Tiny Fey on Late Show With David Letterman in 2014

The most recent round of late night TV musical chairs has settled down, with Stephen Colbert cozily installed as the new host of CBS’ Late Show and Trevor Noah now beginning his tenure on Comedy Central’s The Daily Show. But once again, there are still no women hosting late night talk shows, despite a seeming abundance of obvious candidates for the job. The subject has even become a running joke on ABC’s The Muppets, where Miss Piggy is fictionally portrayed as the only woman hosting her own late night show. What’s going on here? Vulture decided to get to the heart of the matter by asking the women themselves, interviewing 37 top comedians about whether or not they would actually want to host a Tonight Show-style gabfest. Respondents include Tina Fey, Retta, Mindy Kaling, and Carol Burnett. (For the record, Amy Schumer, who turned down The Daily Show, has already weighed in this topic and is not among the interviewees.)

As you might guess, responses to the question vary greatly. Neither Tina Fey nor Mindy Kaling is into it, both citing “the grind” of doing such a program. “I don’t know if I’d have the energy to talk about why this actress is selling aloe juice or whatever,” Kaling says. Fey bluntly describes her probable lack of interest in typical talk show guests: “So much of the dynamic of shows like that is like, ‘I’m a young actress,’ and if you don’t want to fuck that young actress, then why are you talking to her?” Others, like Margaret Cho and Crazy Ex-Girlfriend star Rachel Bloom, would jump at the chance. “I have the chops,” says Cho, “and could do every job from the monologue to interviewing guests.” Bloom, meanwhile, would try to make her show “feel like vaudeville.” Former Last Comic Standing winner Iliza Shlesinger expresses a common sentiment when she says, “My only goal in Hollywood is to have a late-night show, and I won’t stop until this dream is a reality.” Several of the women surveyed use the word “dream” when talking about their late night aspirations, suggesting that, for many comedians, hosting a nightly talk show is the ultimate show business goal. Others, like Cameron Esposito, are more pragmatic. ”Yeah, sure, I’ll host a late-night show,” says Esposito. “Are you guys offering?”

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