Late-Night Lately: The Hosts Take on Megyn Kelly, CNN's Bomb Scare and Trump

7:00 AM 10/27/2018

by THR Staff

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

Lloyd Bishop/NBC; Courtesy of Samantha Bee/TBS; Scott Kowalchyk/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: After Megyn Kelly's blackface comments (before her show was canceled by NBC on Friday), Late Night's Amber Ruffin discussed why blackface is offensive, while Full Frontal's Ashley Nicole Black took the stage with Samantha Bee to explain to Kelly the context of blackface and why it is racist. Meanwhile, this week's news cycle was taken over by coverage of mail bombs sent to CNN offices and several prominent Democratic leaders. Late-night hosts criticized President Donald Trump for his response that focused on unity while his daily rhetoric said otherwise. 

— Compiled by Jennifer Konerman  

  • 'Full Frontal', Amber Ruffin Criticize Megyn Kelly's Blackface Comments

    Courtesy of Late Night with Seth Meyers

    Late Night's Amber Ruffin and Full Frontal's Ashley Nicole Black addressed the controversy following Megyn Kelly's comments about blackface this week. 

    Earlier that day, the Megyn Kelly Today host defended wearing blackface for Halloween costumes, claiming it used to be acceptable. Meyers explained later that night that he doesn't feel comfortable discussing the issue of blackface. Writer Amber Ruffin did, however. 

    Ruffin commented on Kelly's comments that blackface isn't racist on Halloween. "It's not racist on Halloween. It's racist every day," she corrected. "There is no magical day where you can wear blackface with no repercussions. Unless all of your friends are white. And I'm guessing all of Megyn Kelly's friends are white."

    Ruffin then pointed out that the panel featured on Kelly's show to discuss the topic was all white. "How are you gonna have a bunch of white people sit together and figure out what's racist? White people don't get to decide what's racist," she said. "If I punch you, I don't decide if it hurts or not. You do. And it won't because I'm not punching no white lady because I don't want to go to jail."

    She also addressed Kelly's comments that blackface wasn't racist when she was growing up. "You're 47. Racism wasn't invented 40 years ago," she said, adding: "You may think the meanest thing I can do is call Megyn Kelly's words racist, but really, the meanest thing I did was tell everyone she's 47, which, if you round up, is 50." She then continued to round up Kelly's age.

    "Blackface is racist because it turns black people into a costume and divorces them from their humanity. We're people. Not costumes," she explained. "But more importantly, it ignores the severely racist context in which blackface was introduced into this country and actions don't exist separate from their context." 

    Full Frontal host Samantha Bee and writer/correspondent Black added to the uproar on Wednesday. Before ceding the educational segment to Black, who did her master's thesis on blackface minstrelsy, Bee noted that this isn't the first time that Kelly has made a controversial remark about race.

    Black explained that blackface minstrelsy was one of the "earliest American theatrical forms" that appeared in vaudeville, radio and sitcoms. "So our nation's entire comedy aesthetic was built on stereotypes made up by white people. And the idea that is was funny to blow up black people," she said. "But forget it: I wouldn't want centuries of harm to ruin your Halloween, Becky."

    "Imagine how you'd feel if every cartoon for 100 years was about a prissy blonde who spelled 'Megyn' wrong getting smushed by anvils," Bee joked.

    Black concluded her part in the segment by noting that two popular black anchors, Tamron Hall and Al Roker, had their morning show canceled and replaced by Kelly's lower-rated show.

  • Hosts Criticize Trump's Response to Bomb Threats

    Screengrab/Late Night with Seth Meyers

    On Wednesday morning, CNN's Time Warner Center office in New York was evacuated in response to discovering a suspicious package containing an explosive device. Late-night hosts addressed the issue on their shows that evening. 

    Similarly suspicious packages were sent to the homes of Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Andrew Cuomo, Maxine Waters and Deborah Wasserman Schultz and liberal financier George Soros. 

    On The Late Show, Stephen Colbert noted President Trump's retweet of Vice President Mike Pence's statement earlier that morning. Trump wrote, "I agree wholeheartedly" in his retweet of Pence's statement condemning the attempted attacks. 

    "First of all, we fact-checked that one, and it doesn't work out. You have no whole heart," Colbert joked. "Second, you're the president. There's been an attempted attack on two previous presidents today. This is the one time you can't think of your own tweet?"

    Over on Late Night, Seth Meyers dedicated his "Closer Look" segment to the packages and similarly addressed Trump's retweet of Pence's statement. "Hey man, you're the president. You can't just add your name to somebody else's statement like you're signing a get-well-soon card for a co-worker," Meyers said. "Trump is like a kid who tries to cheat off a classmate but instead of actually copying he just writes, 'See Mike's test for answers.'"

    On Jimmy Kimmel Live!, the host said, "The president, for once, said the right thing in response. He said, 'We have to come together and send one very clear, strong, unmistakable message that threats or acts of political violence have no place in the United States of America …except for at all of my rallies.'"

