this week in late night

Beth Ditto’s Charm Offensive Won Late Night This Week

Photo: Late Night with Seth Meyers/YouTube

Ziwe is coming back in November! The late-night sphere has been a little boring, with Ziwe and Amber Ruffin on hiatus and Desus & Mero in the rearview mirror. But Ruffin returns with new episodes in October, and Ziwe returns in November, so it will be an iconic autumn.

This was a big Trump-story week, as various lawsuits were initiated and other criminal proceedings … proceeded. Much monologue space was still occupied with the same outrage/schadenfreude combo we’ve had since 2016. Oh, and the ukulele plane — everybody talked about the ukulele plane. But what worked best wasn’t monologues; it was mostly guests who made late night pop this week.

5. Kathy Griffin on Jimmy Kimmel Live

As if we don’t have enough Don’t Worry Darling drama in our heads, Kathy Griffin let it drop that she was replacing Chris Pine on Tuesday’s Jimmy Kimmel Live. Only Griffin would hang a lampshade on being a filler guest, as well as letting a little tea spill on who bailed. Griffin also let us know that Monica Lewinsky forced herself to vote for Hillary Clinton in 2016, so thanks for that tidbit too. Finally, if you ever wondered what Christmas is like with the Kardashians (beyond those giant portraits they do), watch this clip.

Hispanic Heritage Month on The Late Show

Writer Felipe Torres Medina brought an innovative plan for adding more diversity to TV and film: Cast Felipe Torres Medina. In this completely selfless plan to get better representation, you can buy footage of Medina doing any number of upstanding citizen roles. Doctor? Check. CSU on the doughnut run? Check. Mute astronaut? That’s a big check. You’d be crazy not to add these to asset library, Hollywood!

3. John Oliver Talks “Funny” Queen With Seth Meyers

As a comedy fan, one of the weirdest parts of the queen mourning news cycle was everyone insisting she was funny. The queen had jokes, apparently. John Oliver was as incredulous about that notion as I was, so he and Seth Meyers riffed on her comedy taste on Late Night. She wanted to see John Mulaney’s new tour! She’d always dreamed of doing the Del Close Marathon! These are all true and believable statements. Hopefully, this is the last time this column has to do #RipQueen content. As a very, very funny woman, Her Majesty would know you need to rest the game occasionally in a scene.

2. Michael Rowland on The Tonight Show

More stand-up on The Tonight Show! Late night is about movie stars promoting their projects, sure, but it’s also a vital way comedians are able to up their booking fees or go from feature to headliner. Michael Rowland had a charming little set about growing up in the South and dreaming of moving to New York to become a slut just like the ladies in Sex and the City. It’s these stories of childhood dreams fulfilled that will lift our spirits through this recession.

1. Beth Ditto Is Irrepressible

We’re double-dipping into Late Night this week, and with interviews no less. Meyers holds his own in the impersonal interview department, but he soars above his compatriots in the “riffing with a pal” space. This time, Beth Ditto appeared to promote Monarch and plug her $90-something Amazon wig, didn’t know how to sit, said you can’t swing a dead cat in Portland without hitting a witch (true, and also probably very upsetting, since Portland witches loooove cats), and generally ran amok on the show. Meyers tore up his question cards and just let her free-associate like she was Kedzie Matthews or something. Ditto is charming, but Meyers’s excitement is what makes the segment.

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Beth Ditto’s Charm Offensive Won Late Night This Week