this week in late night

Aspiring Cartoonist Paul Giamatti Won Late Night This Week

The bearded man was not intended to be Rasputin, actually. Photo: YouTube

Rabbit, rabbit, rabbit. Happy May Day to one and all. New month, new me, am I right? Okay, while I’m definitely wrong and nothing of note has changed as we transition from April to May, this week has had more peaks than valleys. A (slightly delayed) 90th birthday concert for my spiritual leader Stephen Sondheim, multiple baby announcements, and a Beyoncé-infused “Savage” remix are all certainly reasons to smile. As we enter [checks notches on bedpost] week six of quarantine, our late-night hosts have continued to churn out the jokes and stay relatively positive in spite of everything. Let’s keep the good vibes flowing and see how our late-night hosts chose to close out April.

5. Phoebe Robinson Talks About Tom Hanks on A Little Late With Lilly Singh

Watching comedian and former Vulture blogger Phoebe Robinson’s interview from Thursday night’s episode of A Little Late With Lilly Singh is like starring in your own science-fiction movie. Filmed well before the global pandemic, the interview is jarring — dare I say triggering — because Singh interviews Robinson in the same room with a live studio audience. Those who have been keeping up with A Little Late know that Singh has been rolling out these pretaped episodes, but what makes Robinson’s interview stand out is the subject matter: Tom Hanks. Completely unaware that Hanks would become the Patron Saint of Coronavirus, Robinson tells a delightful story about interviewing Hanks for her podcast Sooo Many White Guys and then getting him to record her voicemail greeting. I wanted to reach into the television, shake her, and scream, “The nice man that you speak of is about to fall ill! You too are at risk! Flee this place and find shelter!” But, alas, I could not. When Singh and Robinson fist-bumped toward the end of the interview, a chill ran down my spine. What should have been an innocent interview became a horror film before my very eyes, and I? I was powerless to stop it.

4. Josh Meyers Debuts His Governor Newsom Impersonation on Late Night With Seth Meyers

On Thursday, Seth Meyers invited his brother, actor Josh Meyers, on Late Night to debut his totally rad impersonation of California Governor Gavin Newsom. The segment is short and sweet with some totally gnarly surfer-dude jokes (“Welcome to the O.C, bitch”), but the best part is, despite how much Josh looks like Newsom and Seth, Seth and Newsom somehow look nothing alike. Josh is an eerie facial mixture of Seth and Newsom, and it’s at once fascinating and deeply unsettling. Obviously, after watching his impersonation I researched Josh Meyers like the good journalist that I am and, according to trusted news source, Josh replaced Topher Grace on the eighth and final season of That ’70s Show. Ummm … who knew Topher Grace left That ’70s Show before the final season? I feel betrayed. Also, Josh was a cast member on MADtv while Seth was on SNL, which is a sibling rivalry I can finally get behind. Watch out, Cuomos: The Meyers are coming for your bag.

3. Samantha Bee Stans the USPS on Full Frontal

All essential workers are incredibly important, hence the name, but Samantha Bee took some time on Full Frontal: Little Show Big Woods to spotlight some essential workers who not only are braving the global pandemic but fighting to save their industry: postal workers. Bee makes a compelling case for postal workers’ being both a vital part of our country and extremely hot (knee shorts + licking stuff = very horny). However, in entirely unsurprising news, the current administration has a well-documented vendetta against the post office, with Trump calling the postal service “a joke.” Well, the joke may be on him (finally), because as Bee notes, the next election may need to be conducted by mail due to the coronavirus. Bee went on a great rant about stamps, namely about an old-timey man rapping about zip codes. “This is the weirdest person I’ve ever been attracted to,” Bee says. “I want to ruin him by showing him how we have sex now. Like in the 2020 way. Does that make sense? He would snap like a piece of balsa wood. He’s not ready for it. Like what he thinks is crazy is so far from crazy now.” She’s … not wrong.

2. Shady Lady Patti LuPone Gets Interviewed by Alyssa Edwards on WWHL

It’s only fitting that this, the week of legendary musical theater composer Stephen Sondheim’s 90th birthday, Broadway icon Patti LuPone left her basement, laced up her shady boots, and spilled the tea on everything from Bernadette Peters to Cats (2019). If you thought LuPone calling Barbra Streisand “too old” to play Mama Rose was harsh on Watch What Happens Live, then you might want to take a seat. In a segment brilliantly called “The Shady Lady Who Lunches,” Patti LuPone gets interviewed by Miss Back RollsAlyssa Edwards, dressed as Joanne from Company — and the result is truly breathtaking. Has Patti LuPone seen her former nemesis Andrew Lloyd Webber’s flop movie Cats (2019)? “I will never watch it. I just saw the revival of it in London and walked out after the first act. I saw the original and hated it, and so I’m not surprised.” Well, that answers that. How did she really feel about Bernadette Peters’s Mama Rose? She never saw it, you see, because director Sam Mendes offered her the role first. “I have the letters in my scrapbook.” I’m sure you do, Patti, I’m sure you do. The only reason this isn’t No. 1 is because I will not tolerate any Bernadette Peters slander of any kind, even from Patti LuPone.

1. Cartoonist Paul Giamatti Shows Off His Work on The Late Show

Okay, since when is every famous actor also the next Picasso? Yes, Jake Gyllenhaal went on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert and baked a loaf of bread this week, but the actor who really stole the show with his hidden talent was Paul Giamatti. Following in the footsteps of Jim Carrey, one of Chance the Rapper’s favorite character actors stopped by The Late Show to show off the impressive drawings he’s made while under quarantine. Giamatti apparently didn’t intend to become IMDB’s sixth-best character actor of all time (look it up), but rather wanted to be a cartoonist or “some kind of illustrator” growing up, which totally scans. If I had to imagine what a cartoonist looked like, it would look like Paul Giamatti riding the subway. Holding his sketches up for the camera, Giamatti says, “Here’s that little guy … There’s that little guy … There’s a little tough guy there.” In a piece of meta-commentary about the plight of character actors, Giamatti admits, “All I can sort of do is weird little faces,” selling himself and his talents short. This segment has led me to believe that every character actor has a secret hidden talent. I bet William H. Macy can juggle knives. Maybe John C. Reilly can play viola with aplomb. I’m now certain that Steve Buscemi is an excellent hula dancer. The possibilities are endless.

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Aspiring Cartoonist Paul Giamatti Won Late Night This Week