It was a momentous week in late night. Full Frontal With Samantha Bee aired its 200th episode, and The Late Late Show With James Corden aired its 1,000th. Full Frontal is one of the few shows that has yet to get an audience back, and it made the 200th celebrations somewhat subdued. That, and Bee’s stuck reporting on how our abortion rights are being eroded, a topic oft covered in these 200 episodes. Corden’s 1,000th was full of pomp. The monologue was essentially a clip show; there was a truly stupid sketch that turned Corden, Ian Karmel, and Reggie Watts into the Three Stooges; and Mariah came through. (The festivities were colored, however, by Ansel Elgort’s guest spot the night before. Felt weird!) It was a big week for all the late-night Jameses: Jimmy Fallon released a Christmas single with Ariana Grande and Megan Thee Stallion, as well as getting Joe Biden’s first presidential late-night appearance. And Jimmy Kimmel got hyped for his inaugural football game, the L.A. Bowl, on December 18. Here’s who scored big on this important week of late-night TV.
5. Punchy Is an Icon
Speaking of the L.A. Bowl, Jimmy Kimmel designed a mascot for his big big game: Jimmy Camel. He barfs green, which is fun and dynamic, but some gold was left on the floor during the brainstorming phase. I would kill/die for Punchy, the anthropomorphic fist with two more fists coming out of it. It does seem like more of a hockey mascot, however.
4. Sam Bee and Busy Philipps Try to Escape America’s Abortion Laws
Golly, do I miss Busy Philipps in the late-night sphere. Busy Tonight was an unheralded gem of the genre, and I won’t be gainsaid on that point. Philipps and Samantha Bee did a themed escape room about America’s fucked-up attitude toward abortion access, basically because Full Frontal has covered that topic from every other possible angle. It would be nice if Bee could move to literally any other topic, but I am curious to see how they’ll return to the subject again, and again, and again in the years to come. It’s like if The Worst Idea of All Time never got to move off Sex in the City 2.
3. James Corden and Nicole Byer Manifest a Movie
The vibes between James Corden and Nicole Byer were immaculate. The rapport, the rhythm — very funny. Corden argued that Byer should be in blockbusters. Byer countered that, as a featured performer in many big-budget movies, Corden should just bring Byer along for the next one. The two bounced off each other in a glossolalia of gassing each other up. If The Late Late Show ever needs a guest host in the future, it should consider Byer. She belongs on that stage.
2. Tig Notaro Crowdsources a Celebrity ID
America’s sweetheart Tig Notaro is a big fan of taking creepshots at the airport, apparently. While on a flight recently, Notaro was seated next to a woman that people kept approaching and complimenting. They were saying things like, “Even with the mask on, I knew it was you.” But Notaro didn’t know it was her. She didn’t even know who it was. So she brought a clandestine candid of the woman onto The Tonight Show to get to the bottom of the mystery. And she did! The famous yet unrecognizable woman turned out to be Rebecca Wisocky, most recently seen in Ghosts — the CBS comedy based on the BBC show of the same name. Notaro returned to The Tonight Show, in full airport drag, to announce that the puzzle had been solved. (British Ghosts is on HBO Max, by the way, and it’s so good.)
1. Mariah Carey Throws a Shoe
Not since Muntadhar al-Zaidi has a hero thrown a shoe with such purpose. Mariah Carey threw her Dolce & Gabbana stiletto at James Corden, pleasing everyone who thinks I favor this show too much, I’m sure. We are double-dipping into Corden this week, but with a 1,000th episode and Mariah Thee Carey as a guest, can we be blamed? It was pure chaos from her entrance. She complained that she didn’t have a monitor to check her angles. She said “I don’t acknowledge time” twice. And we learned that on tape day for her “Carpool Karaoke,” she refused to sing. Incredible, innovative, iconic, mixing silver jewelry with a gold dress. Throw both shoes, girl. You’ve earned it.
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