Comedy, Satire, and the News: How it all fits Together on Late-Night TV


Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

Ava Fong, Online Staff Writer

Ever since the 1980s, late-night TV has been on the rise. Now with the help of the internet, clips from late-night talk shows have been dominating social media platforms and are impacting the younger generation more than ever before. Historically, different late-night talk shows would compete for popular time slots and channels that paid them well; however, things have now changed to be more social media and content-based. You might have heard of Seth Meyers from his “Day Drinking with Celebrities” segment posted on Youtube (that has now garnered over millions of views), as opposed to catching his show on NBC at 12:30 AM. Late-night TV’s success on social media tells us that it is starting to gain popularity among the youth. With that being said, here are some recommendations for some awesome, late-night talk shows.

1. The Late Late Show with James Corden

  • James Corden’s show is great for viewers interested in celebrity gossip, theatre, and performance. His comfortable nature with interviewing multiple guests at a time lends him to be a favorite among guest celebrities. Some of his most famous segments are: Crosswalk the Musical, Carpool Karaoke, and Sing Offs with different celebrities. 

2. The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon

  • The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon has a similar format to The Late Late Show with James Corden – mostly focusing on celebrity interviews and game shows. More recently, the show has also invited various K-Pop acts such as BTS, Twice, and BLACKPINK to perform. 

3. The Tonight Show with Stephen Colbert

  • For a more balanced mix of satirical comedy and celebrity interviews, The Tonight Show with Stephen Colbert is the perfect choice. This show is a mix of both worlds –incorporating both witty satire and interviews seamlessly throughout. 

4. The Daily Show

  • The Daily Show, hosted by Trevor Noah, is an excellent show if you want a witty and sharp angle on the current news. Even if Trevor Noah doesn’t have a variety of segments when compared to Corden, his quick and brutally honest comedy is a draw for most people to watch his show. Trevor Noah is well known for his excellent stand-up as well. Ranging from topics of race, international travel, and colonization, Noah is able to touch upon historical events and current issues with a natural tact for being both honest, entertaining, and enlightening. Luckily enough, he has a few, binge-worthy specials on Netflix that have been airing for a while now. 

Despite the popularity of all of these shows, it is important to keep in mind the methods in which we sift through current events in the news. Senior Linda Qu shared that , she “understands why the shows have [a] high entertainment value, [but], if it’s the only source of news people are getting, that’s very sad.” Qu continued to state her concern: “In the ideal world, people have diversified news sources that are unbiased which gives people a chance to form their own opinions. I’m just worried that in our current state of mind and situation, I’m afraid that it’s not common to actually seek out unbiased views. Everyone should just understand that these shows are just entertainment”. Again, it is important to understand the structure of these shows, and that they are meant to be comedic in nature, which means they shouldn’t be taken seriously one-hundred percent of the time. Similarly, Junior Helen Amon shared that she finds late-night comedy “so successful because it’s a way of using comedy to generate interest about the world, the news, and current events that might otherwise not be interesting if it’s not funny. Comedy can be used to raise awareness”. 

Given that the creative combination of political commentary and comedy is understandably appealing to many, the rise of late-night shows can be seen as an inspiring yet cautious take on news and pop culture.