Question: What is happening with Fallon, Colbert and Kimmel? All three are so political now! Before I go to bed, I just want to be entertained with some light comedy as in the days of Carson, Leno and Letterman. We already get more than enough daily politics. I have tuned out of late night and I am sure many other TV viewers have, too. — Alfred B
Matt Roush: To put this in context, I received this late last week, when the city I live in was under an 8 p.m. curfew and streets across the nation were overrun with protests. So while this speaks to a bigger issue generally, and one I’ve heard often, especially with someone like Stephen Colbert whose monologues since the last election have been almost entirely political in nature, let’s be honest: This isn’t a funny time. Even Carson and Leno, and certainly Letterman in his prime, would have stepped back during a period of this much turmoil to get serious, and even Fallon stopped being cute last week. In the bigger picture, I know from my mailbag that many people wish the late-night hosts would lighten up and move off politics more often, but to ignore the times we’re in would render them irrelevant, and for as many who are turned off, others are drawn to these shows for their ability
to inject some wit and humanity amid the polarized outrage even in quieter weeks. There’s no going back.
To submit questions to TV Critic Matt Roush, go to: tvinsider.com