Stephen Colbert wrote an essay for Glamour magazine to promote his September 8th takeover of the CBS Late Show. Viewers will miss the magnificent David Letterman, regardless of his viewpoints on hot-button issues. Yet his replacement, Colbert himself, arrives at a time when the internet is acutely aware that white males dominate the late-night landscape. Colbert, an active social media particpant, considers himself “a bit of a feminist.”
The entire Glamour column is written in a tongue-in-cheek manner, but Colbert seems serious about his woman-respecting intentions. We know Colbert has done many things since leaving The Colbert Report, but he’s ready to take the CBS helm. He stresses, “It’s not my place to mansplain to you about the manstitutionalized manvantages built into Americman manciety.” Colbert’s speaking on several meta levels with this simple sentence, but he gets it. Dude won’t turn down a lucrative opportunity because — are you crazy? — but he recognizes the disparity that exists. He wants the world to be a better place for comediennes:
While there are many talented female comedians out there, right now the world of late-night is a bit of a sausagefest. Perhaps one day it will be just the opposite — which I believe is called a Georgia O’Keeffe retrospective.
To be honest, sometimes I wonder whether the world would be a better place if women were in charge. It would be pretty easy to make that happen. Simply tell the men of the world that you’re trying to start a campfire. While we’re all arguing with one another about proper kindling placement and whether using lighter fluid is cheating, women can just quietly start getting stuff done.
Colbert also acknowledges the prevalence of sitcoms starring “smoking-hot wives” and a “doughy husband.” The first example that comes to mind is The King Of Queens, starring Kevin James and Leah Remini, but there are so many more TV shows that fit the bill. This argument isn’t new, but Colbert’s entire essay is on point, even if he’s digging his well-polished heels into a bit of hyperbole. He wants his show to appeal to women, although he realizes that a female audience isn’t essential for late-night success. Colbert knows this fine point, and he doesn’t care.
Colbert goes on to argue how television is wrong in its instruction that “being a woman means sensually eating yogurt, looking for ways to feel confident on heavy days, and hunting for houses.” He’s thrilled to overlook these stereotypes. He’s also having a bit of fun by complaining about his own “muffin top” because he knows women recognize this stereotype as total crap.
David Letterman will always be missed, but long live Stephen Colbert.