Late-night’s new lady

David Letterman welcomes a woman into the writers' room

Topics: Women writers, Broadsheet,

Late-night's new ladyFILE - In this Oct 8, 2007 file photo image originally provided by CBS, David Letterman appears on the "Late Show with David Letterman," in New York. (AP Photo/John Paul Filo, CBS, File) ** MANDATORY CREDIT; NO SALES; NO ARCHIVE; NORTH AMERICA USE ONLY **(Credit: AP)

“The Late Show With David Letterman” just got a minor estrogen injection. There is now officially a woman in the men’s writers’ room: Former writers’ assistant Jill Goodwin has been promoted as a staff writer.

It’s long overdue and follows an outcry over late-night TV’s dearth of lady scribes. As Lynn Harris wrote last month in Salon, “if aliens landed tomorrow and analyzed the writing staffs of late-night comedy shows — Earth’s daily dose of mainstream humor — they might draw the conclusion that laughter is almost exclusively the domain of the human male.” Jay Leno doesn’t have any women writers; neither did Conan O’Brien before his sad exit. Until now, Letterman was also lady-less. 



Cynically, one might see the change as an empty attempt to pacify critics following Letterman’s sex scandal and the insinuations of sexual favoritism that followed. Or maybe Letterman has taken heed of the advice offered by former “Late Show” writer Nell Scovell in a VanityFair.com essay about her firsthand experience with the sexually charged and hostile environment on the show: “Hire some qualified female writers and then treat them with respect.” Who knows whether the latter is going to happen, but at least one female writer is on the way to “some” women writers.

The important question, though, is: Will a token woman make late-night TV suck any less?

Tracy Clark-Flory

Tracy Clark-Flory is a staff writer at Salon. Follow @tracyclarkflory on Twitter and Facebook.

More Related Stories

Featured Slide Shows

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Facebook
  • 1 of 11
  • Close
  • Fullscreen
  • Thumbnails

    "Roman Candle" turns 20: Secrets of Elliott Smith's accidental masterpiece (slideshow)

    Elliott and the friends with whom he recorded in middle school in Texas (photo courtesy of Dan Pickering)

    "Roman Candle" turns 20: Secrets of Elliott Smith's accidental masterpiece (slideshow)

    Heatmiser publicity shot (L-R: Tony Lash, Brandt Peterson, Neil Gust, Elliott Smith) (photo courtesy of JJ Gonson photography)

    "Roman Candle" turns 20: Secrets of Elliott Smith's accidental masterpiece (slideshow)

    Elliott and JJ Gonson (photo courtesy of JJ Gonson photography)

    "Roman Candle" turns 20: Secrets of Elliott Smith's accidental masterpiece (slideshow)

    "Stray" 7-inch, Cavity Search Records (photo courtesy of JJ Gonson photography)

    "Roman Candle" turns 20: Secrets of Elliott Smith's accidental masterpiece (slideshow)

    Elliott's Hampshire College ID photo, 1987

    "Roman Candle" turns 20: Secrets of Elliott Smith's accidental masterpiece (slideshow)

    Elliott with "Le Domino," the guitar he used on "Roman Candle" (courtesy of JJ Gonson photography)

    "Roman Candle" turns 20: Secrets of Elliott Smith's accidental masterpiece (slideshow)

    Full "Roman Candle" record cover (courtesy of JJ Gonson photography)

    "Roman Candle" turns 20: Secrets of Elliott Smith's accidental masterpiece (slideshow)

    Elliott goofing off in Portland (courtesy of JJ Gonson photography)

    "Roman Candle" turns 20: Secrets of Elliott Smith's accidental masterpiece (slideshow)

    Heatmiser (L-R: Elliott Smith, Neil Gust, Tony Lash, Brandt Peterson)(courtesy of JJ Gonson photography)

    "Roman Candle" turns 20: Secrets of Elliott Smith's accidental masterpiece (slideshow)

    The Greenhouse Sleeve -- Cassette sleeve from Murder of Crows release, 1988, with first appearance of Condor Avenue (photo courtesy of Glynnis Fawkes)

  • Recent Slide Shows

Comments

0 Comments

Comment Preview

Your name will appear as username ( settings | log out )

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href=""> <b> <em> <strong> <i> <blockquote>