Here He Is!

[Content Note: Oppressive humor.]

As you may recall, in May it was announced that NBC's current late night host, Jimmy Fallon, would be wrestling The Tonight Show away from Jay Leno's evil clutches come February, and current Saturday Night Live head writer and Weekend Update anchor Seth Meyers would be taking over for Fallon.

At the time, NBC entertainment chairman Bob Greenblatt assured us that they definitely for sure totally had to hire Meyers, another straight white dude, for their late night line-up because "We think Seth is one of the brightest, most insightful comedy writers and performers of his generation." Sure.

I'll agree when I see a single episode of SNL that doesn't rely on fat jokes, rape jokes, transphobic humor, and the usual assortment of ancient bigotries being paraded as "cutting edge" jokes.

The bar is set pretty low for "bright" and "insightful" these days.

Anyway. Here's the first art for Meyers' show, which will debut on February 24, via Entertainment Weekly.

image of Seth Meyers, a thin young white man in a suit with his arms folded, smiling at the camera

"What do you think of our new handsome white dude? Pretty terrific, right?!"—NBC.

The thing about Meyers is that, given his specific cohort of thin, young, handsome, white, straight, male comedians, he generally relies less on bigoted humor than average, and generally appears to actually consider women human beings. But that doesn't make him bright and insightful by a long shot. It just makes him slightly closer to (but still short of!) what, in a kinder and fairer world, would be the bare minimum of decency for a multimillion dollar job hosting a variety show on a national network intended for a broad audience.

And this is a systemic problem: Saturday Night Live has become a launching pad for a late night career for white male stars. Conan O'Brien and Jimmy Fallon came to NBC's late night slot by way of SNL, too.

But SNL isn't fair in its hiring practices. The just hired six new cast members, all of whom are white (and only one of whom is a woman). The show hasn't had "a cast member to portray Michelle Obama for her husband's entire presidency"—a cavernous failing that is defended by current cast members saying shit like there aren't enough funny black women who are well-prepared for auditions.

Which is garbage. It's garbage even on its face, but when SNL now serves as the conduit to one of the most visible and lucrative jobs in television, to keep hiring more white dudes is bigger than just SNL. This isn't just a Seth Meyers problem. It's a who-comes-after-him problem, too.

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