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‘Late Night’ makes late night look bleak for women. So we asked how bad it really is

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This is the age-old story of a younger woman meeting an older, married man at work. I was aware that he was married with kids. He was always very active on social media, and often I thought, What a cute family! I never had any intention of getting involved with him, especially because I had been cheated on before. At the same time, I can remember the exact moment I met him, before anything had happened. One night, at a work event, he and I really connected. A few days and a few hundred text messages later, I was hooked. He expressed to me his grievances about his wife. He praised her for being a good person and mother, but not a good partner.

Designed for many women in late-night television, this depiction of a male-dominated workplace rings true, with one glaring exception: The show Molly works for is hosted by, of all things, a female. While there are now more women writing for late-night shows than always before, female hosts, like female presidents, largely remain a figment of the Hollywood imagination. More encouraging are the gains made by female comedy writers. A decade ago, a tally of women writing for late-night shows announce like binary code: zeros and ones across the board. Progress has not been easy, according to women all the rage late-night TV. For aspiring comedy writers, the process can be as brutally competitive as getting into the Ivy League — and just as dependent on powerful connections. Applicants submit packets — writing samples in the adapt and tone of a particular act.

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