this week in late night

Ben Warheit’s Dramatic McRib Monologue Won Late Night This Week

Ben Warheit on Late Night With Seth Meyers. Photo: Late Night with Seth Myers/YouTube

Late night this week was all about two things: the State of the Union and Ukraine. It was a big news week, which doesn’t always equal big laughs. Late night often straddles the line between being informative and, you know, funny. But laughs were still had. I tittered when Stephen Colbert, during his usual post–big event live show, asked Senator Bernie Sanders whether he hates American or Russian oligarchs more.

Oh wait, late night was also about The Batman this week. Paul Dano went on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon and talked about kissing Kate McKinnon when she had a mouthful of ham at the Independent Spirit Awards. Zoë Kravitz also went on Fallon and had the usual difficulty of any superhero-movie actor in trying to explain the film without spoiling it. Something else that has worked its way into the movie-promoting patter is the plea to see films in theaters. You can tell the PR people have drilled it into their heads to talk about the moviegoing experience.

Here’s everything else that was fun on late night this week. Watch these clips on the biggest screen possible. It’s such a magical experience.

5. Inside the Mind of Charli XCX

Let’s hear it for the pop girlie. Mitski played Jimmy Kimmel Live! this week; Dua Lipa went on The Tonight Show to address claims that she can’t fuckin’ dance; and Charli XCX was a guest on WWHL. It’s always nice when the show has non-Bravo-lebrities on, because the conversation can get a bit broader. You don’t have to know what a “Dorit” is to have fun. Andy Cohen asked Charli about her go-to music choices. She currently has “I Gotta Feeling” by the Black Eyed Peas stuck in her head. And when she works out, what does she blast? “Vroom Vroom” by Charli XCX, of course.

4. Trevor Noah Criticizes the Media’s Portrayal of Ukraine

Jon Stewart’s tenure on The Daily Show was big on media criticism. It was especially pointed in showing how conservative news outlets sold the Iraq War and other agenda points of the Bush administration. Trevor Noah did something similar this week with the conflict in Ukraine, which is ballsy. The world is united in condemning Russia’s aggression, so it seems possible that even a little criticism will be taken poorly. But The Daily Show’s editors did a bang-up job crafting a super-cut of newscasters saying wild shit about how weird it is for them to see white refugees. While still praising Ukrainian citizens, Noah was able to point out that such admiration and compassion have not been extended to refugees from Syria or Africa — nor for the African people fleeing Ukraine currently.

3. James Corden Crushes the Competition

This was a fine week for fake sponcon. John Oliver plugged the Sinaloa Cartel (no pun intended) on Late Night With Seth Meyers, and James Corden saw his beloved (by himself) segment “Celebrity Noses” hijacked by Caterpillar Inc. The voice of the producer over the intercom was the perfect deadpan counterpoint to Corden’s increasing frustration. The best part is when a Caterpillar brand hard hat floats down from the ceiling and awkwardly lands atop his head. Way to use the space! If you like dumb bits, this is the sketch for you.

2. Roy Wood Jr.’s State of the Union Address

Didja hear? The State of the Union address happened this week. The Daily Show’s Roy Wood Jr. gave a companion “State of Black Shit” address, during which he celebrated triumphs (Juneteenth as a national holiday, Rihanna’s pregnancy) and setbacks (CRT freak-outs, voting-rights erasures). Coming to you directly from Dr. Dre’s Super Bowl Halftime Show set, Wood actually made me feel hopeful about the future, a feat that is increasingly difficult.

1. Late Night Calls Out the McRib

Late Night With Seth Meyers writer Ben Warheit managed to find a new take on the McRib: a dramatic monologue from the perspective of its son. What does it do to a young sandwich to have its dad coming in and out of its life willy-nilly? Drama students should start using this monologue for auditions. Meyers was a great presence in this sketch as well, giving little asides throughout and generally behaving like a supportive yet bored teacher. Exactly the kind of father figure McRib Jr. needs in its life.

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Ben Warheit’s McRib Monologue Won Late Night This Week