Late-Night Lately: Avengers Assemble, Hank Azaria Talks Apu, Hosts Dissect Kanye-Trump Tweets

8:00 AM 4/28/2018

by THR staff

THR's Late-Night Lately rounds up the best sketches and guests with a look at what's to come next week.

Late Night Lately Split 04-26 - Publicity - H 2018
Courtesy of ABC; Courtesy of CBS

The Hollywood Reporter's Late-Night Lately is a one-stop shop for all of the most memorable moments of late-night TV, coming to you each Saturday morning to ease you into your weekend.

So fill up your coffee, set your DVR for the week and sit back. Below are a few of the week's best, funniest and strangest late-night moments you can't afford to miss.

This week: Marvel's Avengers assembled across late night ahead of its big-screen debut this weekend, Hank Azaria presented his stance on the recently resurfaced Apu controversy on The Simpsons, and the hosts had a collective field day with Kanye West-Trump tweets and the awkward State Dinner with the Macrons. 

— Compiled by Jennifer Konerman 

  • 'Avengers' Take Over Late Night

    The Avengers officially assembled all weeklong on Jimmy Kimmel Live! to discuss the new film ahead of its debut April 27. 

    Kimmel tried to get some spoilers out of the Infinity War cast (Robert Downey Jr., Tom Holland, Zoe Saldana, Paul Bettany and Pom Klementieffon Monday, but they remained tight-lipped. Downey Jr. then pushed Saldana on Avatar 2 spoilers, but the actress wouldn't budge. 

    Finally, the cast showed off an exclusive clip from the movie, in which Tony Stark convenes with Bruce Banner and Doctor Strange as they gear up for Thanos’ appearance on Earth. Banner mentions Thanos is a "plague" that moves from planet to planet, while Stark and Strange exchange quips.

    On Tuesday, Mark Ruffalo, Scarlett Johansson, Tom HiddlestonDanai Gurira and Dave Bautista tested their knowledge of fellow castmembers while playing "Guess the Avenger." 

    One prompt asked which Avenger uprooted half a dozen trees with classmates and replanted them on their high school's 50-yard line, while another asked which Avenger learned to play spoons at a bar and has become proficient at "spoonplay." GuriraRuffalo and Johansson guessed, correctly, Hiddleston — who then gave a demonstration for the crowd.

    On Wednesday Chris Hemsworth, Chadwick Boseman, Karen Gillan, Sebastian Stan and Josh Brolin surprised fans on Hollywood Boulevard. Promising people a "sneak peak" at the latest Avengers film, Live! set up a head-sized hole in a wall, behind which the Avengers stars were waiting. 

    "I'm literally lost for words right now," one woman, who was dressed in a Thor outfit, said when she took off her Thor helmet and peeked through the hole. "Nice to see you guys," one man with a Captain America shield said, as Hemsworth tickled his chin.

    During the cast's group interview on Live!Boseman explained why he flashed the audience the "Wakanda Forever" sign from Black Panther before taking his seat. "You know what, the funny thing is, if I don't want to do it, I have to not leave the house. I've been chased in cars. I've actually done the scene in Coming to America when he goes to the bathroom and people are bowing to him," he joked. 

    When asked if fans should stay until after the credits in the new movie, the whole cast agreed. 

    Thursday's episode welcomed Don Cheadle, Benedict Cumberbatch, Elizabeth Olsen and Winston Duke, who shared "spoilers" with the audience as the movie had finally hit theaters. Also during the show, Billy Eichner showed up in a fake muscle suit to plead his case as an Avenger called Prince Namor: The Sub-Mariner, who "breathes underwater and communicates telepathically with fish."

    Bonus: The cast also appeared on The Tonight Show in the form of a Marvel version of the Brady Bunch theme, and later in the week James Corden took them on a bus tour around Los Angeles. 

  • Hank Azaria Says He'd Be Willing to "Step Aside" From 'Simpsons' Apu Role

    Hank Azaria dropped by The Late Show on Tuesday night to promote the new season of Brockmire, and also to address the recent controversy surrounding one of the characters he voices on The Simpsons, Apu Nahasapeemapetilon

    The character was the subject of the recent documentary, The Problem With Apu, which criticized Azaria's voice portrayal as portraying a stereotype. When asked about the controversy surrounding his character, Azaria said, "The idea that anyone young or old, past or present, being bullied based on Apu really makes me sad," the actor went on. "It certainly was not my intention. I wanted to bring joy and laughter to people."

