It’s starting to feel like more than a trend.
On Wednesday morning, Sarah Silverman confirmed on Twitter that Hulu has canceled her late-night-style series I Love You, America after just 21 episodes.
“Well, Hulu cancelled I LOVE YOU AMERICA and we’re all pretty damn heartbroken,” Silverman tweeted of her show, which premiered less than two years ago in the fall of 2017.
The unexpected move comes just a few months after Netflix prematurely canceled The Break with Michelle Wolf after airing just 10 episodes over the course of three months. A month before that, BET gave the ax to comedian Robin Thede’s weekly talk show The Rundown after its initial 24-episode order was up. And of course, Netflix also cut Chelsea Handler’s show short after giving it close to two years to find an audience.
That leaves the well-established Samantha Bee on TBS and the newly-launched Busy Phillips on E! as the only two women hosting regular late-night shows in a sea of (mostly white) men. So much for progress.
Beyond lending some much-needed diversity to the late-night landscape, Silverman’s show, which garnered nominations at the Emmys and Writers Guild of America Awards this past year, had higher aims in mind.
Unlike most other political comedy shows, Silverman did a lot more than just trash Trump and Republicans—though there was plenty of that. She also used her platform to make genuine strides toward connecting with people on the opposite end of the political spectrum.
That included sitting down for meals with conservative families in the Deep South and attending a training for anti-abortion activists. Her guests included people who have had their minds changed, from former Westboro Baptist Church member Megan Phelps-Roper to ex-neo Nazi Christian Picciolini. She even managed to change at least one right-wing mind herself after engaging with a self-described “Trump troll” on Twitter.
“I try to do something that I find people on the right can’t do,” Silverman told me when I interviewed her a few months ago. “I go, how would I feel if it was the other way around? Because I don’t want to just feel some way because I’m partisan.” She added, “I need to learn how to understand people who think differently. I need to be able to find a way to see myself in them.”
In what she didn’t know would be her final monologue on the show just before Thanksgiving, Silverman risked backlash from fans by explaining how “thankful” she is for President Donald Trump.
“He’s the worst,” she acknowledged. “But his shamelessness brought to light things that were going on in the dark.” Employing her unique brand of gross-out humor delivered with a smile, she added, “He is like a black light at a Holiday Inn Express, exposing America’s fecal-covered handprints and neon cum stains. So in a fucked-up way, I am thankful for Donald Trump. Because he made us pay attention.”
Evidently, Hulu didn’t feel like enough people were paying attention to Silverman’s show. But hers was an important voice in the increasingly important political comedy sphere and it will be sorely missed.