless none of this speculation is permitted because the commenters here don't have the intimate thoughts and dreams of the people involved, perhaps don't act like I'm leaping to conclusions when the entire thread is about the public side of these things.

Also, you might be thinking of Liz Lemon, who did want a talk show but is fictional.
posted by gadge emeritus at 10:03 AM on September 14, 2014 [2 favorites]


kagredon FTW!
I would totally watch a late night show with Geena Davis, and I don't currently watch ANY late night shows.
posted by evilDoug at 10:08 AM on September 14, 2014


I've only seen James Corden in Doctor Who and a lot of long unwatchable Comic Relief / Red Nose Day segments and he seems like one of those UK phenomena that doesn't translate. There's a ton of stuff on UK TV that never gets brought over on PBS or even BBC America -- far more than does -- and it isn't because they wouldn't like to. Given the giant sucking vacuum of the U.S.' billions of media outlets, the only reason the entire output of the UK media isn't syndicated over here is because most it doesn't work.
posted by George_Spiggott at 10:15 AM on September 14, 2014


Also, doesn't James Corden have a three year old kid?

Letterman has a little kid too.
posted by shakespeherian at 10:28 AM on September 14, 2014


Here's an interesting article for those interested in the legal side of casting decisions generally.
posted by heisenberg at 10:45 AM on September 14, 2014


he seems like one of those UK phenomena that doesn't translate

See, this is what I worried about. USersons, please, believe me, a lot of these transplants seek their fortunes abroad precisely because they're found to be pretty shit in their own land. You think anyone over here likes Piers Morgan? He's in a very limited group of people who everyone agrees should take a long walk off a short singular version of their own first name. Lacking a death penalty we just have to let them wander off the USA, like the way Eskimoes would set their elders on ice floes, and as a penance I guess we risk the implication that these people are somehow endorsed exports.

Check out the UK comments on this reddit thread about the appointment, it's not just me being hyperbolic.

Corden is not a phenomenon except in the sense of like a dreaded natural incident which erupts every thousand years and destroys hundreds of people in neighbouring villages (okay that was hyperbole but only a little) - just chalk him up with the other millennial inexplicables like Snooki and Jeff Dunham. Apologies in advance.
posted by forgetful snow at 11:16 AM on September 14, 2014


You can never be excused for not casting John Goodman.
I would absolutely watch John Goodman in the title role of The Little Match Girl.

Carson used to have authors and other interesting people on. Cavett even more. could we have 1 late show that's not incredibly shallow?

The guests on Jon Stewart's show are very often authors and interesting people. If an author, Stewart has actually read their book. If a political person, he has relevant, often pointed questions to ask. The interviews are surprisingly deep, and frequently extend past the end of the show.
I wish they would broadcast the extended interviews, but they are available here.
posted by LEGO Damashii at 11:16 AM on September 14, 2014 [4 favorites]


Corden is not a phenomenon except in the sense of like a dreaded natural incident

The paint on your shed developing cracks is a phenomenon; I didn't particularly intend the word to have a connotation of magnitude. But on the other hand, you don't find pretexts to create an uninteresting character on a global phenomenon (in the other sense) like Doctor Who, or give him hours of screen time on Red Nose Day sitting around talking shite on a living room set if he's not doing well for some reason. Presumably either there are actually people who like to watch him or network executives are taking hallucinogens.

But yes, I foresee no appeal for him at all. One segment had him earnestly advising a roomful of well-groomed multimillionaire footballers on how they should play and conduct their lives. I could distantly comprehend what the humor in this was but I can't imagine anyone in the US but a handful of expats actually feeling that one.
posted by George_Spiggott at 11:31 AM on September 14, 2014


Who the hell watches late night network talk shows anymore? People over 70, right?

Not to discount sexism here, but the whole context is so retro.
posted by spitbull at 11:36 AM on September 14, 2014


Also there's almost an equal amount dumping on Craig Ferguson in that Reddit thread, as if the two were in any way comparable, so I'm not sure it's an effective measure. The UK posters don't understand why anyone would like Ferguson either so there's not much for someone trying to assess the difference this substitution would make to draw on from it. Personally if I watched any talk show I'd be watching his; when I've seen it it's been extraordinary.
posted by George_Spiggott at 11:42 AM on September 14, 2014


She got the same response when applying to be a writer on The Colbert Report.
posted by themanwho


Citation needed? First page of Googling Kathy Griffin and Stephen Colbert turns up nothing. (Or I could be missing a joke, I suppose.)
posted by aureliobuendia at 2:36 PM on September 14, 2014 [2 favorites]


Also there's almost an equal amount dumping on Craig Ferguson in that Reddit thread, as if the two were in any way comparable,

Yeah, Corden is in a different class, such a shitty unfunny wanker he made Rob "did I mention I'm Welsh yet" Brydon look good. And that takes some doing.
posted by MartinWisse at 8:04 AM on September 15, 2014 [1 favorite]


Anyone suggesting that Kathy Griffin isn't qualified remember that she is literally the only one out of any of those dudes that has a Grammy. And prior to his late-night gig, Jimmy Fallon's main "talent" was his inability to keep a straight face while poorly performing sketches or sitting at the newsdesk on SNL.
posted by SassHat at 2:27 PM on September 16, 2014 [3 favorites]


Also clearly the best (only) choices are Amys Sedaris and Poehler.
posted by SassHat at 2:36 PM on September 16, 2014 [3 favorites]




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