If you love catching up on the previous night's talk show bits or even disregarding your bedtime to see your favorite host in real time, get ready to ditch your TV for the big screen. In this summer's Late Night, Mindy Kaling stars as a new writer on a late-night talk show helmed by Emma Thompson's jaded host. I love Samantha Bee and Busy Philipps as much as the next gal, but the Late Night trailer makes me envision a hilarious future with Kaling at a talk show desk.
The trailer comes a week after star and screenwriter Kaling announced that her comedy would hit theaters this June following its premiere at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year. As seen in the new clips, Thompson appears as Katherine Newbury, a talk show host who runs a tight ship among her all-male writing staff. When she receives word that the network plans to replace her next year, she's forced to turn to Kaling's Molly for a fresh take on TV material that expands beyond Katherine being "a little old and a little white."
As Molly puts it, she's initially the "vibrant splash of color on the gray canvas" of the show's writing team. According to a USA Today summary, Molly is first hired to cool down accusations that Katherine dislikes other women, but the trailer promises that Katherine begins to trust Molly's insight. Teasing a burst of new success for Katherine and a co-worker romancing Molly, the promo already has me eager for the very meta press tour Kaling and Thompson will have this summer.
While talk show fans might notice that Katherine's show marquee is suspiciously reminiscent of The Late Show, Kaling actually turned to the staff at Late Night with Seth Meyers for story inspiration. In a May 2018 appearance on Meyers' show, Kaling revealed she had met with his writers for role research and that the host plays himself in the movie. In addition to this all-star cameo, the trailer offers looks at other cast members such as John Lithgow and Hugh Dancy.
The current talk show landscape includes Samantha Bee and Busy Philipps' late night stints, and if you haven't checked out their bits yet, you should get on that. But when it comes to main networks' talk shows, there's no hiding the fact that all of the hosts there are white men. While on Late Night with Seth Meyers, Kaling even joked about the movie, "It's in a world where there is a female late-night talk show host on a major network, so it's in a crazy world."
She's sadly accurate, and while Late Night is fiction for now, maybe it will move along the conversation on incorporating more female talk show hosts in the future of network TV. Written by Kaling and directed by Nisha Ganatra, the film is already making a great statement on the representation of women on TV. We'll have to wait and see what kind of actual talk show segments the movie leads to this summer, but I'm so here for those Late Night convos.
Late Night is in theaters on Friday, June 7.