first, thank you for reading and taking the time to comment. I actually was revisiting this piece today.
frankly, I want to disdinguish the sidekick role (a-la Andy Richter) from the band leader. I think of them as more of the host side-sidekick dynamic as a one-two act, rather than separate entities.
There were a couple of points I was trying to make: 1) the late night format in general, antiquated, and I think the way that the shows have been foreced to adapt during COVID magnifies that. 2) The relationship between Jon and Stephen is uncomfrtable and unnatural and doesn't make for good TV. and it undermines both of their strenghts when they interact. 3) the most glaringly obvious thing is that all netowrk late night hosts are white men, and all of their band leaders are black, with the exception of fred armisen who is barely a part of seth's show anymore. so when it feels so forced, it makes that dynamic even more obvious.
as far as Jimmy and Guillermo – jimmy came from the man show. I'm sure a good chunk of the ethos of that show was born out of the man show. I find that relationship far less bothersom, mostly because guillermo is genuinely an endearing character and no one is ever making fun of him. imagine if conan found andy in the parking lot?