    The long-running Fox show addressed the controversy in a recent episode, receiving further criticism from some for brushing it off. In response, showrunner Al Jean vowed to make it "right." Speaking to the Simpsons response on the issue, Azaria said, “I had nothing to do with the writing or the voicing [in that episode]. I think if anyone came away from that segment thinking they need to lighten up…that’s definitely not the message that I want to send."

    When asked by Colbert about the future of the character, Azaria was open to change. "I’ve given this a lot of thought, and, as I say, my eyes have been opened," he said. "I think the most important thing is to listen to Indian people and their experience with it. I really want to see Indian, South Asian writers in the writers room…including how [Apu] is voiced or not voiced. I’m perfectly willing to step aside. It just feels like the right thing to do to me."

  • Hosts Pick Apart Kanye West's Pro-Trump Tweets

    Late-night hosts took issue with Kanye West's pro-Donald Trump tweets on Wednesday.

    "You don't have to agree with trump but the mob can't make me not love him," West tweeted, among many other pro-Trump messages that asserted that the president was the rapper's "brother" and that both West and Trump are "dragon energy." West previously made a pilgrimage to Trump Tower in December 2016.

    Stephen Colbert showed an image of West’s tweeted picture of a Trump-signed “Make America Great Again” hat captioned with multiple fire emojis. Colbert commented, “That’s fitting, because that’s how many times I’d set that hat on fire.”

    Colbert went on say that the rapper was “lobbying” for a job as Trump’s communications director. “He can just change his name to Kellyanne Kanye,” the CBS host quipped. Noting West’s comments that Trump is “his brother,” Colbert said, “I’m your brother, too, and, I just want to say, brother to brother, put the phone down.”

    NBC's Seth Meyers also commented on West's hat, saying that he must've sent Trump clothes in return. The Late Night host smiled alongside a beaming Trump in a "Yeezus" sweatshirt, sweats, and a sideways hat. 

    Over on the Daily Show, Trevor Noah was confused by West's comments, but posited a reasoning behind the tweets. "I don’t even know what happened here. I think Kanye West realized he’s too rich to not be Republican," Noah said.

    Noah then referenced West's infamous comments about then-president George W. Bush in 2005: "You know what’s crazy is that George Bush hates black people … but he’s the same guy who loves Trump? When George Bush sees this on Twitter he’s going to be like, ‘What the f—? I know I was a bad president, but this guy’s friends with Nazis.”

    On TBS, host Conan O'Brien joked during his monologue, "Kanye called Trump, 'my brother,' and Trump called Kanye 'my one black supporter.' ”

    Jimmy Kimmel similarly quipped, "Now Donald Trump has two black friends. I hope Ben Carson doesn’t get jealous!"

    Like Colbert, Kimmel noted that West was on his way to a Cabinet position. "And just like that, Kanye West became our new secretary of state." 

    Jimmy Fallon thought West was fit for a better position: Secretary of Dragon Energy. "I didn't even know that was a job," Fallon said on The Tonight Show.

    He found it particularly funny that West also tweeted about parting ways with manager Scooter Braun. "I saw that Kanye fired his manager this week and tweeted, 'I can't be managed.' Then Kim was like, stop tweeting and come in here and he was like, 'Yes, dear,'" the NBC host said, referencing another one of West's tweets where he mentioned his wife, Kim Kardashian, had called him when he began discussing Trump.

  • Christina Aguilera, Melissa McCarthy Join James Corden's 'Carpool Karaoke' Special

    James Corden’s Carpool Karaoke Primetime Special made its return to television Monday with special guests Christina Aguilera and Melissa McCarthy. Aguilera performed a slew of duets with Corden, including “Beautiful,” "Dirrty" and “Fighter.” Throughout the ride, Corden shared quips with Aguilera, asking her to teach him how to sing with her signature growl and reveal who she had a crush on during her Mickey Mouse Club days. 

    “Even then, at your age, could you find yourself getting lost in Ryan Gosling’s eyes?” Corden asked the singer, who later admitted that she had more of a liking for Justin Timberlake, who “had swag.”

    Aguilera, who is set to appear in Life of the Party, surprised Corden with a special appearance by the film's star, McCarthy, who spontaneously appeared in the car's backseat to rap during the singer’s song "Dirrty." 

