In today’s society, the fast paced 24-hour news cycle generates a non-stop progression of information and on-going events. One can scroll through social media sites to catch up with the news, read the news on printed paper or online. We can also listen to the news on the radio or watch it on TV. The heavy consumption of the news has changed how the newspaper, television, and Internet industry share and distribute information. Reading the news is one thing, but understanding it is something else.
Nighttime television has established a platform for comedians to apply witty, sharp, and satirical points of views to current and timely issues. Before Stephen Colbert became host of The Late Show, David Letterman was achieving milestones in educating America. Before Jimmy Fallon, it was Jay Leno. And before Trevor Noah it was Jon Stewart. These men became influential icons and left a legacy for more men and women to continue the legacy in educating the public through their impact.
HBO’s Last Week Tonight with British comedian John Oliver produces in-depth explanatory reporting of several topics in ten to twenty minutes. Although John Oliver protests that he is not a journalist and his show is strictly comedic, there is a more thorough analysis of the news through his method that assists the massive news world. The same goes for Trevor Noah of The Daily Show and Samantha Bee of Full Frontal, which averaged 2.2 million viewers in the show’s 2016 premiere. Late night shows serve as a catalyst to parse out the news but it is often scrutinized and criticized because of uncensored material.
On these shows, the battle of political correctness and incorrectness is crushed. Many people find this to be one of the many problematic aspects of these late night shows. However, there is truth and logic in the analysis that viewers are provided with. By deconstructing and evaluating the news, a viewer can easily follow the material through evidence and reasoning.
Late night television appeals to every demographic whether old or young, male or female. The insensitivity preserves sensitivity through fair-minded, cultural analogies presented in these television shows.
The impact of these comedians is significant because of their constructive role in our society. A 2012 Pew Research Center survey found that more Americans turned to Saturday Night Live, The Daily Show, and The Tonight Show than to national newspapers for campaign news.
There is a lot to learn with a variety of formats from in-depth reports to behind-the-scenes journalists and reporters, from host monologues to produced reports. Mixing humor and politics is almost as risky as the mixture of religion and politics, however the late-night stage has managed to create a happy marriage.
From political issues to LGBT issues, late-night shows allow us to ponder the topics of the day through sketches and monologues that teach and entertain us.