Former Netflix Talk Show Host Says There Are “Too Many White Men” In Late Night

By Doug Norrie | Published

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Are there too many of one kind of person with late-night show hosting duties right now? Chelsea Handler certainly thinks so and had no issue bringing it up recently when she was filling in for one of those said people. The comedian has always been outspoken and this time while filling in for Jimmy Kimmel as well as talking to Variety, she expressed “concern” over how the late-night slate of television programming was being filled across nearly every network. Whether it was a play for a new gig, or a legit issue she’s struggling with isn’t totally clear, but it’s hard to argue with the premise especially considering the number of men who are currently filling some of the biggest late-night gigs.

Chelsea Handler was covering as a guest host for Jimmy Kimmel on Jimmy Kimmel Live! last week with that show hitting some of its summer programming season. During her stint, she was tasked with covering a number of hot-button topics that came up over the course of last week and had no problem voicing some strong opinions. But then, while talking with Variety, Handler talked about how “white men” essentially had a monopoly on the late-night talk show hosting duties and how that whole genre could stand for a little shakeup in terms of look. Was she throwing her own hat in the ring in this regard? Maybe a bit. Check out what Chelsea Handler had to say about the situation and her own potential return to late-night hosting:

“I feel like this is a time… to be representing women and to remind people why it’s so important to be loud and to be strong and to be indefatigable about it and to get up and say something. It gives a lot of people comfort when they have somebody speaking for them — you know, not just a white guy, who I’m sure is on our side, but it’s just different…white men’s opinions are pretty irrelevant…There are too many white men doing the same job…”

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Wrapped in this discussion, Chelsea Handler was also pretty quick to say that she hadn’t had any formal talks with any networks about returning to the late-night scene or whether that would be in the actual cards. She has the experience, of course, in this realm having hosted Chelsea Lately! for seven seasons on EI from 2007-2014. From a ratings perspective, the show started off strong but steadily declined over its run before ultimately being canceled by the network. It followed different elements of various late-night beats with Handler performing a monologue, hosting a roundtable on a variety of subjects, and then interviewing a guest.

In terms of her most recent claims regarding the homogeneous nature of the late-night talk show scene, it’s hard to argue with Chelsea Handler’s premise. The current lineup across the networks includes the aforementioned Jimmy Kimmel, Jimmy Fallon, Seth Myers, James Corden (though he’s stepping away), John Oliver, and Trevor Noah. Noah is African American, though Chelsea Handler was likely referring to the hosts on major broadcast networks and Noah’s The Daily Show airs on Comedy Central.

What comes of these latest comments remains to be seen. Again, this could be a deft play to insert herself into the conversation for replacing Corden or just getting a gig of her own. Or it could be her voicing a legit concern over the nature of the late-night hosting ecosystem. It’s sometimes hard to tell with these things. In the short term, are things likely to change on this front? No, probably not.