this week in late night

Dave Bautista’s Commitment to the Bit Won Late Night This Week

Photo: NBC

It’s official: James Corden’s senioritis has officially set in. Though he’s British, so maybe we should say sixth form–itis? Homegirl spoke of his April retirement at least twice this week: once while discussing Tom Brady’s second retirement (no foolin’ this time!) and in a segment with fellow late-night quitter Trevor Noah. The issues of both Noah and Corden’s successors are still very much up in the air. The Daily Show featured its third ringer host D.L Hughley with a co-hosting assist from D.L. Hughley’s gray goatee. Sarah Silverman was announced as the final fill-in gal, after which time correspondents will presumably get their crack at it? The question is, Are any of these fancy guest hosts on The Daily Show secretly tossing their hat in the ring for The Late Late Show? Both shows are owned by the same giant corporation.

In other late-night news, we got a new nepo baby. This one is a nepo nephew, belonging to Jimmy Kimmel and co-starring in Reese Witherspoon’s latest rom-com. Kimmel, still coming down from his anniversary high, showed a clip of the nepho’s first acting gig as the “Baby Bachelor” in 2013. It just goes to show: You never know what dumb late-night appearance is going to cement your place in the Hollywood firmament. Here’s who else put in the work this week.

5. Tooning Out the News Got the Zoomer Congressman

Congrats to Tooning Out the News for getting the only Arianator congressman! Maxwell Frost appeared on the show-within-a-show Inside the Hill to get schooled on how to act like a beltway elite now that he’s in Congress. He did pretty well, except he has that speech tic of saying “Right?” which is way worse than saying “Um.” (I do not necessarily agree with you, Congressman. Don’t make me complicit with silence.) Anyway, the whole affair was an excuse for Tooning Out to do much harder-hitting jokes than any live-action late-night person can get away with. Particularly nice to hear was the bit about congresspersons profiting off the pandemic via insider trading. At last, a bipartisan issue!

4. Colbert Chops and Screws George Santos

Maybe it’s just because I came of age during peak “Al TV is on VH1” years, but I am a sucker for repurposing existing footage in order to make a dipshit look dipshittier. It’s a video-specific art form that doesn’t get enough respect. Thank you, The Late Show, for carrying the torch. And thank you for letting me hear Brian Stack’s voice during almost every cold open. Would love to see his face, but thanks for the voice.

3. Natasha Lyonne Really Lyonnes Out With Seth Meyers

Look, Natasha Lyonne comes up a lot in this column. Is it my fault she’s a unique individual who charms and confuses in equal measure? No. That is, if you believe Lyonne, the fault of her alcoholic parents and also the ghost of Herman Melville that did not live in her childhood home. Lyonne and Seth Meyers have an easy intimacy that is chatty, fun, and perfect late-night fodder. In her segments, Lyonne takes down Big Small Talk, regales the audience with her life as a child pickpocket (fictional), and makes major inroads in the tween demographic. Good for her.

2. Salma Hayek Pinault Is a Raconteuse

You wanna know what’s better than a veteran actor who gives no fucks? A veteran actor who gives no fucks because she’s married to a gazillionaire. Salma Hayek Pinault does not miss once in her appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live! Every anecdote hits the target. Also almost every anecdote is about the frailties of the human body — its need to piss when stressed, its refusal to be documented when in peak form, its inability to gauge where the floor is during rehearsals for Magic Mike’s Last Dance’s absurdly long lap-dance scene. Bodies be crazy, and Hayek Pinault knows it all too well.

1. Dave Bautista’s SNL Audition

Let Dave Bautista host Saturday Night Live right now. I am on my hands and knees begging. Someone said that of all the wrestleboys, Bautista does the most actual acting in his movie work. He is playing characters, while other wrestlers do their same persona in different flicks. Both types of acting definitely serve a purpose, but damn if Bautista doesn’t commit hard as fuck to this Tonight Show sketch. “He’s a star,” I kept muttering to my partner. “He needs to do more comedy,” my partner muttered back. This is a fully rounded guy in an only partially rounded sketch. I’ve met the muscled crafter Bautista plays in this sketch. In Palm Springs, at an Instagram museum for mid-century-modern design. I’d love to meet him again on the big screen.

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Dave Bautista’s SNL Audition Won Late Night This Week