Diary Entry

The Persistence of Boy Power

“Bullish on Boyish for Late-Night TV” reads the headline of the lead article in this week’s Sunday Times “Arts and Leisure section” (the print edition).

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Seven talking-head faces are featured: 6 male, 1 female. If you keep reading, you learn that the woman (whose name appears in a parenthesis) is Chelsea Handler who performs on E! Beyond the parenthesis there is no mention of WHY Chelsea Handler is the only woman to appear on late-night tv.

Full disclosure: though I recognized the names of the men, since they are much in the news, I had never heard of Chelsea Handler until my young friend Tahneer Oksman sent me a clip from YouTube (no longer available).

I was happy for the introduction.

The Times offers no analysis of why the millennials, the kids of baby boomers, the much sought after target audience for late-night shows, should prefer or require the virtually all-male line-up. The question of gender never comes up. It’s the demographic, stupid.

Now I don’t watch late-night television, and haven’t seen for myself what makes these guys so popular (except for Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert), unless, of course, I were to DVR them to view earlier in the evening, as Fallon recommends his parents do (and as we geezers do for The Daily Show and The Colbert Report). I realize this puts me out of the cultural mainstream, but somehow I’m not moved to find out what I’m missing. Maybe it’s because the (boyish) man I lived with in the 70s insisted on going to bed with Johnny Carson (that’s mainly what I remember about our breakup, though he did introduce me to SNL); or maybe the late-night-tv-brand is just not my taste. De gustibus.

Why so few women? Maybe Tina Fey or Amy Poehler or Sarah Silverman (I know there are others but these are the names that come to mind as possible obvious choices) don’t wish to stay up late, don’t like the format, or just plain weren’t asked. Nor, presumably, were the millennial girls

In TV land, as in the literary world, as in the art world, as in…name the profession, the men in charge prefer the boys—and the boyish boys.

Why can’t they grow up?

Nancy K. Miller. Diary

Welcome. Some musings on my current preoccupations with the worlds of illness and the worlds of books, the vicissitudes of living with cancer and the need now, in my eighties, to imagine what new writing might be. 

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