For a long time now, the world of late night talk shows have been a boys’ club, both in front of and behind the camera. Even most of the greats will admit that their writing staffs were largely male, and in most industries, this leads to the inevitable, eternally complicated problem of the “diversity hire”. You know the situation. A woman, sometimes of color but not always, is brought into a predominantly white and male office in order to appease concerns of homogeneity, but winds up having to negotiate from the position of an outsider instead of actually being invited to bring things to the table.
It’s a real-world issue rife with comic potential in the right hands, and if the first trailer for the upcoming feature Late Night is any indication, Mindy Kaling may have an upcoming hit on hers. Written by Kaling and directed by well-traveled TV helmer Nisha Ganatra, Late Night follows Emma Thompson as Katherine Newbury, a longtime mainstay on the late-night circuit who finds both her show and ratings stagnating due to her own off-putting manner and an ever-rotating writers’ room full of syncophants. When Molly (Kaling) is hired to diversify the all-male group, she and Katherine soon find themselves drawn to each other despite having almost nothing else in common aside from the obvious, and begin to pull Tonight with Katherine Newbury out of the ratings basement.
When it premiered at Sundance earlier this year, Late Night emerged as one of the fest’s buzzier titles, lauded as a funny and spot-on look at the equally cutthroat worlds of television and office politics alike. Amazon Studios will release Late Night in theaters on June 7th.