The news shaped late night this week, even more than usual. It was a Big Headline Week, which made some of the humor feel a little same-y. The Oscars, the mask rules changing, the California governor race, Biden’s address: When the stories are this big, they demand a lot of time and narrow the topics discussed by hosts. James Corden probably had the funnest California-governor talk, as he tried to peer pressure Reggie Watts into running. Will it really happen, like Stephen Colbert’s presidential bid? Only time will tell. Just kidding; there’s no way.
Of all the mask talk, Trevor Noah had the best take on the CDC’s loosening rules. He noted that even though we’ll no longer be able to mask-shame, we’ll still be able to hate random strangers we encounter based on things like their skin color and apparent socioeconomic status. Nature is, say it with me now, healing.
Despite all the big stories, it was the little moments that sang out this week in late night. Running bits, good advice, and fun guests brought more joy than any Oscars postmortem could.
5. Seth Meyers Loves to Binge-watch
Seth Meyers has been doing a running gag for months now where he recaps his favorite soapy prestige drama, Tiny Secret Whispers. This show 1) does not exist and 2) sounds fun! Anyway, in the April 27 installment of his recap, Meyers discusses the streaming platform on which you can watch Tiny Secret Whispers, Butternut. Or actually, it’s spelled “Bytternyt” now, because misspelling appeals to the youth demographic. Bytternyt is obviously a play on Acorn, the streaming service for any and all British crime procedurals. Bytternyt, on the other hand, is for shows where non-American actors do their best with American accents. This bit will not die, unlike many of the characters on Tiny Secret Whispers, whose mysterious deaths mark the small town in which they once lived.
4. Kyle MacLachlan Teaches Colbert How to Be a Chill Old on TikTok
Kyle MacLachlan is having a whale of a time hocking his wine on TikTok. He’s figured out how to adapt to a young platform without acting like someone trying to recapture their youth. He explained to Stephen Colbert on April 27 that the key is to not dance. So many old heads think TikTok is all dancing, when really it’s everything from fangirling over Ben Affleck’s Dunkies Dirtbag lifestyle to MacLachlan doing wine spon in Shakespearean garb. Yeah, he rented costumes for his TikToks. Get on his level.
3. Robin Thede Prognosticates on WHHL
Do I like the future that Robin Thede predicted on the April 26 episode of Watch What Happens Live? No, but that won’t stop it from coming to pass. Thede was on Bravo to promote the second season of A Black Lady Sketch Show, the first season of which seemed to predict quarantine. Thede made more grim portents with Andy Cohen, predicting that Britney would not get out of her conservatorship, we will never get more Rihanna music, and Kanye might date Azealia Banks or Helen Mirren. Dear God.
2. The Late Late Show Loves to Clap
James Corden’s April 28 monologue was looser and longer than ever. The gang started with an odd round of jubilant clapping, briefly touched on Biden’s speech, then just spent long chunks of time on goofin’. Corden kept talking about going to “Tinseltown,” referring to Los Angeles — famously the city where he lives. He also kept interrupting Ian Karmel as he bravely tried to plug his own podcast. It was a nice time! The monologue ended with writer Louis Waymouth repeatedly throwing sets of keys at Karmel, as part of a sketch that also involved a gorgeous Lisa Frank folder. It’s hard to explain, because it was less a structured monologue than a bunch of stuff that happened in a row, but that was to the show’s benefit. More stuff, less structure.
1. James Adomian Out-MyPillows the MyPillow Guy
Jimmy Kimmel has been anticipating his sit-down with Mike Lindell, the MyPillow guy, for weeks now. The actual interview was about what you’d expect, with Kimmel alternating between sincere concern and jokes about crack, but the monologue before the interview was a thing of beauty. Master impressionist James Adomian reprised his version of the MyPillow Guy as the real article presumably watched from backstage. Adomian broke down the conspiratorial message behind his “Who Farted?” T-shirt, screamed in fear at the sight of real-live Mexican Guillermo, and scattered Wetzel’s Pretzels across the shiny stage floor. It was heartwarming to see someone do a truly mean impression of a public figure, with no chance of him coming out and doing that “haha very funny we’re all joshing here” thing that happens so often on SNL. Sometimes we’re not all friends, and sometimes actual cruelty is warranted.
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