When James Corden announced that he was stepping down as the host of The Late Late Show after eight years, I began to speculate who might be a good fit to take over his time slot on the CBS late night line-up. Among my selection of potential candidates — such as Neil Patrick Harris and Tiffany Haddish — I did not include Taylor Tomlinson, but I am totally kicking myself over her exclusion now. This is not just because she ended up getting the job after all, but because I could not be happier by the choice.
On November 1, 2023, Stephen Colbert announced on The Late Show that the comedian will serve as the emcee for After Midnight — a reboot of the Internet culture-based game show @midnight, which ran from 2013 to 2017 on Comedy Central with host Chris Hardwick. The show will follow Colbert’s 11:30 p.m. time slot and will also be produced by the former The Colbert Report host, in association with Funny or Die. While there may still be a few people out there who have never heard of Tomlinson, I do not know why I did not see this coming sooner and truly believe she is ideal choice for this gig. Here’s why…
Tomlinson Is One Of The Best Stand-Ups Of Her Generation
Most of my favorite comedians are either no longer with us — such as George Carlin or Norm Macdonald — or are not perceived in the most flattering light these days for one reason or another. That is why I was so relieved to discover Taylor Tomlinson after deciding to watch her second comedy special, Look at You, on a whim shortly after it became available in 2022. Now, it is one of my all-time favorite Netflix original stand-up specials and her debut special from 2020, Quarter-Life Crisis, is pretty high up there for me as well.
Having been performing stand-up for almost half of her life, Tomlinson has pretty much perfected the art by now, as far as I am concerned. From her clever and insightful analyzation of a wide range of modern day topics to her affable, pitch-perfect style of delivery and her refreshing avoidance of material that borders on political commentary for the most part, I think she is easily one of the funniest in her line of work and her increasing popularity only further supports the claim. Her talent could be just what late night TV needs right now, among things she could bring to the table.
Currently, There Are Zero Other Female Late Night TV Hosts
To be clear, the fact that Taylor Tomlinson is a woman is not necessarily one of my top-priority reasons for celebrating her After Midnight hosting gig. However, it does make it a means for celebration considering how late night television is a very male-dominated environment at the moment.
There was a time not so long ago when that was not the case when former Daily Show correspondent Samantha Bee was one of the top modern-day late night show hosts before TBS cancelled the Emmy-winning Full Frontal in 2022. A year earlier, NBC pulled the plug on YouTube sensation Lilly Singh’s network program, A Little Late, and, currently, the fate of the Peacock original TV show, The Amber Ruffin Show, is uncertain. Tomlinson’s upcoming late night debut could be the dawn of a new era for the industry that sees more women headlining these shows.
She Has A Very Down-To-Earth, Authentic Presence
I don’t know about you, but there are a few still-active late night hosts whom I do not care much for. My main issue with them — without disclosing any names — is that some are so bitterly uptight that I do not find them funny, while others are so dubiously upbeat that I cannot bring themself to take them seriously. However, I would never associate either of these off-putting characteristics with Taylor Tomlinson.
Anyone who has seen her stand-up knows that she comes across as very authentic on stage in how she does not hold back at mentioning most dark and intimate details about her life — but in a thankfully lighthearted tone — and in the way she playfully interacts with audience members on occasion. Her humble demeanor also shows in her post-announcement conversation with Colbert, especially in how she mentions she is looking forward to hosting After Midnight because — not counting her stand-up tenure — it will be first real job. I believe a host with a personable aura and refreshing authenticity such as her is the Number One thing late night TV needs the most these days.
She Could Attract A Younger Demographic To Late Night
In addition to becoming the only active female late night host, when Taylor Tomlinson first takes the stage on After Midnight, she will also be the youngest host on the market and by a pretty significant margin. By then, the comedian will have turned 30 years old, which was also the same age the Conan O’Brien — who has a travel show coming to Max — was when he took over Late Night on NBC for David Letterman. That may sound like a mere coincidence, but it could be a premonition for her show’s potential legacy.
As a 2009 New York Times article recalls, O’Brien proved to be popular among adults under 30, which was — and remains — a highly coveted demographic that late TV night has struggled to appeal to in more recent years. The issue might be that these viewers do not have a host they can identify with, as most of them are not from their generation. However, with someone as youthful as Tomlinson behind the desk, they might be more inclined to tune in during the actual broadcast instead of waiting to watch clips on YouTube the next morning.
What Else Taylor Tomlinson Has Coming Up
After Midnight is actually just one of a few things taking up Taylor Tomlinson’s busy schedule. There is more for fans of the comic to look forward to, in addition to her national “Have it All” tour, which is set to wrap up in November 2023. In 2022, Variety reported that the comedian is co-writing a currently untitled autobiographical movie that Fatherhood director Paul Weitz will direct for Village Roadshow Pictures.
Not since Conan O’Brien moved from NBC to TBS or Stephen Colbert took over for David Letterman have I been this excited for an upcoming late night TV show. According to Deadline, Taylor Tomlinson is set to being hosting After Midnight when the comedic game show premieres on CBS at 12:30 p.m. ET in early 2024.