    Corden also welcomed Mom stars Allison Janney and Anna Faris, The Big Bang Theory’s Kunal Nayyar and Young Sheldon’s Iain Armitage for “Crosswalk the Musical: The Sound of Music."

    “CBS doesn’t think I’m capable of handling primetime on my own,” the late-night host said, admitting that he was being forced to welcome the network’s stars to his show's segment. Tension continued to build after Janney appeared dressed in the costume of Julie Andrews’ Sound of Music character, Maria.

    “I don’t know who she thinks she is,” Corden said, arguing that he had always tackled the leading role and so would also portray Maria. “If I’m doing it, you bet your sweet ass I’m playing Maria,” Janney said, challenging Corden to simply have “the best bitch win.” Farris resolved the tiff by saying that Janney made for the perfect Maria because she embodied “her sense of strength and resilience,” whereas Corden had “whimsy” and possessed Andrews’ “perfect cheekbones.” The cast then all dressed as Maria during their final performance.

  • Hosts Mock Trump's Awkward State Dinner Interactions

    French President Emmanuel Macron was in Washington this week as part of President Trump's first official state visit, and so far, there's been no shortage of awkward interactions — all of which late-night hosts have taken on in stride. 

    Among the slew of odd moments on the chopping block was Trump's affection for Macron, shown in the form of long handshakes and cheek-kisses, among other embraces. Jimmy Kimmel noted their "interesting relationship," on Tuesday night's show, joking that while Macron is genuinely looking out for the interests of his country, Trump just wants a companion. "Trump very much needs a friend, because most of his old ones are going to prison," Kimmel joked, adding that Trump "cannot keep his hands off the guy."

    Trevor Noah also reveled in the moment. "We all know that Trump is not the sentimental type, but clearly Macron made him feel a way that he's never, ever felt before: human," the Daily Show host said. Noah ended the segment with a video — titled "L-affaire des Mains," or, "The Affair Of The Hands" — dedicated to the duo's "bromance."

    To Conan O'Brien, the interactions prompted a familiar response for Trump: "When President Emmanuel Macron greeted President Trump, he kissed Trump on both cheeks. Then out of habit, Michael Cohen showed up and handed Macron $130,000." 

    Another popular moment caught Trump attempting to wipe off what he told reporters was dandruff on Macron's jacket. "Mr. President, Macron is still standing next to you, smiling, after hanging out with you for two days," said The Late Show's Stephen Colbert. "That's not dandruff — that's cocaine." 

    Late Night's Seth Meyers noted that Trump said he brushed Macron's jacket because Trump wanted to make him "perfect." "Then Macron returned the favor by putting a bag over Trump's head," Meyers joked. 

    While Tuesday's main event was the state dinner (Kimmel even parodied what he imagined the event would be: catered by one of Trump's favorite spots: KFC), the day's focus was on an interaction not between Trump and Macron, but Trump and Melania. A clip went viral on Tuesday after Trump appeared to be trying to hold the First Lady's hand, only for her to avoid him.

    "[Melania] is not having it, man," Colbert said. "He is like trying to rouse a dead trout." However, the CBS host said he didn't blame her for the supposed rejection. "I mean, she watches 60 Minutes. She knows where that hand has been," Colbert joked. 

    Jimmy Fallon re-enacted a number of Trump's awkward hand movements, joking that someone at the White House should've used Google to look up how to hand-shake. The Tonight Show host also zeroed in on how Trump would behave at the state dinner — even including a Trump "Etiquette Guide."

    "Do not ask, 'Are you gonna finish that?' before your guests start eating," Fallon imagined as one of Trump's rules, along with "Hold your wine glass by the stem, not with two hands like a child," and "If you're bored, sit quietly and watch Paw Patrol on your iPad.

  • Late-Night Lineup: April 29-May 5

    Monday, April 30
    Jimmy Kimmel Live!: The ABC host welcomes comedy legend Carol Burnett ahead of her Netflix show's debut. 

    The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon: Roseanne star and controversial Twitter presence Roseanne Barr stops by. 

    Tuesday, May 1
    The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon: NBC will host a full Ariana Grande episode with the superstar on hand for bits with the host and a performance of “No Tears Left To Cry.”

    Thursday, May 3
    The Late Show With Stephen Colbert: Ron Howard visits one month before Solo: A Star Wars Story hits theaters.