As much as I love Stephen Colbert, and I do, the news that he’s taking over The Late Show from David Letterman in 2015 is the sort of non-surprise that still manages to unsettle me.
Late night looks exactly how it did 20 years ago. Five white dudes and an Arsenio.
— Fed-Up Hipster (@thewayoftheid) April 10, 2014
When we learned last week that David Letterman would retire, many names were bandied about as possible replacements, and many people wondered if this was a chance for a woman or any person of color to break into the late night big time. Tina Fey, Aresenio Hall (it would be a promotion from his current slot), Amy Poehler, Wanda Sykes, and many more new faces offered us a little hope for a new face in network late night.
Instead, Stephen Colbert, of #CancelCobert fame, has been tapped. Yes, he’s funny and yes he’s got progressive values that should shake up the ass-kissy atmosphere of the time slot usually dedicated to top ten lists and making fun of Lindsay Lohan. But does he really do anything to add diversity that would reflect America today?
In fact, if Colbert carries forward his satirical Republican character of “Stephen Colbert” into this role, his brand of edgy progressive comedy may, in some ways, contribute to a normalization of racist humor, as we learned with Suey Park‘s now-notorious hashtag. It’s controversial, but #CancelColbert at least got us talking about who should and should not be using race-based satire to raise awareness about racism. And as much as some people may want to say that Park failed in her mission with #CancelColbert, the dialogue has been launched. And dialogue is what is needed.
Faulting Suey for not ending Colbert’s career is vibrantly missing all of the issues she was raising with #CancelColbert.
— Brian Stuart (@red3blog) April 10, 2014
And so we’re back to late night status-quo and networks afraid to mess with white Baby Boomers’ fears of change.
Who do you think should have been chosen for the coveted Late Night spot? Is Colbert a good choice?