‘Late Night’ makes late night look bleak for women. So we asked how bad it really is

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For many women in late-night television, this depiction of a male-dominated workplace rings true, with one glaring exception: The show Molly works for is hosted by, of all things, a woman. While there are now more women writing for late-night shows than ever before, female hosts, like female presidents, largely remain a figment of the Hollywood imagination. More encouraging are the gains made by female comedy writers. A decade ago, a tally of women writing for late-night shows read like binary code: zeros and ones across the board. Progress has not been easy, according to women in late-night TV. For aspiring comedy writers, the process can be as brutally competitive as getting into the Ivy League — and just as reliant on powerful connections. Applicants submit packets — writing samples in the style and tone of a particular show.

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