If I May: Hypothetical Late Night Hosts
Issue   |   Tue, 02/13/2018 - 20:00

On Monday, Feb. 12, it was announced that Michelle Wolf (who is my favorite comedian) will be getting her own weekly Netflix late night show. I was very, very excited when I heard this news; I have been a big fan of Wolf’s for a while, and it has been wonderful to see her gain notoriety and success. However, there was a small part of me that was saddened by this news, since Michelle Wolf was my go-to suggestion for who should host one of the “major” late night shows on CBS, NBC or ABC. I wrote last year about how Jimmy Kimmel has suggested that he may not renew his contract when it expires in the fall of 2019, and I hope to see a non-white and/or non-male host replace him. As Michelle Wolf has become more and more popular, I started to believe that she really had a chance to get that job when it opened up. She still might, as we don’t know how this Netflix series will turn out, and the fall of 2019 is a while from now. However, I now have been wracking my brain thinking about who I want get Kimmel’s job if he does decide to retire. (I think about this stuff a lot, okay. I like it. Sue me.)

I will now present five potential candidates that I would want to see host a major late night show. As you will see, these candidates are mostly completely unrealistic, but I don’t care because this list doesn’t matter. I care enough, though, to analyze why I think it is or is not realistic that these choices will ever actually end up hosting a show. Therefore, I will give each of my choices two scores out of 10: one, a score of how good they would be at hosting (read: how much I would want them to host, and we’ll call it the host-o-meter) and two, a score of how realistic it would be that they would actually host (We’ll call it the realistic-o-meter. Yeah, I didn’t think that hard about these names. You can sue me again if you want). Without further ado, here is the list, in no particular order.

1. Tina Fey
Host-o-meter: 9
Realistic-o-meter: 4

Tina Fey would be a fantastic late night host. She is obviously hilarious, but furthermore, considering that she was a longtime head writer for SNL, she would also be excellent at managing the processes necessary to host a late night show. That being said, I think it’s very unlikely that she would choose this type of grind again after going through it at SNL and having some time off. That being said, you never know, as she is not involved in a major project at the moment (to my knowledge).

2. Tiffany Haddish
Host-o-meter: 8
Realistic-o-meter: 7

Tiffany Haddish blew up this year after her scene-stealing role in “Girls Trip.” She is a fantastic comedic actor and a hilarious stand-up comedian. As she is a recent breakout star, we will have to see if she chooses to pursue acting or stand-up as her career progresses. However, I could certainly see her taking a late-night hosting job if the opportunity presented itself, as it would move her from semi-household name to full-on, no-holds-barred household name. The only reason she is a point below Tina on the host-o-meter is I’m not aware of her having held a managerial role in the content-creation process. Obviously, she is talented writer as she writes her stand-up material, but a part of running a late night show is also managing staff and synthesizing content from writers. I’m sure she would be excellent, but she hasn’t yet had the opportunity to prove it, so I had to dock a point.

3. Hasan Minhaj
Host-o-meter: 7
Realistic-o-meter: 7

Hasan Minhaj is, in my mind, the most realistic choice on this list. He already is a correspondent on “The Daily Show” (which is a breeding ground for future hosts), and he has shown that he can create brilliant original comedy in his Netflix stand-up special “Homecoming King.” Furthermore, he hasn’t moved towards acting gigs yet, and if he was offered a late night hosting gig today, I can’t see a scenario where he wouldn’t take it.

4. Phoebe Robinson and Jessica Williams
Host-o-meter: 8
Realistic-o-meter: 2

What? Two hosts? Yes. Phoebe Robinson and Jessica Williams already host the amazing podcast (and now four-part HBO special) “2 Dope Queens.” They already have the relationship necessary to co-host a show. They are both hilarious in their own right, but their chemistry together is unstoppable and infectious. Plus, Williams has experience working at a daily late night show from her time at “The Daily Show.” I would love to see a network make this gamble, but alas, I really cannot see it happening. Furthermore, I’m skeptical that the two of them would want to share a job like that, as I bet it could result in some tension. But a guy can dream!

5. Former President Barack Obama
Host-o-meter: 10
Realistic-o-meter: 0

The holy grail of hypothetical hosts, Obama has proven that he has comic timing and is able to deliver jokes (see any of his White House Correspondents’ Dinner speeches). Furthermore, he has obviously shown that he can run a complicated operation. In the current moment, it would be appropriate for Obama to steer his show into a more serious discussion of current events issues, in addition to the interview and comedic segments. That being said, I don’t know if I can think of a currently-alive person less likely to end up hosting a late night show. But, President Obama, if you’re reading this as I assume you are, please consider this: wouldn’t it be pretty cool to have been both the President of the United States and the host of a major late night talk show? No? Well, it was worth a shot.

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