    Jimmy Fallon poked fun at the situation on The Tonight Show, specifically noting the packages sent to CNN. "When he heard that, the president said, 'Oh my God, is Fox News OK?'" Fallon then speculated on what Trump did after hearing the news: "Out of precaution, President Trump evacuated himself to a golf course."

    Samantha Bee gave a shout out to CNN host Wolf Blitzer for letting his colleagues "huddle in his beard for warmth" during the evacuation.

    The Full Frontal host also said that Fox News "tried to do a journalism" by tweeting updates from the scene. Bee criticized a tweet the network sent that said the suspicious package found at CNN contained "white power" instead of "powder." She said, "You know, I don't mean to be critical right now, but autocorrect doesn't change 'white powder' to 'white power' unless you type 'white power' a lot." 

    Over on The Late Late Show, James Corden criticized Trump's tweet following the news. "He just retweeted Mike Pence. Now Trump says he agrees wholeheartedly, but everyone knows that retweets, by definition, are half-hearted at best," he said. "'I agree wholeheartedly' isn't what you tweet when there's been an attempted attack on former presidents. It's what you tweet when your friend says, 'McRibs should be available all year.'"

  • Tiffany Haddish and Jimmy Fallon Compete in Lip Sync Battle

    Andrew Lipovsky/NBC

    Tiffany Haddish is the latest Tonight Show guest to join host Jimmy Fallon in a round of Lip Sync Battle.

    Fallon opted to go first with "one of my favorite '90s dance tracks," Dee-Lite's "Groove is in the Heart."

    "When I was growing up in Los Angeles, this artist was one of my favorite female emcees and she still is today," she told the audience. "Her name is Lady of Rage and the name of this song is 'Afro Puffs.'"

    Fallon's next performance was in honor of Post Malone's upcoming Posty Fest in Dallas. He then began to lip-sync Malone's hit "Psycho." Fallon stopped lip-syncing halfway through the performance to quickly apply tattoos onto his face.

    Haddish took off her jacket and requested that she begin her final performance from the side of the stage. "For my final song, I had to go deep, Jimmy. So I decided to go with the Godfather," she said. "The Godfather of Soul, Mr. James Brown." The actress asked that "we make it look like old-school TV" before the footage turned to black-and-white.

  • 'SNL's' Melissa Villasenor Plays Wheel of Musical Impressions

    Andrew Lipovsky/NBC

    Melissa Villasenor joined Jimmy Fallon in a game of Wheel of Musical Impressions on Monday's episode of NBC's The Tonight Show

    In the game, a player presses a button to activate the musical impressions generator at the beginning of each round. The generator randomly selected a singer and a song. Villasenor was first challenged to perform "Three Blind Mice" with a Gwen Stefani impression. The Saturday Night Live castmember got into character before singing the song with a No Doubt vibe. 

    On his turn, Fallon requested that his microphone be equipped with Auto-Tune before he began the rendition of "Itsy Bitsy Spider" to the tune of Malone's "Psycho." 

    Villasenor performed "When You Wish Upon a Star" as Christina Aguilera. She began the performance by belting, "Oh yeah!" before inserting a number of high notes into the classic Disney song. Villasenor concluded the game with an impression of Bjork performing "Rock-a-Bye Baby." After the generator revealed the song and singer, Fallon responded, "The world has always wanted to hear this."

  • Samantha Bee Decries Trump Administration's "Trans Attack"


    Upon learning the news that the Department of Health and Human Services is trying to define sex while the Trump administration works to remove protections for transgender Americans, Full Frontal's Samantha Bee fought back. 

    "It's really something that this dumpo has the gall to tell trans and gender non-conforming people that their gender identity isn't authentic. He doesn't even have a true self. Deep down, he's just a flesh sac of coins, gunk and porn DVDs," said Bee. 

    The host added that she can't understand why Republicans won't accept that "gender and sex are two different things." 

    Commenting on Trump's remarks about issues "with respect to transgender," Bee criticized the president on his non-attempt to learn the basics of the issues. "if you're going to destroy people's lives, at least bother to learn the word." 

    Bee concluded: "Transgender people are real and normal and they deserve so much more than this. And if Trump really, really wants to pretend someone doesn't exist .... pick Ted Cruz, that's how I get through the day." 

  • Late-Night Lineup: October 28-November 3

    Monday, October 29
    The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon: Bohemian Rhapsody star Rami Malek joins Fallon at NBC, leading musical fans to hope for some Queen-themed lip sync battles. 

    Tuesday, October 30
    The Late Show With Stephen Colbert: Amid mail-bomb scares and political threats, Nancy Pelosi stops by to update the CBS host about the goings-on in Washington, D.C. 

    Wednesday, October 31
    Watch What Happens Live: Fellow late-night host and recent SNL host Seth Meyers is in the clubhouse with Andy Cohen. 

    Thursday, November 1
    Jimmy Kimmel Live!: Julia Roberts makes a rare return to late night to promote her upcoming series Homecoming