Late Night Lately: John Oliver Takes on NRA, Trevor Noah on Viacom-CBS, 'Last Christmas' Trailer

8:00 AM 8/17/2019

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.

Courtesy of HBO; Comedy Central; Universal Pictures

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 pour 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 that you can't afford to miss.

This week: On Sunday, John Oliver took on the NRA amid the most recent streak of mass shootings in the U.S. Trevor Noah dreamed up a few CSI crossover ideas now that the Viacom-CBS merger was announced; Henry Golding joined Jimmy Fallon to debut the trailer to Last Christmas; John Travolta competed against Fallon in a "John Travolt-Off"; and several hosts slammed Trump for spreading a wild take on the conspiracy theories surrounding Jeffrey Epstein's death. 

— Compiled by Jennifer Konerman  

  • John Oliver Takes on NRA in Wake of Mass Shootings

    Courtesy of HBO

    John Oliver devoted his opening segment on Last Week Tonight to criticizing the NRA in the wake of the recent mass shootings in Dayton and El Paso. 

    The host, who last week made a plea for gun control and has been critical of the NRA in the past, said that pressure appears to be mounting on politicians to take action on gun violence and gun reform. Oliver went on to note that the NRA remains a "key obstacle" to gun reform, but that the organization is "currently in the midst of an internal shit show." He added that federal investigators last year were looking into the possibility that a Russian agent used the NRA to infiltrate Republican politics, and their tax-exempt status is being questioned amid "some very suspicious expenditures."

    He cited a news report wherein it was reported that leaked documents show that NRA chief Wayne LaPierre may have misused $300,000 in member dues to buy designer clothes and on "lavish travel expenses," all while the organization has been operating on a deficit of up to $14 million, cut out free coffee for staffers at its headquarters and froze their pension plans.

    He also noted that "board members are also now questioning the large amount paid to the group's ad agency, Ackerman McQueen, which was responsible for creating and running NRA TV. We actually talked about it last year and it was always something weird going on with that because its shows look both expensive and made for no one." NRA TV has since been shut down.

    He continued: "Obviously, the death of NRA TV is a tragedy — 'thoughts and prayers' to all those affected — but the bottom line here is that for the first time in a while, things are not actually looking great for the NRA. So does this mean that gun control could finally happen?"

    He wrapped up by making his case on what he believes needs to happen for gun reform to take place. "The president has said that he's willing to stand up to the NRA, but he's also: one, a liar, and two, likely to identify with an organization that has spent itself into colossal debt, has troubling ties to Russia and is associated with shitty TV programs and very bad taste," he said. "I guess what I'm really saying here is, a weakened NRA is nice, sure. But the only way things are really going to change is if lawmakers continue to feel the pressure to, and if I may quote that Ohio crowd, 'Do something.'" 

  • Trevor Noah Fantasizes 'Daily Show,' 'CSI' Crossover After Viacom-CBS Merger

    Comedy Central

    Viacom's merger with CBS, announced Tuesday, got The Daily Show's Trevor Noah thinking about dream crossovers. His ultimate goal? To appear on CSI across from David Caruso. 

    "I'll be honest, I think this is a great merger," Noah said at the top of his bit on the merger on the Comedy Central (a Viacom property) show. "I'm biased because this means I can merge with my favorite TV shows."

    Noah then announced that he had already filmed a guest spot on CSI and he thought it went "pretty well." The host showed a CSI clip with himself green-screened into the scenery. As Caruso and co-star Khandi Alexander examine a dead body, Alexander tells Caruso, "Shot in the light of day in a house filled with people? That's cold-blooded, Horatio."

    "Cold as ice," Caruso responds.

    "Do you guys get it, It's cold as ... oh s---, that was funny," Noah says in the doctored clip. "You killed me with that line."

    Earlier in the segment, Noah waxed poetic on the "infinite spinoff potential" created by the new media behemoth ViacomCBS: "Yeah, like Young Sheldon and Drunk History can merge to become just Drunk Sheldon. Or we could finally get a season of Survivor set in [the] Jersey shore. Yeah, now you get voted out of the jacuzzi." 

  • Henry Golding Debuts 'Last Christmas' Trailer

    Andrew Lipovsky/NBC

    Henry Golding dropped by The Tonight Show this week to share the premiere of the trailer for his upcoming rom-com, Last Christmas, which revealed some new plot details to Paul Feig's holiday-themed romantic comedy co-starring Emilia Clarke. 

    Golding introduced the film, which is "set in London at the most magical time of the year," and he thinks is "one of the most tearjerking, hilarious movies you'll ever see."

    Clarke stars as Kate, a disillusioned retail worker and self-described "mess" working as an elf at a year-round Christmas shop under the management of an exacting boss played by Michelle Yeoh. When Clarke begins to bump into Tom (Golding), she starts to confide in him. 

