Does Late Night Need Youtube?

Or, How I Learned to Keep Mourning The Nightly Show and Love the Bomb

It’s no secret that the measure of late night programming is often in the viral video.

It explains why Jimmy Fallon was killing the late night game and why James Cordon is becoming the singing jester that stole his crown. That’s the explanation for why Colbert might’ve defined the cultural landscape as a character while nearly vanishing as he wedges himself into the talk show format. And it’s why every Monday morning you see headlines about how John Oliver eviscerated, dominated, and destroyed some concept or another. Each of them has that sharability—and that fresh Youtube account.

As cord-cutting drops TV subscriptions about eight percent overall and 19 percent in young adults (the theoretical cable buyers of the future), networks aren’t counting on pulling viewers in through the traditional means at the traditional times. But it turns out the only thing better than water cooler talk is hundreds of thousands of shares on social media. Sharing videos, segments, and even episodes in whole on the internet is just one more way of show viability through virality.

461796278-0And it’s something The Nightly Show never had. Comedy Central was (oddly) one of the slower adopters of internet video sharing. For the longest time clips to their content could only be found through their own website, on a special video service all their own. Eventually they warmed to the idea, and now The Daily Show is sharing segments from its own Youtube account. But The Nightly Show isn’t; they only come from the Comedy Central account. Sure, you can search for them in Youtube, but if you’re just trolling the account page, The Nightly show is buried under clips and segments from Not Safe with Nikki GlaserTosh.O,  and even more Daily Show clips. Heck, it doesn’t even come up on the initial account page for its own subchannel.

As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, there’s probably a whole cocktail of reasons The Nightly Show will be keeping it 100 for only one more night. But not having access to the modern means of getting itself out there? Definitely didn’t help.

I will go to the mat for trigger warnings

Let’s just clear the air around this: There’s a common misconception that trigger warnings are put there to protect overly-sensitive people who want to be protected from the harshities of the world. Some people consider them “almost 100% unnecessary” as a “sign post for the weak minded.”


Trigger warnings, or content warnings, are used to advise people that there might be triggering material in a post, written piece, or medium. To say that a material was triggering is not to say that it made them simply unhappy, or got their delicate feelings hurt. It would be more accurately characterized as a significant mood-altering experience of anxiety. A trigger could be anything from a smell to a description about a triggering topic, and symptoms can range from dizziness to a full-blown panic attack.

I cannot, for the life of me, understand opposition to trigger warnings (and believe me, I have tried to read the other side). To say that they exist to simply indulge people who want the world to blanket them is to ignore that they are legitimately put in place to mitigate harm.

To say that having such alerts only serve to make us more sensitive, “an over-preoccupation with our own feelings to the detriment of society as a whole” is patently false, and surprisingly in line with the exact thinking it speaks against. They do exist in the real world (movie and game ratings, for instance) and I firmly believe there is a place for them online. I have been through some experiences that would commonly be described as “triggering” and I don’t need a trigger warning for them.

So what? I know that people do. Those people have asked for something that can make their day a bit easier and I am more than happy to oblige them. And on those days where I am feeling particularly sensitive then I appreciate them all the more.

Even if it serves as nothing more than a mental signpost people fly by I find trigger warnings helpful, and I hope that the culture they are ushering in spreads further than the Internet.