[Diary of a Memoirist] The Persistence of Boy Power
Written by
Nancy K. Miller
February 2014
Written by
Nancy K. Miller
February 2014

“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).

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 this clip from YouTube:

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 I haven’t seen for myself what makes these guys so popular (except for Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert) and probably won't--unless, of course, I 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?

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  • Nancy K. Miller


    And Chelsea Handler has a piece about her parenthetical treatment on the Huffington post that I will try to tweet.

    Check out the back of the Book Review--this week: MORE on bad boys--in literature.

    What is going on????

  • Joanne C. Hillhouse

    The lack of colour is also noticeable.