As Seth Meyers would say, “Really?!”
After breaking its near-silence on the Harvey Weinstein sexual-assault allegations on Monday night, the men of late-night television went right back to ignoring what was arguably the day’s biggest news story on Tuesday—with just two exceptions.
“The New Yorker today released audio of fired Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein begging a model to come into his hotel room and watch him shower,” Seth Meyers said in his Late Night monologue. “And by the looks of him, I’m guessing that shower never happened.”
After looking over at Weinstein’s photo in disgust, the host added, “I mean, the rest of us need one.”
In his Tonight Show monologue, Jimmy Fallon said of Weinstein's sexual misconduct allegations, “You can tell they’re bad, because Anthony Weiner just unfriended him.”
By referencing Ronan Farrow’s New Yorker exposé, which detailed not just sexual harassment but full-on rape allegations against Weinstein, Meyers revealed the fact that the article was released online well before his and other late-night shows taped (at 10:45 a.m. ET, with shows usually taping around 4:30 p.m. ET).
Moments later, The New York Times published on-the-record accusations by huge celebrities, including Gwyneth Paltrow and Angelina Jolie. Then came the first public condemnations from Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, both of whom were recipients of major campaign donations from Weinstein. In other words, this story is no longer just a “New York thing,” as Lorne Michaels said by way of excusing Saturday Night Live’s omission of Weinstein this past weekend.
Given all of these new developments, the jokes made by Stephen Colbert, Jimmy Kimmel and James Corden on Monday are starting to feel more like cursory mentions of the scandal as opposed to the genuine outrage that met similar revelations about figures like Roger Ailes and Bill O’Reilly of Fox News—and of course, Donald Trump.
And while it may be easy to suggest, as many on the right have, that the hosts are exposing their own liberal bias by going easier on a Democratic donor like Weinstein than they did on those conservative predators, it is not entirely clear yet that that is the case. It is also possible, as Monday night’s less-than-stellar jokes indicated, that this group of men is simply having trouble figuring out how to make this particularly horrific story funny.
That’s likely why Seth Meyers outsourced his Weinstein jokes to three female writers the night before. And it is hopefully why we will see more pointed material about Weinstein’s disturbing history of sexual abuse when late-night’s two female hosts return later this week.
Both Samantha Bee and Chelsea Handler taped their most recent episodes before the first Weinstein bombshells appeared in the pages of The New York Times. On Wednesday night, Bee’s Full Frontal will air on TBS and Handler’s show, which tapes Wednesday, will start streaming on Netflix. So far, there have been subtle and not-so-subtle indications from each that they will have much more to say about this particular story than their male counterparts.
On top of that, this Thursday will see the number of women in late-night double when both Sarah Silverman’s I Love You, America will premiere on Hulu and former Nightly Show head writer Robin Thede will debut as host of BET’s The Rundown.
The Daily Beast got an early peek at Silverman’s first episode, which is deliberately not topical and barely mentions Trump, let alone Weinstein. Thede, who has promised a show that centers on the intersection of politics and pop culture, should find this story too relevant to ignore.
Correction: An earlier version of this article failed to include Jimmy Fallon’s joke about Harvey Weinstein. It has been updated to include his opening monologue.