Tina Fey is no stranger to making waves in roles where women are incredibly underrepresented: She was the first female head writer on Saturday Night Live. She was the creator of—and writer for—30 Rock and a co-creator and writer for Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. Most recently, she’s shown off her talent by rewriting Mean Girls for Broadway (which racked up 12 Tony nominations on Thursday).
So you’d think she’d have a lot to talk about with David Letterman on his new Netflix show, My Next Guest Needs No Introduction. And she did—although it might not have been what he was expecting. Fey’s spoken about the importance of diversity in the writers’ room before, recently in Variety‘s April “Power of Women” issue. Meanwhile, late-night comedy shows—like Letterman’s old Late Show—still are notorious for being a boys club. Although women are beginning to pave the way for other aspiring female comedians and hosts like Samantha Bee and, most recently, Busy Philipps, gender inequality still prevails in the writers room and in front of the camera.
So when Letterman attempted to explain why he’d had few women employed as writers, Fey put him squarely in his place.
“I didn’t know why there weren’t women writers. There was no policy against women writers,” Letterman, who passed the late-night baton off to Stephen Colbert in 2015, told Fey. “I always thought, ‘Well, geez, if I was a woman I don’t know if I would want to write on my nickel-and-dime, dog-and-pony show anyway because we’re on at 12:30.’”
Thankfully, Fey didn’t let that response slide: “Yeah, we did want to write on it, though,” Fey said.
Fey’s blunt response prompted Letterman to apologize: “But that is my ignorance, and I feel bad for that,” he said. “And it’s changing, has changed.”
But Nell Scovell, who made history as the first female writer on the Late Show in the early ‘90s until leaving in 2009, pointed out on Twitter that things have remained mostly the same for Letterman.
“Meanwhile, on Dave’s new Netflix show, there are 5 Executive Producers and ALL are male,” she wrote. ‘It has changed’ but not on Dave’s shows.”
You can watch Fey’s appearance on My Next Guest Needs No Introduction here.
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