this week in late night

John Early’s Sexual Tension With Everyone Won Late Night This Week

Hot. Photo: Lloyd Bishop/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

This week, the Biden administration lost its chance to do away with the filibuster, which essentially left Build Back Better and important voting-rights protections dead in the water. Democracy may be dead (TBD), but political comedy is still chugging along. Full Frontal and The Daily Show returned this week, though their lack of audience puts them at a distinct disadvantage. The clever wordplay of Samantha Bee is getting lost in her unmodulated tempo. Without breaks for laughs, the jokes — which are good; a run about White House Down really got me this week — don’t hit the same. Even crew and writer laughs would be a welcome source of conviviality.

Also back this week were Seth Meyers and James Corden, who took different routes for their COVID-19 isolations. Meyers did a week of bunker shows, while Corden just went dark for a week. I wonder if hosts are starting to line up alternates, should this happen again. If this is the new normal, do we have to start finding hosts who can fill in at the drop of a hat? Let Late Late Show writer Louis Waymouth host the whole show or West Coast senior VP of late-night programming Nick Bernstein. Meyers has already spun Amber Ruffin off as a host of her own show, so why not let another writer behind the desk if he gets sick again? Could be fun! Here is who showed up and delivered on late night this week.

5. Stephen Colbert asks a senator to abolish the Senate.

Stephen Colbert’s audience has gotten hoot ’n holler–y again. The applause breaks when he says his own name at the top of every show are back, and the audience booed the concept of billionaires Wednesday. Beyond giving his show some pep, it seems the unconditional positive regard has emboldened Colbert to ask some tough questions. Namely, asking a standing senator whether the Senate is a good idea. Spoiler alert: Colbert doesn’t think so. This was a ballsy move, and he doubled down when Elizabeth Warren tried to shift focus to the filibuster. Thanks for moving the Overton window, Stephen!

4. Eric André discusses his fat era on Kimmel.

As the most chaotic host of a (semi-fake) late-night show ever, Eric André presents a unique challenge for real late-night hosts. He’s going to get weird — the only question is when. For this January 19 spot, the answer was “immediately.” Andre started his couch time by saying “shit” as many times as possible, then showed off his pandemic belly to the audience. Andre gained weight for the last season of his show. Then the pandemic hit, and he was asked to play a preacher on The Righteous Gemstones, so the gut has remained. Come to this clip for the Eric André belly, stay for Andre and Kimmel trying to find a TV-appropriate way to describe a Sybian.

3. Josh Gad retire bitch.

That Gad is a good sport. A Gad sport, even. Josh Gad allowed himself to be the butt of a sketch on The Late Late Show, the core premise of which was “Josh Gad comes on this show too much.” James Corden announced Gad’s retirement from the show and hung his blazer in the rafters of CBS Television City. Hats off to Gad, who never broke, even when being eulogized and sung “Amazing Grace” at.

2. Jimmy Fallon doesn’t break.

You’ve come a long way, baby. Jimmy Fallon used to be the poster boy for corpsing in his Saturday Night Live days, but apparently years of The Tonight Show have really done something because he stays cool as a cucumber during this sketch with Will Forte — even when Steve Higgins absolutely destroys the sketch by entering with his face mask still on. It was a delight to see Forte doing sketch comedy again, bringing his uniquely weird intensity to a premise that does not need it. SNL is going to be fun this week.

1. Horny content with Seth Meyers.

When John Early plays straight, it’s electric. See also Dr. Carpet in season five of Search Party. Early spread his heterosexuality across two segments of Late Night With Seth Meyers and also manspread across the guest chair. He and Aidy Bryant had a twisted love not seen since Machine Gun Kelly and Megan Fox, and the regret in Meyers’s voice when he says he missed the sexual tension he usually shares with Early was … there’s no other word for it but sumptuous. A sumptuous regret. A thrilling lie. This is theatre with the R-E spelling, people, so you know it’s fancy.

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John Early’s Sexual Tension Won Late Night This Week