this week in late night

Alana Haim’s Snaggletooth Close-up Won Late Night This Week

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This was just one of those weeks where nothing super-newsworthy was going on. No big events to cover; no big problems looming over society. Crickets all around. JK, there’s a war on. The coming weeks will be (1) awful from a humanitarian standpoint and (2) weird from a late-night perspective. Most of the late-night hosts we’ve got — your Bees, your Colberts, etc. — came up on Jon Stewart’s Daily Show, and that show found its voice reacting against the Iraq War. This is one of the first conflicts in which these hosts might be hawkish. The last time that happened was during the first Gulf War, during late night’s allegedly apolitical “We mock both sides equally” era. A hot-take-free zone. Even this week, hosts tried to thread the needle of being critical of Putin without sounding like late-era Bob Hope. Most settled for Boris Badenov Russian accents, though Colbert did imply Putin wanted to fuck his horse. It’s an upgrade from the Trump-Putin gay jokes we got during that administration. But there will be more time to see how late night handles war with a capital W (instead of the lowercase wars we’ve been in this whole time). For now, here were a few moments of joy in late night this week.

5. Jimmy Kimmel’s salute to Tuesday

2/22/22 happened this week, and on a Tuesday, no less. Everyone had fun saying “two” — the funniest-sounding numeral (except perhaps seven) — in as many configurations as possible. Kimmel went dumbest with dancing twos singing their hearts out on the shiny floors of the Kimmel stu. Leave it to a show in Hollywood to do the most classic, glitzy musical tribute of the week.

4. James Corden stacks eggs

James Corden, on the other hand, really leaned into tediously long bits this week. He nearly broke poor Dave Grohl with a bit Wednesday night and definitively broke several eggs trying to best perhaps the stupidest world record ever: egg stacking. (Can even two eggs be stacked? I don’t buy it.) But Corden, bandleader Reggie Watts, and co-head-writer Ian Karmel gave it their darndest for far too long. Far, far too long.

3. Billie Eilish encourages Seth Meyers to explore his bi feelings

Billie Eilish is almost always an enchanting late-night guest because she is a stone-cold freak. Last year, Eilish won late night by cutting a fan’s hair on Jimmy Kimmel Live and pocketing some of it. This week, she was just cute and Gen Z as hell on Late Night With Seth Meyers, encouraging Meyers to explore the feelings of desire he might have for Daniel Craig. Meyers kept trying to play it off as a joke, saying his wife would be confused if Craig were his hall pass. But Eilish is of a generation much more aware that sexual fluidity exists even in guys from New England. Don’t make a joke of your desire, Seth Meyers. Explore it.

2. Eric Neumann’s stand-up on The Tonight Show

There was a lot of stand-up on late night this week with Sam Morril on Corden and British silly boy (and sometime Big Fat Quiz panelist) Russell Howard on Colbert. But the set of the week appeared on The Tonight Show. Although a Tonight Show gig is no longer the be-all and end-all of comedy it was in the ’70s and ’80s, it’s still a get. Eric Neumann had a great set introducing him to a national audience, a calling card that can go in “coming soon” reels in comedy clubs across the nation.

1. Alana Haim is ready for her close-up

Alana Haim isn’t fixing her teeth, Hollywood, so stop asking. It worked for Kirsten Dunst, so why not for her? Haim used the late-night format to great effect by demanding a camera zoom on her snaggletooth, making the viewing public come to grips with — shock of all shocks — normal fuckin’ teeth. The stranglehold cosmetic dentistry has on this country is bizarre. Once you start noticing the veneers on TV, you can’t shut it off. It’s like They Live. Hats off to Haim for bringing perfectly functional, if quirky, dentition to 30 Rock.

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Alana Haim’s Snaggletooth Close-up Won Late Night This Week