This week was for meetings of the minds: Desus and Mero on WWHL, Ziwe on The Daily Show, John Wilson on Desus & Mero. For whatever reason, it was a summit week, when the great minds of our late-night generation met to discuss … trivialities of the internet, if we’re being honest. For all the awful things still relevant in the news cycle, it was a weirdly breezy week in late night. Less Ukraine and Roe, more Rich Strike and Rudy Giuliani looking dumb. It was a week overstuffed with good bits, something one welcomes as a TV reviewer. Here’s what rose to the top.
5. John Oliver Covers the Philippines
This is yet another disturbing encroachment of freak-bitch politicians into a government, huh? The Philippines elected the son of Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos as their president this week, and John Oliver gave an incredibly evenhanded explanation of how that came to pass. While still acknowledging how British and American imperialism played a role in this election, Oliver was able to say, “Hey, the son of a dictator shouldn’t be elected as president of a nation, and thus be able to negate his family’s massive debt to that nation.” Didn’t help, but still, well done.
4. Desus & Mero & Janelle James
Abbott Elementary’s Janelle James came to Desus & Mero to do some wildly mean shit to some kids. In response to an overwhelmingly positive hotline an elementary school created, D&M&JJ made their own hotline with more realistic messaging. Elementary-age schoolchildren spread messages that people really did need to hear. Namely, that you do look insane in that IG photo, and also that you smell sad. The children cast for this bit are future legends, and they delivered adult comedy with their child voices.
3. Paula Pell Goes From Nauseated to Horny
Whenever Paula Pell makes a late-night appearance, it usually becomes an excuse for whatever Saturday Night Live cohort is hosting that show to force Pell to do a room bit for the general public. Pell is hilarious; her era of SNL is hilarious; and these things should coalesce into comedy gold whenever she’s on a late-night show hosted by an SNL alum. The thing about room bits is … they stay in the room for a reason. If they were more accessible, they would become a sketch. Seth Meyers was able to make a room bit into a desk piece by asking Pell to slowly transition from nausea into arousal. That’s an emotional arc, one that all the hot girls with IBS can relate to.
2. Ziwe on The Daily Show
Ziwe’s series on Showtime is into its second week, and it keeps delivering on the premise. Last week was a rendezvous with Charlamagne tha God, and this week was a meeting with Chet Hanks. Ziwe went on The Daily Show to big-up her own show and interview style, and the result was better than either show delivers on the reg. Ziwe is incredible when she is on the defense. TBH, her show’s control of editing and postproduction detracts from her ability to make it weird. To force Ziwe to express the goals of her show is super-helpful for both the series and Trevor Noah’s rep as an interviewer.
1. Kids in the Hall Take The Tonight Show
The Kids in the Hall are coming back — have you heard?! The Kids were interviewed by fellow Lorne-approved comedian Jimmy Fallon, and it was fun as hell. Normally, interviewing a sketch troupe of that size en masse would be a nightmare, but the Kids are used to it. Dave Foley got some good jokes off at Lorne’s expense, and Mark McKinney was able to connect personally with Fallon, because the two had met when Fallon was a young boom operator on a student film. This clip ends in an adorable subversion of late-night expectations, and I want to know who incited it. It’s the cutest ending to a late-night clip ever.
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