Making people laugh is what Lopez, Sykes and Mo'Nique do for a living, so they should have an advantage over noncomedians. All three are minorities, and are vying for younger, hipper audiences than Leno and Letterman. Sykes' show is only on weekends, while Mo'Nique and Lopez are on cable stations, where they will not be under as much pressure to instantly succeed.
Reaction so far has been decidedly mixed. Mo'Nique, riding a wave of goodwill for her dramatic turn in the new film "Precious," has scored decent ratings with her BET talk fest, although some critics have found her to be a bit overbearing. Sykes, in her first foray on her weekend Fox series last week, displayed little of her characteristic charm evident on her recent HBO stand-up special. Daily Variety's Brian Lowry said that though Sykes' show had moments of "goofy humor," much of the show was "an amateurish mess." He was more pleased with Lopez but said the host would have to learn not to fawn over his guests. The Hollywood Reporter blasted Lopez's scattershot interviews with first-nighters Eva Longoria Parker and Kobe Bryant, and his continued pounding on the topic of his show's cultural diversity.