    In the film, penned by Emma Thompson, Clarke plays a woman who nearly died due to a condition that isn't revealed in the trailer. "I was really sick and I nearly died. I don't tell people because they get weird, but I don't think you'll get weird," Clarke says in the trailer. "I'm just scared all the time."

    Serenading viewers will be Clarke, who at one point in the trailer begins spreading Christmas cheer by singing "Deck the Halls" in front of a homeless shelter, and the late George Michael, whose music will accompany the film, named after his 1984 Wham! hit. Last Christmas will release on Nov. 8.

  • Fallon, John Travolta Compete in "Travolt-Off"

    Andrew Lipovsky/NBC

    John Travolta appeared on The Tonight Show on Thursday to discuss his film The Fanatic, but not before participating in a "John Travolt-Off" with the host. 

    During the impersonation competition, the two re-created iconic scenes and dance moves from famous Travolta films, such as Grease and Pulp Fiction, to determine once and for all who is the best Travolta. 

    Despite Fallon's fairly convincing Vincent Vega, he was no match for the original Travolta — especially when the actor pulled off a double-impersonation of himself and Nicolas Cage from Face/Off

  • Hosts Call Out Trump for Promoting "Deranged" Epstein Conspiracy Theory

    Scott Kowalchyk/CBS

    Late night hosts on Monday took on the conspiracy theories surrounding Jeffrey Epstein's death.

    The 66-year-old accused sex trafficker died by suspected suicide in his New York federal jail cell. He was reportedly taken off suicide watch at the Metropolitan Correctional Center a week after he tried to kill himself late last month.

    Stephen Colbert noted that Epstein's link to many powerful people, including Donald Trump and Bill Clinton, had some people thinking that his death might not have been suicide. "This has set off a wild wave of conspiracy theories online. The sort of stuff that only unstable, tinfoil-hat loons could possibly believe — so, Donald Trump," said Colbert.

    Colbert explained that Trump shared a tweet and video that said Bill and Hillary Clinton were responsible for Epstein's death, despite the fact that the allegation had no evidence to support it. "That's your theory? I'm not saying the Clintons don't have any power. They could definitely get a reservation at any restaurant in New York City," said Colbert. "But masterminding a scheme to assassinate a high-profile prisoner in maximum security federal custody? They couldn't even mastermind a visit to Wisconsin."

    "Trump clearly thinks this is the only logical answer. 'Follow me down the rabbit hole here,'" Colbert said, doing an impression of Trump. '"Who had the most to gain from Epstein's death besides me, who is on videotape partying with him and young women? And who controls all federal prisons? The president, Bill Clinton.'"

    Trevor Noah, meanwhile, said that Epstein's death was "bullshit." "I wanted Jeffrey Epstein to stay alive for two reasons. One, so that his victims could get their day in court and, two, I wanted him to snitch on all of his high-profile pedophile friends," he said.

    He then spoke about Trump's retweet of the conspiracy theory linking the Clintons to Epstein's death. "The president did this, which is pretty wild. I mean, cause this is the type of moment where you would think that the president would be the voice of reason. Instead, Trump is jumping into the fray," he said.

    The host suggested that Trump make a Finsta account, which is a secret Instagram account that only his friends would be able to see. "Then he can use that to just go crazy with his racist stuff, conspiracy theories, butt pics. He can just let it all out," Noah said. "And America doesn't have to stress." 

    Seth Meyers spoke about the "deranged" conspiracy theory Trump shared in the latest installment of his "Closer Look" segment. "Donald Trump has changed many things in his life, but there are a few constants: He's always been a racist, he's always been a con artist and he's always been a conspiracy theorist," he said. "Trump has paranoid fantasies about everything from climate change to government surveillance to the food he eats."

    Meyers shared that Trump began his political career by promoting the conspiracy theory that President Obama was not born in America. "It wasn't just that Trump accused Obama of being born in Kenya, he also invented an insane fantasy where Obama had faked documents," said Meyers. "At one point he even claimed his own investigators were discovering evidence that proved Obama was hiding the truth."

    Meyers wrapped up the segment by sharing that Trump retweeted the Epstein conspiracy theory while he was in the Hamptons for a series of fundraisers where tickets cost up to $250,000. "Which sums up so much of our politics right now," he said. "A paranoid president spreading unhinged, racist conspiracy theories while raking in millions from a crowd of megarich supporters who don't care as long as they can line their own pockets."

  • Late-Night Lineup: August 18-24

    Many late-night shows are on hiatus this week, but come back next week to see who is slated for your favorite shows! In the meantime, check out past editions of Late-Night Lately below:

    August 10Late Night Lately: Ron Burgundy's Takeover, Hosts' Mass Shootings Response, Leslie Jones' Announcement

    August 3Late Night Lately: Jeff Goldblum Raps, Debates Round Two, Kimmel Picks 'Bachelorette' Winner