this week in late night

Seth Meyers Taking ‘A Closer Look’ at the Capitol Riot Won Late Night This Week

Seth Meyers, educating his viewers on the mob riot of Wilmington in 1898. Photo: YouTube

Happy … New Year? Besides the fact that it’s weird to say that more than a week after New Year’s Day, so far 2021 definitely feels a whole lot like the year before. It’s kind of like 2020 got bangs: Sure, there’s a little bit of a difference, but is it any better? Hard to say at this point. In just eight days, there have been high highs (Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff win their Senate races in Georgia!) and shockingly low lows (a deadly riot at the Capitol building). On top of all this, the pandemic (remember her?) is surging across the nation, leading Jimmy Kimmel and James Corden to go back to filming their respective late-night shows remotely. What a year the last week has been, am I right? Anyway, here are the top late-night moments from the first, truly chaotic week of twenty-twenty-won.

5. Rachel Brosnahan Drags Clint Eastwood’s American Sniper Baby on The Late Show

But before we wade into the absolutely shocking state of American politics right now, let’s take some shots at former RNC speech–giver Clint Eastwood, why don’t we? The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel herself dropped by The Late Show With Stephen Colbert to plug her upcoming film I’m Your Woman, where she apparently does a lot of acting with a real live baby. While describing her stellar scene partners, infant twins Justin and Jameson Charles, Brosnahan made a dig at an acclaimed film with a much less convincing baby: American Sniper. “Obviously when we do the more action-packed scenes and the more dangerous stuff, we have a fake baby,” Brosnahan admitted. “This is not your Clint Eastwood fake baby.” Not your what now? American Sniper shots fired. When Colbert pressed Brosnahan about what she meant, she did a pretty good job pretending like she didn’t know exactly what she was referring to before laying into Eastwood again. “It’s uh … the worst fake baby in existence.” And reader, she’s right. Love to see a good actress with a good take criticizing a piece of right-wing cinema, even if it is just about props. Welcome to the Resistance, Mrs. Maisel!

4. Andy Cohen Teaches Southern Charm Stars What Pegging Is

Andy Cohen clearly is still on one after calling out Bill de Blasio for being a terrible mayor while hosting CNN’s New Year’s Eve Live with his BFF Anderson Cooper, and he demonstrated that on Thursday’s episode of Watch What Happens Live with guests Madison LeCroy and John Pringle from Southern Charm. In a game called “1, 2, 3, Agree or Disagree,” Cohen asked various raunchy yes-or-no questions as LeCroy and Pringle, which were rather innocuous at first (“Is it okay to masturbate while your significant other is sleeping?” Obviously yes!), but ended with a (literal) bang. Cohen’s final prompt for the guests to answer? “I would be completely comfortable with pegging.” This elicited blank stares from LeCroy, age 30, and Pringle, age 45, who clearly had no idea what pegging was, leaving Cohen in the delicate situation of having to explain a sex act to two grown adults. “It’s …how do I say … when a girl puts a strap on in a guy,” Cohen responded. LeCroy and Pringle both said no (lame) and left a visibly bewildered Andy with his head in his hands. Props to Cohen for educating the masses and doing the Lord’s work.

3. Fran Leibowitz Thinks Dolly Parton Should Be Mayor of NYC

Simply put, there are few people more iconic in the world today than Miss Fran Lebowitz. The author and NYC staple dropped by Late Night With Seth Meyers on Thursday to discuss her latest artistic venture, Pretend It’s A City, the new Martin Scorcese documentary that follows Lebowitz as she discusses her beloved New York. The ever-opinionated Lebowitz had a lot of thoughts about the current state of the city, from her chagrin at having to cook more due to the pandemic (“Why am I peeling this cucumber? Who am I, Daniel Boulud?”) to how the documentary got its name: because in the before times, Lebowitz would often yell at gawking clots of tourists taking up the sidewalk, “Move! Pretend it’s a city.” But her most salient, cutting, and hilarious thoughts had to do with the city’s much maligned mayor, Bill de Blasio. Like literally every other New Yorker, Lebowitz is not a fan of Big de Blas, and sje used Late Night to endorse a more suitable candidate: Dolly Parton. “He is universally hated. He is like the opposite of Dolly Parton,” Lebwitz quipped. “Like, everyone loves Dolly Parton, and everyone hates Bill de Blasio. There is no doubt in any New Yorker’s mind that Dolly Parton would be a much better Mayor than Bill de Blasio.” The Queen of New York has spoken.

2. Stephen Colbert Goes Live After the Capitol Riot on The Late Show

Well, we’ve reached the point on this list where we can no longer ignore the fact that on Wednesday, January 6, a riotous mob of Trump supporters lay siege to the U.S. Capitol, resulting in the deaths of five people including a Capitol police officer. It was shocking. It was scary. But, it wasn’t surprising. And, as per usual, Stephen Colbert did a wonderful job conveying this sentiment during his opening monologue on The Late Show following the riot. In what is becoming his signature move, Colbert eschewed his planned episode centering on the historic Democratic Senate wins in Georgia’s run-off election (remember, that also happened on Wednesday) and hosted a live episode to unpack the events of the day. While other late-night hosts briefly addressed the Capitol riot and didn’t even say Trump’s name, Colbert boldly, emotionally, and rightfully called out not only Trump but all of the Republicans who are complicit and ultimately contributed to the attack on the U.S. Capitol. “Have you had enough?” Colbert asked the Republicans that continue to support Trump, specifically the Republicans that were currently in the joint session of Congress. After calling out Senator Josh Hawley for showing solidarity with and inciting the angry mob, Colbert made incredibly plain exactly what’s at stake for America if the events of this week go unchecked: “It’s a horrifying day that will go down in U.S. history, however much longer that is.”

1. Seth Meyers Takes “A Closer Look” at the Insurrection at the U.S. Capitol

Late Night With Seth Meyers also had a special live episode on Wednesday following the riot, and while Meyers was forceful and explicit in his rebuke of the riot and the need for Trump to be immediately removed from office, his “A Closer Look” segment the following evening was the stand-out segment in response to the news. Meyers devoted 16 and a half unadulterated minutes to the riot — almost the length of a traditional 30-minute episode of television (without commercials) — and used every second of that time to make unquestionably clear the severity of the insurrection’s assault on democracy, the riot and the rioters’ undeniable white supremacy, and why Trump and the politicians that incited and encouraged the attempted coup and continue to challenge the legitimacy of the election must be removed from office. “Trump should be removed from office immediately,” Meyers said. “Hawley, Cruz, and the rest of the sedition caucus should be expelled from Congress, shamed, and disgraced. They should be remembered in history forever as seditionists who attempted a coup.”

Meyers managed to do all this while also somehow managing to make funny jokes, from calling a Ted Cruz an “alcoholic werewolf who got stuck between transitions” to implying that Sarah Palin writes her speeches “via magnetic poetry on her fridge.” For what it’s worth, I think his joke that the chapters between the Civil War and the Great Depression in most history text books is called “Yada Yada Yada” is honestly too nice, because I feel that most history books purposefully leave out the Reconstruction period altogether. And for what it’s also worth, I agree with Meyers that Eddie Murphy deserved at least an Oscar nomination for his groundbreaking comedic work in The Nutty Professor. Leave it to Late Night to make it clear that you never have to shovel a white supremacist or a Nazi’s driveway, even if they happen to be your neighbor, while bringing back the “[X] year called, it wants it [Y] back” format. By the way, 2020 called it and it wants its president back. And in just 13 days, it can have him.

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Seth Meyers’s ‘Closer Look’ Segment Won Late Night This Week