this week in late night

Minari’s Alan Kim and His Purple Belt Won Late Night This Week

Alan Kim putting his purple belt to work. Photo: Randy Holmes/ABC

Happy season finale of WandaVision to those who observe. For those who have managed to steer clear of the discourse, WandaVision is an immensely popular Disney+ sitcom that everybody can’t seem to shut up about and not, as I had once hoped, a remake of the 1988 heist comedy film A Fish Called Wanda from the fish’s perspective. In any case, WandaVision has dominated our Twitter feeds as well as late night this week with its stars Paul Bettany, Randall Park, Teyonah Parris, Kathryn Hahn, and Elizabeth Olsen popping up all over the place to bid the show adieu, with Olsen even participating in a time-traveling late-night sketch on The Tonight Show. Let’s pour one out for the Ms. Wanda and Mr. Vision and count down the top moments on late night this week.

5. Randall Park Forgets He Was on The Office on Conan

Word of advice: Don’t go running up to people you don’t know and calling them “Asian Jim,” even if you are a big fan of their work. WandaVision actor Randall Park shared that seemingly obvious yet salient piece of advice on Conan on Thursday. The Fresh Off the Boat star talked with O’Brien about his love-hate relationship with social media, having taken himself off all platforms early on in quarantine only to find that he’s become immensely popular online: “People are, like, honoring all the work I’ve done over the years and showing a lot of love, and now I’m like, ‘Social media’s amazing.’” Welcome back to the dark side, Park. In the recent onslaught of love and affection he’s received online, Park has been confronted with a role he fully forgot he played: “Asian Jim” on the last season of The Office. And who can blame him? As Park shadily but accurately noted, the show’s popularity was “waning” when he played the bit part, so it’s no shocker it’s faded from his memory. However, people have been coming up to him on the street and shouting “Asian Jim” at him, and unsurprisingly, he doesn’t appreciate it. “Is this some racist thing I don’t know about it?” a confused Park said to a bemused O’Brien. So all you Parkheads out there, maybe pick a different role from his filmography to shout at him next time you see him on the street.

4. Eddie Murphy and Arsenio Hall Talk White Affirmative Action on Jimmy Kimmel Live

The WandaVision season finale isn’t the only major release that’s Coming 2 America this weekend (see what I did there?). Yes, the highly anticipated sequel to the iconic comedy film Coming to America is hitting streaming platforms, and stars Eddie Murphy and Arsenio Hall dropped by Jimmy Kimmel Live to promote the film and spill some fun tea about the original movie. The hilarious friends waxed poetic on their decades-long friendship (Arsenio is godfather to Eddie Murphy’s daughter!) and certain constraints that the studio put on them in order to make Coming to America happen. Namely, that they had to hire a white person. “I love Louie, but I think we were forced to put Louie in it,” Hall says, referencing comedian Louie Anderson, who memorably worked at fast-food restaurant McDowell’s (I’m laughing just typing that) alongside Murphy’s Prince Akeem. “The whole cast was Black, and this was back in the ’80s, so [Paramount] was like, ‘We have to have a white person. We can’t do … There has to be a white person in the movie,” Murphy recalled. Hall and Murphy put their heads together to find “the funniest white guy around” and landed on a then mostly unknown Anderson. Absolutely archaic and racist studio notes aside, clearly Hall and Murphy had good taste. White affirmative action for the win!

3. Jimmy Fallon and Elizabeth Olsen Take a Trip Back in Time on The Tonight Show

I have not seen a single episode of WandaVision for multiple reasons. (1) I thought we all agreed that the Marvel Cinematic Universe was capitalist military propaganda. (2) The discourse has been, in a word, utterly exhausting. (3) My sublet doesn’t have Disney+ and I’m not paying for that shit. Still, I thoroughly enjoyed The Tonight Show’s “FallonVision” sketch starring Jimmy Fallon and Elizabeth Olsen that aired on Wednesday. With absolutely no context (okay, some context) re: WandaVision, the “FallonVision” sketch was a fun trip down memory lane to different eras of late-night television, showing off the talents of both Fallon and Olsen. My favorite era is the ’50s Ed Sullivan Show era, mostly because “The Boxcar Gals and the Fellas from Tulum” sounds like an absolute romp of a movie. Also, who doesn’t love a Kathryn Hahn cameo, Zooming in from the same spot in her incredibly normal-looking bedroom, serving us a send-up of her own meme? Even though I don’t know what “Agatha All Along” means (don’t @ me), I appreciate whatever that crazy witch did to send us back in time. More pastiche please!

2. Ben Schwartz Grills James Corden on His Tenth Late Late Show Appearance

If you’ve hung out with someone ten times, you’d think they would remember one conversation you ever had. Well, comedian and improviser Ben Schwartz’s tenth appearance on The Late Late Show proved that sometimes that simply isn’t the case. Decked out in a tuxedo to celebrate the special occasion, Schwartz had one question for James Corden: Name one thing that he has ever said or done on the show. Unfortunately for Schwartz, Corden couldn’t come up with anything specific that Schwartz has ever said or done on the show except for a vague story about a pair of shoes. “That was Denzel Washington, man,” a defeated Schwartz said before walking off set, screaming off-Zoom about all the time he’s wasted appearing on the show. The whole bit felt in part like a master-class Harold scene and a Real Housewives reunion, which are two of my favorite things (R.I.P. UCB). Corden got his chance to performatively walk off set when Schwartz wrongly said that his favorite color is purple. The bit was hilarious and undeniable proof that nobody is ever listening when anyone else talks; we’re all just patiently waiting for our next time to speak.

1. Alan Kim Shows Off His Tae Kwon Do Skills on Jimmy Kimmel Live

And the award for Best Appearance on a Late Night program goes to … *opens envelope, feigns surprise* Alan Kim from Minari on Jimmy Kimmel Live! In a week dominated by WandaVision, leave it to 8-year-old Kim to steal the top spot from the clutches of Kathryn Hahn with his truly adorable and hilarious late-night appearance. Rocking his newly received purple belt, Kim answered questions about everything from Tae Kwon Do to filming Minari. Can Kim beat up every other blue belt now that he’s “upgraded” to a purple belt? “No,” Kim giggled as he took a moment to consider the question. Can he beat Kimmel up in a fight if they were to have a battle? “I guess so.” Has he ever peed in a bowl then given it to someone to drink, like his character does in Minari? “No, absolutely no. That’s too … That’s too dangerous,” Kim said in a panic. We already knew Kim was the coolest kid in school when Vulture interviewed him about his quarantine routine and he said, “Choose a random outfit,” but it was truly heartwarming to see him having a blast with Kimmel. The interview ended with Kimmel and Kim play fighting, with Kim definitively beating Kimmel with a blow to the stomach, proving that his answer of “I guess so” was right all along. Agatha all along? More like Alan all along.

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Alan Kim and his Purple Belt Won Late Night This Week