Photo: The Late Show with Stephen Colbert/YouTube
Emmys, royal funerals, and strikes — oh my! Late-night hosts had quite a chunk of news to cover in a slightly shortened week. Many of them (well, the nominated ones) took Monday night off to attend the prime-time Emmys and lose to John Oliver yet again. Hope the gift bags were good! Bradley Whitford had a good take on the award-show industrial complex on The Late Late Show, comparing the whole thing to a dog show. Don’t let it get you down! After all, the dogs don’t know they’re being ranked.
Speaking of the convergence of the late-night world and the Emmys, we gotta talk about the Kimmel and Brunson of it all. Will Arnett and Jimmy Kimmel did a bit while announcing the Outstanding Comedy Writing category, which Quinta Brunson won for Abbott Elementary. When Kimmel decided to continue the bit through Brunson’s acceptance speech, people (and Sheryl Lee Ralph) found it mad disrespectful. Fortunately, Brunson was already scheduled to appear on Kimmel on Wednesday, and Brunson was able to do an extended victory lap through Kimmel’s studio on Hollywood Boulevard. So two of the stars in ABC’s glittering firmament were able to publicly quash any feud rumors. Smiles all around. Here were the other biggest good-vibes moments this week.
Ever since she was a child on Johnny Carson, Drew Barrymore has given good late-night mon. This week she reunited with her Fever Pitch co-star Jimmy Fallon to do another one of his interminable games. This one was called Focus Up, in which a picture gets more and more clearly defined as the clock runs out, and the first one to guess it wins. But Barrymore cannot be contained. She feels the rain on her skin at every opportunity. She is chaos. She accidentally got a peek at the monitor, letting it slip that the category they’d be guessing was album covers, and the random category generator in fact does nothing. Yes, Drew Barrymore, call Jimmy Fallon’s game empire into question. Question everything.
The gulf between how late night talked about the queen’s death and how, um, almost everyone elses talked about the queen’s death has been wild. Most of the hosts have been pretty respectful or moved on from the topic as quickly as possible. But Trevor Noah has been on the “Y’know, Some People Say she She Sucked Ass” beat for a minute. It’s been a nice break from the cognitive dissonance engendered by the more deferential coverage. Make a joke about her killing Diana, Trevor. You’re just saying what a vocal section of the population is thinking.
Does comedy get better than a good list sketch? Probably, but list sketches are soooo gooood. The Late Late Show did its own version of Key & Peele’s East/West Bowl sketches with that weird promo video for The Rings of Power — you know, the one where all the characters are in purgatory or something. We were introduced to such heroes of Middle-earth as Girl Fieri, Cocaine Lizard, and Shy Horse. Look, if you have a custom library, you might as well use it.
James Adomian’s take on the MyPillow Guy is a consistent favorite of this column. This is no secret. But the folks at Jimmy KimmelLive did something fun with this remote segment: I think they really went outside. The Kimmel production staff repurposed a trailer into the Hardee’s drive-thru in Mankato, Minnesota — you know, the one that is now of national importance, thanks to Mike Lindell? Seeing Adomian fling shredded iceberg lettuce into real minivans as they crawled through the fake drive-thru is gorgeous to behold. And hearing his Lindell mispronounce “Tamagucci”? Priceless.
I guess these guys enjoy their lives of prestige drama and talk-show domination. I guess. But remember when they were silly goofs? Just a couple of Silly Billys. Stephen Colbert and Steven Carell got the old “Even Stevphen” gang back together with some fun codpieces and fake beards to do faux Shakespeare. Colbert repurposed his old Reducto voice, and Carell relied on his unbreakable vibes from him that served him in such good stead in the anchormans. Let’s be real: This is not a particularly smart time to be alive. It’s time for Colbert and Carell to be dumb fucks again.