Talk about a stark image.
Instead, there sat a boys' club of Stephen Colbert,
Conan O'Brien, Trevor Noah, James Corden, Jimmy Kimmel, John Oliver, Seth Meyers, Larry Wilmore, Jimmy Fallon and Bill Maher.
The headline the magazine chose was "Why Late-Night Television Is Better than Ever." But Twitter had a different take on it, quickly noting how not one woman had been able to crack her way into that glossy image, despite the fact that
Samantha Bee's new TBS late night show Full Frontal will debut in January and Chelsea Handler recently departed her long-running Chelsea Lately for an upcoming Netflix talk show.
Also, only two persons of color, Trevor Noah, who takes over for
Jon Stewart on Sept. 28, and Larry Wilmore, host of The Nightly Show, were present.
The accompanying profile, written by
David Kamp, did acknowledge the dearth of women in late-night comedy.
"What's conspicuously missing from late-night, still, is women," Kamp wrote, pointing to talents like
Chelsea Peretti, Megan Amram and Jen Kirkman. "How gobsmackingly insane is it that no TV network has had the common sense — and that's all we're talking about in 2015, not courage, bravery, or even decency — to hand over the reins of an existing late-night comedy program to a female person?"
Cue Bee's quick fix.
The Vanity Fair image brought to mind the magazine's 2007 piece titled "Why Women Aren't Funny" by
Christopher Hitchens. "For some reason," he wrote, "women do not find their own physical decay and absurdity to be so riotously amusing, which is why we admire Lucille Ball and Helen Fielding, who do see the funny side of it."
It didn't die there. In 2012,
Adam Carolla told the New York Post, "The reason why you know more funny dudes than funny chicks is that dudes are funnier than chicks."
And just this summer,
Michael Eisner dusted off the sentiment at the Aspen Ideas Festival, telling a crowd that beautiful women aren't funny. "From my position, the hardest artist to find is a beautiful, funny woman," he said. "By far. They usually — boy am I going to get in trouble, I know this goes online — but usually, unbelievably beautiful women, you (Goldie Hawn, his panel-mate) being an exception, are not funny."