CBS has faced quite a bit of criticism for their lack of diversity in late-night talk show hosts. First, James Corden replaced Craig Ferguson on “The Late Late Show” and then Stephen Colbert was announced as David Letterman’s “Late Show” successor. While many have been vocal about the plethora of white males on television, now "Girls" actress Lena Dunham is discussing the issue, along with "Inside Amy Schumer" star Amy Schumer and several other female comedians.
In a roundtable with Dunham, Schumer and actresses Ellie Kemper, Kate McKinnon, Gina Rodriguez and Tracee Ellis Ross, the Hollywood Reporter asked the women about the lack of females in late night television. Dunham, 29, noted that while Colbert is very talented, someone a little different could have been great for the "Late Show."
“The idea of risk-taking is terrifying. I love Stephen Colbert, he's a genius, but CBS [couldn't] take the David Letterman slot and hire somebody who represented even an ounce of diversity?” Dunham asked. “Also, when they got James Corden — another guy I love — there was this joke, ‘We've run out of white men here, we have to import them from England.’ There is no shortage of established women who've been on the comedy circuit for years. It bums me out that someone like Kathy Griffin was relegated to ‘Fashion Police.’”
Kemper noted that networks often stick to the same routine because they know it’s successful. “But it's back to that thing — until you show a new formula can work, people are too scared to take a chance,” she said.
While Dunham is a funny female, she isn’t vying for the position. However, she does have people she’d like to see on late night talk shows. “When Letterman announced his retirement, I tweeted that [Parks and Recreation actress] Retta should replace him, and 10,000 people were like, ‘I would kill to see that,’” Dunham said.
Schumer said that it wasn’t just the networks, though. The “Trainwreck” actress claims that she felt many people just don’t want to listen to women. “I think people hate women,” Schumer said. “I don't think they want to hear a woman talk for too long. A lot of people project their mom yelling at them. My [career] has been about tricking people into listening. I'm not saying all men hate women, but there's such an aggression.”
Women aren’t the only ones who want to see some diversity in late night. Even Letterman noted that he would have liked to see someone unlike himself take over the “Late Show.” Last month, Letterman said that he thought Colbert or Jon Stewart would be good choices. “And then I thought, well, maybe this will be a good opportunity to put a black person on, and it would be a good opportunity to put a woman on,” he told the New York Times. “Because there are certainly a lot of very funny women that have television shows everywhere. So that would have made sense to me as well.”
Other veteran late night hosts agree. Jay Leno said something similar earlier this month. “I think we need more minorities, more women,” Leno told Sirius XM Entertainment. “I like people bringing their perspective to something I don’t know about …. All of these white guys are very good, but they all tend to think linearly. When you bring someone in who thinks a little bit differently or who comes at it from a different angle, that’s good.”