The year is 2017, and yet every broadcast network late-night comedy host — Fallon, Colbert, Kimmel, Corden, Meyers — is a white man. This is simply unacceptable and must stop immediately following my eventual three-decade run as host of The Tonight Show on NBC.
The demographics of America are changing. More than 37 percent of the United States population is non-white and/or Hispanic. Women have taken on more prominent roles in the workforce and are more likely than men to earn college degrees. And yet, if you’re watching network TV after 11:30 pm, it still looks like the 1950s. Not only that, but I’m 33 years old and still do not host The Tonight Show. Keep in mind that, growing up, my mother repeatedly told me I was the next Johnny Carson. Are you calling my mother a liar?
The lack of diversity extends into the late-night writers’ rooms. Article after article has been published about how these shows’ staffs are overwhelmingly white and male. And, somehow, despite these odds, I still don’t write for any of them. As disheartening as the overall numbers may be for women and minorities, I’m sure we can all agree this is no picnic for me, either.
A staff-writer job is an important step in my journey toward hosting. Eventually, everyone would notice my ease in the writers’ room, my way with off-the-cuff jokes, and how photogenic I am. Jimmy would be tired of the grind and decide it was the right moment to step aside and spend more time with his family. There I’d be to fill his shoes. The auditions would also include qualified female and minority candidates, and none of us would ever know the complex array of factors that led to my being picked, but that’s just something I’d have to live with. My dream might delay a segment of the population watching TV and seeing someone who looks like them staring back, but it is still my dream. I can’t help that. (Are any of you accepting packets right now?)
This job would also make me very comfortable financially. Money isn’t the most important thing to me, but of course I’d like to travel more and own a home.
I suppose it’s worth noting that The Atlantic recently published an article asking “Are Jews White?”, so perhaps I would actually be a heroic inspiration. On the other hand, I only found out it was Passover because one of my colleagues had to leave work early, and then I ate a very leavened bagel.
So, in summation, America has changed, and it’s time for late-night TV to change with it. Just hold on until 2047, because I’m going to need some time behind the desk at Studio 6B in Rockefeller Center, making the nation laugh and influencing the next generation of great comedians. “Jon,” you might say, “why not compromise and only host The Tonight Show for ten years?”