this week in late night

Paul Rudd’s Sensual Massage Won Late Night This Week

Paul Rudd with Stephen Colbert on The Late Show. Photo: The Late Show with Stephen Colbert/YouTube

It’s been a long and arduous process, but we’re finally here. It’s done. Is the final product a shadow of what it could have been? Maybe. It would be almost impossible to live up to the initial promises made in 2020. But the recalcitrant members of the party have finally come onboard. Ghostbusters: Afterlife is in theaters. Oh, also, the infrastructure bill got signed.

It’s honestly crazy that there wasn’t more Build Back Better content on late night this week — nary a victory lap from Democrats, which is an indictment of either the post–Daily Show late-night world or Dem PR folks. Not sure which. What gives? Normally, I’m not one to say things should be more political, but if there was ever a time, it would’ve been this week. In the meantime, things got desperately silly. Here’s what popped off this week.

5. Amber Ruffin Roasts Billionaires

Amber Ruffin crushed it with the disparaging remarks this week. It’s important to be mean to billionaires, even regarding these rich dicks’ faces and vibes and lack of hair. Nothing beats looks-based insults. We’ve tried to move beyond them as a society, but it’s just not happening. In theory, we should hate it when people are mocked for their appearance. That’s not something they can control (unless they have mad Botox money), so it should be beyond the pale. And yet. Here’s my thing: What if you only make fun of the appearance of people who suck on the inside? That way, every fucked-up thing you say about someone’s haircut is also a tacit condemnation of their character. It just might work.

4. Jeff Goldblum Holds On for Dear Life With Desus & Mero

The Kid Mero explained “punching up” to Jeff Goldblum, and that’s worth the bandwidth right there. Goldblum’s seg on Desus & Mero was, in many ways, more an extension of his Disney+ show. Goldblum was curious, he was “yes and”-ing, and he was ready to get into it. When he found out that the set had weird sex Easter eggs in it, he ran with it. Can we expect nothing less from a Vulture Fest vibes-bringer?

3. Bill Murray Pimps Out Dan Aykroyd

In the improv world, “pimping out” refers to when one performer puts another on the spot to do something. Bill Murray obliged Dan Aykroyd to do some Blues Brothers–style dancing, which Aykroyd did fulfill. However, he was out of breath for the rest of the segment. That was funny, in its own way. Seth Meyers handled the older generation of Ghostbusters with aplomb, adding to their bits and generally keeping the vibe irreverent and cool. But I will forever cherish Murray making his dear friend of many decades dance until he’s losing breath. That’s some old-school pain infliction right there.

2. Late Late Show Slam Poetry

I really, really wanted to be someone who gets more out of this trenchantly observed sketch by Nate Fernald, in which he said that all comedians have a mental illness and the pandemic should have cured all of us of our need for attention. But Ian Karmel did a dumb slam poem about Trump. And James Corden made the entire audience do poetry snaps to welcome John Lithgow and Jack Whitehall. And Jack Whitehall said he only sees color. And then his face became a rictus of fear when he realized he’d said something hugely non-family-friendly during his Clifford press push. Going deep about real shit is pretty good, but being a jazzy, snapping dumbass is even better.

1. Paul Rudd Gives Stephen Colbert a Rubdown

Hey, why can’t Paul Rudd give all of us a massage? Or at least everyone who has seen all of Mac & Me. He owes us! Rudd went on The Late Show to do a second tour of Sexiest Man Alive duty. Somehow that turned into him giving Stephen Colbert a massage, furthering accentuating his sensual brand. And who are we to object? What’s more, he kept on the central messaging for Ghostbusters: Afterlife while doing it! That’s a professional. That’s a sexy fella. That’s good TV.

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Paul Rudd’s Sensual Massage Won Late Night This Week