Zachary Landau | Asst. A&E Editor
On April 18, Comedy Central announced its intentions to pick up a new, as-of-yet-untitled project produced by comedian and activist Franchesca Ramsey. While the details on the show’s format are scarce, Ramsey intends to have “the most diverse set of comedians on TV” and to “heal America through brutal comedy, surprising guests and breakdowns of the most pressing cultural issues you never knew you cared about,” according to CC’s 2017-2018 Content Development Slate.
Ramsey emerged to national fame because of her 2012 “S**t White Girls Say … to Black Girls” video that garnered over 11 million views. Ramsey later was a contributor on the now defunct “Nightly Show” during its year-and-a-half run.
In light of the collapse of “The Nightly Show,” Trevor Noah’s lukewarm reception at “The Daily Show” and the less-than-enthusiastic response to Jordan Klepper’s new show, the news that the network is showing an interest in a show hosted by a black female comedian is a welcomed relief.
The late-night scene is, quite frankly, atrocious. Virtually no variety exists between hosts, with white dudes dominating the landscape and creating a boring and uninteresting sampling of comedy. So boring are these hosts that Samantha Bee, after leaving “The Daily Show,” used this unwavering monotony as a means to promote her own show, “Full Frontal.”
And she wasn’t wrong in doing so. Bee’s show proves, week after week, to be some of the funniest comedy I have seen since, well, “The Nightly Show.” Her relentless poking and prodding of those in power is refreshing in an industry that feels more comfortable interviewing the latest celebrity than scolding ridiculous lawmakers.
That was something “The Nightly Show” did consistently throughout its run. Segments on the Flint Water Crisis appeared regularly, for example, and issues the cast felt personally connected to made up a majority of the jokes (Bill Cosby’s shenanigans preceding his court hearing being of particular chagrin to the host, Larry Wilmore).
Ramsey complimented that take-no-prisoners attitude perfectly. Her segments on people losing their minds on social media about things they really didn’t understand offered just as much insight as jokes. Relentless in calling people out (or, as was the motto during the show’s round-table segments, “keeping it 100”), Ramsey’s comedy and social critique mesh effortlessly together, and the prospect that a whole show will be dedicated to this style of humor should be celebrated.
As someone who gave up on a lot of late-night television because of its lack of teeth, I could not be more thrilled to hear that someone like Ramsey has a chance to take a crack and break the bones of the industry. Hopefully, this project takes off the same way that “Full Frontal” did and offers an alternative to those who, like me, feel disenfranchised by the status quo.