Photo: The Late Late Show with James Corden/YouTube
The late-night girlies need a break. The gloves are going off, the edges are fraying and the vibes are generally off. Late this week we saw many hosts getting on their nerves. Maybe it’s the trillion dollar coin’s fault: You’d think these hosts would be used to delivering dumb news by now, but something about solving America’s problems by minting a big shiny coin may be the last straw. Will it be as big as a silver dollar, or as big as the one in the Batcave?
Someone on TikTok said we may not live in the darkest timeline, but we definitely live in the timeline with the most shenanigans. Evidence for this theory – that we are in a cut-away slice of the multiverse – is plentiful. The Twilight saga, a Hot or Not ripoff website that undermines democracies and incites genocide, and Really Big Coin are just a few examples. The late night hosts seemed to feel the pressure of reporting joke news more than usual this week. Here are the most unhinged moments, arranged in descending order of hinges.
Late Night with Seth Meyers is one of the last shows to bring the audience back, and you can tell everyone has mixed feelings about their return. When you hear the crew laugh, you get a certain slumber party — you feel like the show is getting away with things; that was the main draw for Joel McHale’s era The soup. Meyers prepared the Late at night monologue writers for the potential chill of an indifferent audience with a surprise inspection. Their worst jokes were read, criticized and credited. As planned, this was the tamest entry in this week’s top five, but you still have the feeling that Meyers, his writers, and his crew were giggling before the real show returns.
Michael Keaton remains ungovernable. A few weeks ago, his prop comedy Late Night won. This week, his antics were just the fourth weirdest thing on TV between 11pm and 1am. Keaton took a long walk to the late show guest seat, welcoming each audience member of the Ed Sullivan Theater individually. And just like every time Keaton does a talk show, the man refused to sit down. Keaton uses national talk show time as an open mic stand-up: He’s there to workshop material, and there’s a promise there, so we have to let him keep doing it.
The Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp outages on Monday were a mixed blessing. Some people were happy that they could get the social media monkey off their back at any cost, and some feared that all their selfies would disappear in the blink of an eye. Night writers generally rejoiced at yet another attempt at ivermectin jokes. But Jimmy Fallon didn’t count on his audience’s ambivalence toward Facebook during his monologue on October 5. When he talked about the company’s stock tanks, it sounded like maybe a quarter of the audience applauds it. Fallon interrupted his jokes to respond. In his mind that news wouldn’t come woo, it should be one aww! Knowing what triggers woos and awws is half comedy, and this little disturbance was frankly more exciting than The Tonight Show the cast of squid game.
Jimmy Kimmel interviewed Daniel Craig for his latest Bond outing, and frankly, both men seemed to be over it. Somehow, a discussion about Craig’s Hollywood Walk of Fame star culminated in Kimmel asking him to denounce Queen Elizabeth, and Craig (a naturalized American citizen) asking which camera to do it on. But the moment Craig seemed to break down was when Kimmel explained the reason behind discussing stupid shit, as if there are too many British actors playing American heroes (like Superman and Lincoln). Craig asked if Kimmel had anything more important to concern himself with, to which he replied, “Listen, we’ll just get through this. We focus on nonsense, and then we let all the horrible things pass by until they bury us in the ground and we’re dead.” Like … where, but also, you good?
This list can be anything late late show monologues, if we’re honest. Nothing makes anyone go, “Hey, is everyone okay?” just like the show that CBS has going on at 12:35 p.m. In Wednesday night’s monologue, Corden saw West Coast CBS VP Nick Bernstein early in the evening to admit that not every episode is good. Then they got into an argument about how long the show would run over the summer. It was messy on a Bravo level. The October 5 monologue was less drama, more “hyperkids not ready to fall asleep at a church closure.” An innocent question as to whether people are more prone to a fight or flight response carried on with the entire crew arguing over who would beat who in a fight. The late late show lost its hinges long ago; it will never hinge again.