Emmy voters, I have but one question for you: what on earth do Seth Meyers and Late Night have to do to get your attention?
On Thursday morning, for the fourth year in a row, the TV Academy declined to give the NBC program its due, nominating Meyers and his team for only one award: outstanding writing for a variety series. Last year? Same deal. And those two awards are the only nods Late Night has received since it debuted in 2014. What gives?
This years crop of outstanding-variety-talk contenders is almost identical to 2017s: John Oliver, Stephen Colbert, Jimmy Kimmel, Trevor Noah, Samantha Bee, and James Corden. Noahs iteration of The Daily Show edged out Real Time with Bill Maher, but otherwise everyone else was a repeat from last year. All of these series create astounding work under immense pressure; thanks to the Trump-era news cycle, the job of pulling together a late-night show on a daily basis is perhaps more difficult than ever before.
So its hard to say that any one host should be booted from the line-up to make room for Meyers. Still, Late Nights absence from the nominee list feels wholly unjust. Of all the comedians currently putting America to bed with humor, Meyers has been one of the most consistently insightful and funny. Like any show, Late Night took a little time to find its footing following its debut four years ago—but soon enough, Meyers emerged as perhaps the one true successor to Jon Stewart at a time when such bold, insightful voices were scarce in the genre. By 2016s presidential election season, other contenders emerged as well, as Stephen Colbert and Trevor Noah also began to sharpen their teeth around national-convention season. Even then, though, Meyers remained among the most influential and insightful hosts—especially thanks to his in-depth “Closer Look” segments, which synthesize a head-spinning amount of information about current events into one digestible argument three nights a week.
Beyond that, though, theres Meyerss ethos as a host: he has been one of late-nights most consistently vocal male comedians in the wake of the #MeToo movement, and has made a frequent practice of handing over the microphone to his female writers when their voices would be more appropriate than his—paving the way for recurring segments including “Amber Says What” and “Jokes Seth Cant Tell.” He has also been a vocal supporter of former Late Night writer Michelle Wolf, both in the wake of her controversial White House Correspondents Dinner and during the launch of her own Netflix show, The Break with Michelle Wolf—on which he recently guest starred. At a time when women remain shamefully unrepresented in late-nights broadcast slate, that commitment is worthy of recognition.
In a race as crowded as late-night, its inevitable that talented people and excellent programs will be overlooked. But Meyerss continual omission from the outstanding-variety-talk category feels like a major oversight. Meyers has proven hes a deft comedian, capable of balancing the gravity of our times with the levity needed to sooth his audiences nerves. In split second, he can pivot from serious to silly. And hes a sharp interviewer to boot. So, once more, I ask: what, exactly, is it going to take for him to get his due?
Get Vanity Fairs HWD NewsletterSign up for essential industry and award news from Hollywood.Laura BradleyLaura Bradley is a Hollywood writer for VanityFair.com.