Stephen Colbert isn’t sorry for only having “one woman” writer

If only Colbert would discuss gender equality not just in his GOP-bashing, but in criticisms of his own show, too VIDEO

Topics: Video, colbert bump, Comedy, Sarah Silverman, Stephen Colbert, red carpet, double standards, Feminism, giuliana rancic,

Stephen Colbert isn't sorry for only having "one woman" writer (Credit: Reuters/Mario Anzuoni)

When Stephen Colbert accepted a well-deserved Emmy win for “The Colbert Report” last night, he thanked, among others, his writing team for helping to bring home another Emmy last week. “I’m so proud of those guys,” he said while exuding charm and sincerity. Then he called out the single female on his writing staff of 18 –not by saying her name, Meredith, but by the tag, “one woman.” Oof. “And, uh, sorry for that, for some reason,” he added, awkwardly.

It’s hard to criticize someone as funny and well-liked as Colbert, but his comment trivialized a real concern that extends beyond his show and into all of Hollywood: Women are underrepresented, and they are stereotyped. (I mean, in an Emmy bit attempting to bolster diversity the same hour, Sofia Vergara was literally put on a pedestal to be gawked at). Considering that the “Colbert bump” is a real phenomenon, and that Colbert is known for throwing his weight behind certain causes and rallying against certain bullies, it’s frustrating that he hasn’t taken this criticism seriously.

Recently, a few women on “The Daily Show” staff admitted in its first official podcast that they used to be uncomfortable doing segments about women’s issues, a notion that’s frankly absurd considering that women make up half the world population. The culture at “The Daily Show” is changing, they now say, and the candid conversations between these women have evolved into some of the show’s most successful bits in recent history.

The same can’t be said for “Colbert,” which, according to Reuters, has a dismal record for hosting females, too (“The Daily Show’s” record on this is a bit better): Out of a recent sample of 45 guests, Colbert hosted 73 percent men, 89 percent of whom were white. Only one guest was a woman of color. Considering Colbert’s influence on culture, this sends the message, according to reporter Chloe Angyal, “that the most credible, interesting and relevant people out there – the people viewers should hear from and know about – are almost all white and male.”

You Might Also Like

Alas, that’s the same message we received from the Emmy Awards Monday night. At the red carpet, E! host Giuliana Rancic asked women about their dresses, hair and purses. The men, ostensibly there to boast the same accomplishments, instead fielded questions about their work and their opinions. Anticipating the red carpet double standard, the Representation Project launched the #AskHerMore campaign on Twitter:

At the carpet itself, comedian Sarah Silverman, who went on to win an Emmy, teased out the absurdity of Rancic’s line of questioning in a hilarious segment that soon went viral: After Rancic commented on Silverman’s breasts, Rancic asked about her dress. “I’m wearing Marni, the character from ‘Girls,’ Marni with an ‘i’,” Silverman joked. Then came the dreaded mani cam –”I’ve been on the road, these are working hands!” she cried in protest. In a final genius moment, Rancic then invasively went for Silverman’s purse and opened it. She found Silverman’s pot stash, along with “money, lipstick, a little mirror, my license.”

The segment is a wonderful contrast to Colbert, who, when faced with a valid feminist critique, essentially raised his hands and gave up. Silverman, however, decided to do something about sexism with what little platform she was given that night. Comedy can be transformative, and almost no one wields more of that power than Colbert. His platform could boost feminism if he acknowledges it not just in his segments cutting down the GOP, but in criticisms of his own show, as well.

Prachi Gupta

Prachi Gupta is an Assistant News Editor for Salon, focusing on pop culture. Follow her on Twitter at @prachigu or email her at pgupta@salon.com.

More Related Stories

Featured Slide Shows

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Facebook
  • 1 of 11
  • Close
  • Fullscreen
  • Thumbnails
    Martyna Blaszczyk/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

    National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Entries

    Slide 1

    Pond de l'Archeveche - hundreds thousands of padlocks locked to a bridge by random couples, as a symbol of their eternal love. After another iconic Pont des Arts bridge was cleared of the padlocks in 2010 (as a safety measure), people started to place their love symbols on this one. Today both of the bridges are full of love locks again.

    Anders Andersson/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

    National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Entries

    Slide 2

    A bird's view of tulip fields near Voorhout in the Netherlands, photographed with a drone in April 2015.

    Aashit Desai/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

    National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Entries

    Slide 3

    Angalamman Festival is celebrated every year in a small town called Kaveripattinam in Tamil Nadu. Devotees, numbering in tens of thousands, converge in this town the day after Maha Shivratri to worship the deity Angalamman, meaning 'The Guardian God'. During the festival some of the worshippers paint their faces that personifies Goddess Kali. Other indulge in the ritual of piercing iron rods throughout their cheeks.

    Allan Gichigi/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

    National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Entries

    Slide 4

    Kit Mikai is a natural rock formation about 40m high found in Western Kenya. She goes up the rocks regularly to meditate. Kit Mikai, Kenya

    Chris Ludlow/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

    National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Entries

    Slide 5

    On a weekend trip to buffalo from Toronto we made a pit stop at Niagara Falls on the Canadian side. I took this shot with my nexus 5 smartphone. I was randomly shooting the falls themselves from different viewpoints when I happened to get a pretty lucky and interesting shot of this lone seagull on patrol over the falls. I didn't even realize I had captured it in the shot until I went back through the photos a few days later

    Jassen T./National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

    National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Entries

    Slide 6

    Incredibly beautiful and extremely remote. Koehn Lake, Mojave Desert, California. Aerial Image.

    Howard Singleton/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

    National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Entries

    Slide 7

    Lucky timing! The oxpecker was originally sitting on hippo's head. I could see the hippo was going into a huge yawn (threat display?) and the oxpecker had to vacate it's perch. When I snapped the pic, the oxpecker appeared on the verge of being inhaled and was perfectly positioned between the massive gaping jaws of the hippo. The oxpecker also appears to be screeching in terror and back-pedaling to avoid being a snack!

    Abrar Mohsin/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

    National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Entries

    Slide 8

    The Yetis of Nepal - The Aghoris as they are called are marked by colorful body paint and clothes

    Madeline Crowley/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

    National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Entries

    Slide 9

    Taken from a zodiac raft on a painfully cold, rainy day

    Ian Bird/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

    National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Entries

    Slide 10

    This wave is situated right near the CBD of Sydney. Some describe it as the most dangerous wave in Australia, due to it breaking on barnacle covered rocks only a few feet deep and only ten metres from the cliff face. If you fall off you could find yourself in a life and death situation. This photo was taken 300 feet directly above the wave from a helicopter, just as the surfer is pulling into the lip of the barrel.

  • Recent Slide Shows

Comments

Loading Comments...