this week in late night

Ziwe’s Writers’-Room Drama Won Late Night This Week

Photo: Showtime/YouTube

In the words of Mel Brooks in History of the World: Part I, “Politics, politics, politics, politics, politics.” First and foremost, we got the first in-person interview with President Joe Biden, courtesy of Jimmy Kimmel. It wasn’t Biden’s first talk show nor even his first interview as president. But Kimmel did his best to take Biden to task on all the stuff that sucks: gun control, misinformation, Supreme Court overreach, and health-care costs. One of the main things circulating from the interview is Biden’s praise of Mitch McConnell, which, ew. But at least Biden also made time to highlight his administration’s gains in clean energy. Win some, lose many, I guess.

This week also saw the beginning of the January 6 hearings, airing in prime time and competing in the culture with the other Watergate retread, Gaslit. Stephen Colbert went live after the first night of testimony, as is his wont. And The Daily Show made recommendations for how to sexy up the proceedings. But this is just the beginning of a long process, and we should expect filings from the “LMAO Treason” desk as regularly as Trump-admin alumni release books with damning stories. Life, hrwahahaha, finds a way. We keep running up that hill, time keeps on slipping, we keep on trucking.

5. Seth Meyers Makes a New BFF

When Seth Meyers goes day drinking, he goes hard. Post Malone is pivoting away from the party-boy persona, which maybe explains why this is one of the tamer “Day Drinking” segments. Any comedy bit that involves walking back from weed into creating your own rosé is, um, Dad Content. And what else is Dad Content? The Cheers theme song. This segment has both, so you’re welcome, dads.

4. Colbert’s Live Postmortem

Colbert’s live national spectacle-tragedy coverage is what got him to the top of the ratings heap, so it’s no surprise that he pulls this trick multiple times a year. This time, it was to give the freshest coverage of the January 6 hearings, including a gorgeous, gorgeous “Trump Wants to Fuck His Daughter” joke. I thought we were over those, but this one got me back! Bonus points for this also being a “This has gotta be a bittersweet moment for Trump” joke formula, a shape I had also assumed had done all it could. Never stop surprising me, insult comedy.

3. Masha Gessen Makes Full Frontal’s Five-Timers’ Club

Masha Gessen made their fifth appearance on Full Frontal and their nth warning about the nuclear apocalypse. Good job, Sam Bee, for managing to cover current issues (gun control again) while also giving time to an issue that is ongoing, despite it happening about three news cycles ago. The war in Ukraine is still happening! But as far as Zeitgeist goes, it went Ukraine > Depp trial > mass shooting > January 6 hearing. We need more long game in our fact-based comedy, and Bee was ready with an inaugural blazer to provide it.

2. Bowen Yang Weighs In on the Drink of Summer

Dirty Shirleys are the drink of summer, and pigs in a blanket are the accompanying food! Bowen Yang is a bon vivant–talk-show star in the vein of a Truman Capote or Teri Garr — someone who is always going to have a sound bite. Yang visited The Tonight Show to talk Bechdel Test–redefining Fire Island. But almost as important, he went on the show to remind Dua Lipa they have plans to get matching tattoos. That’s how you build a brand!

1. Kisses Abound on Ziwe

It feels important to note that this episode of Ziwe is coming out around the same time as The Real World Homecoming: New Orleans. That show is all about how TV expectations mold/impact/hurt (?) TV performers, and the runner in this Ziwe episode with Sam Taggart’s quest to find a more palatable gay TV writer skewered all those things. The joke of Taggart’s B-plot was that despite being a gay writer on Ziwe, he didn’t read as a gay writer on Ziwe, and, therefore, a new one must be cast. After a thorough search, they almost found their next top model with Pat Regan. But then an almost-kiss ruined everything. Seeing Taggart and Regan get real smoochlike was jarring for an avant-comedy fan, and in a similar way, the writers’ postmortem, in which they did a four-way kiss, was exhilarating. The writers threw one another under the bus in classic reality-show-reunion style, and it was all the better for being fake. Love (of attention) wins!

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Ziwe’s Writers’-Room Drama Won Late Night This Week