this week in late night

The Rereturn of Desus and Mero Won Late Night This Week

Desus and Mero are back — again! Photo: DESUS & MERO on SHOWTIME/YouTube

Half of late night took the pre-Oscars Week off. Oscars voting is done, so pack it in, bookers! Late Night, The Late Show, and The Daily Show had a hiatus — while everyone else got a little silly with it. James Corden gifted birthday boy (or, since he was turning 50, birthday man) Reggie Watts with a race-car bed. Jimmy Kimmel sent Uncle Sal to the L.A. Marathon. And Jimmy Fallon mourned the retirement of Maury Povich with a sketch that found Higgins and Tariq at odds in a very Maury-esque fashion. It was not a news-commentary-heavy week, and most the bits that hit reflected that. Let’s take a look.

5. Chris Laker Enters Trophy Discourse

Jeff Foxworthy’s deeply hack comments about participation trophies from his new Netflix special have been making the rounds on altered-screenshot Twitter, which made Chris Laker’s Late Late Show set more timely than ever. Laker discussed the need to find a generational villain and that we should start directing ire toward today’s babies rather than get hyphy when they’re grown in about 20 years. Laker showed how the old clichés about “young people today” or even “okay boomer” material can be given new life with a genuinely new angle of attack.

4. Wanda Sykes Promises to Be Drunk at the Oscars

Former Oscars host Jimmy Kimmel gave some advice to fledging Oscars co-host Wanda Sykes on Jimmy Kimmel Live: Ask for more money. And if they don’t give it to you? Phone it in. Sykes guaranteed that after the first commercial break of the (televised) Oscars presentation Sunday night, she’s gonna have a few. Kimmel took advantage of his ABC Elder status and disclosed his Oscars-hosting salary: about $15,000. Kimmel acknowledged that, in the broadest sense, that is a lot of money. But does he pay for writers with that? What about rehearsals? As Kimmel said, it’s months of work. I’d love to know the exact hourly rate Kimmel got by the end of his Oscars-hosting duty, but that’s a question for another column.

3. Jenny Hagel Says Gay

Just like parent show Late Night With Seth Meyers, The Amber Ruffin Show makes room for its writers to speak to specific newsworthy concerns. Jenny Hagel got to speak to the specific harms Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill will inflict, as well as dunking on her past self’s poor job of staying in the closet. NBCUniversal is as embedded in Orlando, Florida, as Disney, so it’s gratifying that Hagel got to speak her piece on the legislation on Peacock.

2. Ethan Hawke Commits to the Bit

Ethan Hawke joined Jimmy Fallon in one of The Tonight Show’s more fun refillable bits. “Go On, Git!” sees Fallon (and this time Hawke) adopting cowboy personae to say adios, mosey on, git along li’l dogey to concepts and trends that have outlived their welcome. It’s always a struggle of props and sound effects, but Hawke was game. And loud as hell. Hawke joined other TV faux-cowboy-prospector types like Futurama’s Old Man Waterfall, Will Ferrell’s Gus Chiggins, and basically the entire cast of 1883.

1. Desus & Mero Is Back and COVID-Free

Desus and Mero were in rare form after their COVID-mandated hiatus. One week into season four, the Bodega Boys were shut down because Desus Nice got COVID. This week, they were back and punchier than ever. Gorgeous bits included: Desus saying he got the latest variant because he’s a hypebeast and has to be on top of trends, the fact that “gourd” sounds like a slur the more you repeat it, and the fact that Mayor Adams appears to be playing SimCity with the city of New York and also the personage of Kyrie Irving. Just classic goofing by two people that have been chomping at the bit to say fucked-up shit on television again.

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The Rereturn of Desus and Mero Won Late Night This Week