this week in late night

Broadway Is Back and Winning Late Night This Week

Lin-Manuel Miranda and Jimmy Fallon welcoming back Broadway. Photo: YouTube

New York and L.A. are so close to being “fully open,” whatever that means, and the late-night girlies are LOSING IT! James Corden pulled a chunk off his own set, half of Seth Meyers’s desk pieces now devolve into Wedding Crashers fanfic, and Stephen Colbert is brandishing his comfy slippers on-camera. Colbert is chomping at the bit to get back in front of a live audience, counting down the sleeps before he can bask in applause in almost every segment of his show. Samantha Bee will soon be live as well, and she roped Steve Buscemi into helping her prep for the experience. And Conan O’Brien is bringing live humans to Largo for the last weeks of his TBS show.

Beyond the hosts’ general stir-craziness, the main theme of the week was cicadas. The return of Brood X has the Biblical-apocalypse vibes we’ve come to expect from news ever since 2016. The Late Show sent a segment producer’s mother to research the little guys, and Seth Meyers came up with a musical during this week’s “A Closer Look” segments that would star Jason Sudeikis as Jason Cicadas. What a time to be alive.

5. The Daily Show Suggests a New Vaccination Rate for Biden

Vaccination rates in the country are falling, something that every topical late-night show covered in one way or another. But only The Daily Show had the balls to suggest Joe Biden lower his vaccination-rate goal for the 4th of July. If the country reaches 70 percent vaxxed by July 4, we all get free beer. If we don’t, then NO ONE gets free beer, which would be a shame. What TDS suggested was to lower that goal by one percent. It’s the nice thing to do. 69 jokes are almost done, but hearing so many in a row was the only way to lessen the blow that the country may not reach herd immunity or free-beer status.

4. Ziwe Reminds Us We’re All Immigrants

When the lower third said Pat Regan’s character was named Conor O’Conor, I lol’d. On her Showtime series, Ziwe reminded us all that no group of people is truly indigenous to America, except the tribes indigenous to America. Three dumdums claimed immigrant status because they are descended from pilgrims, townies, and Hilaria Baldwin. Everyone performed their part like they were on the verge of tears all day every day, and that makes me proud to be an American.

3. Aidy Bryant Recalls Touching a Snake

Aidy Bryant did her Jimmy Kimmel Live! interview from her hometown of Phoenix, Arizona, and it brought back memories. Not only did Bryant bring a giant piece of art with her baby face to the Zoom, she took Jimmy down some weird cul-de-sacs off memory lane. Like the time she got into a fender bender with a purple PT Cruiser. Or when her family friends, who owned a mom-and-pop strip club, let her pet the strip club’s snake. She called the moment her first taste of showbiz, and I can see why you’d want to keep up a lifestyle that lets you pet all the strip-club snakes you want.

2. Amber Ruffin Invents a New Gymnastics Move

“Amber Says What” is always a banger, but Ruffin really innovated in the space this week by (1) touching on the bee drama and (2) inventing a new gymnastics move. The TikTok bee beef is one of those things that’s so delicious to unpack to anyone not yet informed, and Ruffin served as a surrogate audience for the audience by saying “What?!” at the appropriate moments. But when she showed off “The Ruffin” — a gymnastics move where you calmly cross the stage and sip a margarita — the segment became a standout. 10/10 gold-medal work.

1. Broadway Is Back on The Tonight Show

Yeah, the end of this song made me cry — you wanna fight about it? Well, not so much the song itself as much as the dozens of extras and Broadway luminaries all gathered together on one stage. Of course Lin-Manuel Miranda was involved in the schmaltzy song about renewed faith in the theater. It would be unconscionable for anyone else to be in that role. In the Heights is not gonna promote itself, damnit! But one thing is clear: New York? She’s back. I live in Los Angeles, which isn’t quite back yet, and seeing all these showbiz people breathing the same air, unmasked, gave me hope that all sorts of places can be back soon.

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Broadway Is Back and Winning Late Night This Week