Late Night TV SUCKS

At this point, the world seems almost unanimous in agreement that late-night television kind of stinks. It felt like Conan O'Brien was the last remaining likable, late-night host, and with him leaving television and transitioning to podcasting, we're left with a relatively ragtag bunch that is severely lacking the relevance or insight that the likes of David Letterman or even Jay Leno (as divisive as he was) may have provided. What happened?

I won't talk about every host and go into detail about why I don't like their show. In general, many of them suffer from the same problems, so my criticism would be pretty redundant. But there are a few that I want to focus on. 

Jimmy Kimmel used to be the edgier of the late-night hosts. I remember finding his pranks and monologues pretty funny in the past. He tended to be pretty harsh, especially when the whole Jay Leno/Conan O'Brien saga was going down. He turned political fast. What's so bizarre to me is that it's destroying his show. Why do these late-night hosts believe that going the political route is good? The ratings reflect that it's not. Kimmel is not the worst night host, but he's the one whose sharp turn into politics is the most surprising.

There was a time when I legitimately really liked the Jimmy Fallon show. Talk about a guy who fell off fast. It was clear that he put legitimate effort into a show, and even people who don't like him admit that the guy is a legitimate talent, but as time has changed, I feel like Fallon didn't. We were in the middle of a pandemic, and he was taking fucking Post Malone to Olive Garden. Also, reports have come out that he's kind of a phony and an asshole. I wouldn't really care about that if the product was good, but it feels like he's been going through the motions for a long time.

Stephen Colbert, to me, is arguably the worst offender of late night's downfall. Stephen Colbert, when he was on Comedy Central, was a master. Having his show airing back to back with Jon Stewart's "The Daily Show" was a golden age for political satire. I expected that he would bring that sharp edge to late-night television, but he didn't. In fact, he's completely clipped his own balls. He comes across like he's fucking Ned Flanders now. In the early days of his show, it seemed like there was some legitimate political discourse, but now he's devolved into the same PC hack that most late-night hosts are.


One of my heroes is Jon Stewart. I miss "The Daily Show" dearly. It was one of the things that got me into politics, and many of his great segments still hold up in a relevant today. After 9/11, he gave, arguably, the definitive post-9/11 monologue. It was beautiful, heartfelt, and emotional. It was a shattered man speaking to a grieving nation, and it worked perfectly.

For some reason, after that moment, people ran with the idea that late-night hosts need to be voices for political talking points. I have no problem with comedians getting serious once in a while, but now it feels like we have a somber, politically charged cold open every single week when a good alternative would be to, you know, tell jokes. Sometimes, people just need other people to be funny. Nobody knew what Johnny Carson's political affiliations were. There was a reason for that. 

Ultimately, late-night television isn't as good as it used to be because it can't be. We live in a different age, and late-night TV hasn't adjusted. No current late-night host has any real relevancy; the real voices of comedy right now lie in podcasting. You should listen to a popular podcast if you're looking for honest discussions about comedy, pop, culture, or politics.

Will we ever return to a golden age of late-night television? No, probably not. Comedy is so sanitized. At this point, we are essentially devolving into "Idiocracy." By 2028, Stephen Colbert will be interviewing the president in a hazmat suit to prevent the spread of the common cold. It's too bad. Late-night TV should be a place for comedians to be free. Now, it's a place where risks either aren't allowed or aren't taken. In the words of Patrice O'Neal, "Comedy's hard, isn't it, motherfucker?"