Late-Night Lately: Kimmel's Trump "Halftime," Conan Returns, Hosts Weigh In on the Oscars

8:00 AM 1/26/2019

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 ABC; Team Coco; Comedy Central

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: Jimmy Kimmel hosted a special episode titled, "Intermission Accomplished: A Halftime Tribute to Trump" with Will Arnett, Josh Gad, Fred Willard and more guests. Conan O'Brien returned with his TBS show on Tuesday with a new format, dressed as "Indiana Jones' accountant." Tom Hanks, who coined the term "Team Coco" for him years ago, appeared as his guest. Meanwhile, the hosts weighed in on the Oscar nominations, and Samantha Bee criticized media coverage of female presidential candidates. 

— compiled by Jennifer Konerman  

  • Kimmel Celebrates "Halftime" of Trump's Presidency

    Randy Holmes/ABC

    The night after the NFL hosted its conference championships, Jimmy Kimmel hosted his own football-inspired event

    "Intermission Accomplished: A Halftime Tribute to Trump," as the special episode was titled, took a look back at President Donald Trump's time in office near the midway point of his term. To help "celebrate" the milestone, Kimmel invited Will Arnett, Alyssa Milano, Josh Gad, Leon Bridges, Paul Scheer, Fred Willard, Jake Johnson, Fred Armisen, Comedy Central's President Show host Anthony Atamanuik and more.

    “We are here tonight to celebrate the midway mark of Donald Trump’s first term in office because, let’s be honest, this is a man who is far too humble to celebrate himself,” Kimmel said in his opening monologue. “He’s done so much, but you won’t hear about it from the fake news media…that is just plain wrong. I can prove that it’s wrong with three words: the Space Force."

    Next up, Kimmel introduced a musical group called Up With Trump, a collection of singers and dancers dressed in bedazzled suits and blond wigs who sang a song titled “Mr. Sandman, Send Me a Tweet.” 

    Later, Armisen, Bobby Moynihan, Jeff Ross and Kimmel appeared as presidential heads on Mount Rushmore who were disturbed by the newcomer: Trump, portrayed by Atamanuik in gold paint. The presidents then tallied up their accomplishments, all of which failed to impress Trump. “Listen, losers, this place sucks, so I’m going to take it from dump to Trump,” Atamanuik’s Trump said before adding an oil derrick to Washington’s head and making Teddy Roosevelt’s mustache a landing pad for the Space Force. 

    Scheer and Arnett played Trump’s sons, Donald Jr. and Eric, in a sketch where the duo was hunting in Africa for the “perfect gift for President Dad.” Willard later appeared as Trump’s father, Fred, who was reporting live “from Hell.” The show concluded with Aloe Blacc singing "our new National Anthem," dedicated to Trump.

  • 'Conan' Debuts Short-Format Show With Help From Tom Hanks

    Courtesy of Team Coco

    Conan returned Tuesday after a three-month hiatus with a new 30-minute format that featured a more casual host, a smaller stage and a starry guest lineup.

    When O'Brien took to the stage for his monologue, he was wearing a button-down, a long cardigan and slacks, as opposed to his previous suit. "This is how I dress in real life. I call this hip biology teacher," he joked. "I sell weed after class. But I’m middle-aged, so I call it 'The Weed.' I looked at myself before the show and I thought, shit, I look like Indiana Jones' accountant."

    O'Brien then explained his change in format to the audience as an inevitable lifestyle transformation as he grows older. "Why the change to a half hour? I’ll tell you why: You know when your parents get older, and they move out of that big, drafty old house with the staircase? It’s too big for them," he joked. "And they downsize to a new, smaller, condo. It’s got safety railings in the bathroom. It has the string you pull by the toilet in case you get in trouble. That’s what this show is. A year from now, this show will be 15 minutes and I’ll be hosting it from an adjustable bed."

    The night's scheduled guest, Tom Hanks, joked that he was appearing on Conan's inaugural 30-minute show to "to plug my appearance on your new show. It's going to air tonight."

    O'Brien added, as a serious aside: "We have a strong connection, you coined the phrase 'Team Coco,'" he said, referring to his show's (and its fan base's) moniker.

    "It's because I couldn't remember your name," Hanks responded.

  • Hosts Weigh in on the Oscar Nominations

    Brad Barket/Comedy Central

    Hours after Kumail Nanjiani and Tracee Ellis Ross announced the 2019 Academy Award nominees, late-night hosts weighed in on the anointed titles. 

    Over on ABC, the 2017 and 2018 Oscars host, Jimmy Kimmel, took aim at the leading contenders of this year's ceremony in his opening monologue. "How many of you saw Roma and The Favourite?" Kimmel asked his audience. "At least half of you are lying, I know that." 

    Kimmel also joked that "history was made" when, for the first time ever, an "Avenger-American" was nominated for an Oscar, given that Black Panther was nominated for seven awards, including best picture. The Live! host also took a jab at friend and frequent target Matt Damon: "For the third year in a row Matt Damon was not nominated for best actor. Let’s keep that streak going," he said.

    Tonight Show host Jimmy Fallon weighed in on the male acting nominees: "I saw that Christian Bale was nominated for his role in Vice, while Bradley Cooper and Sam Elliott were nominated for A Star is Born. They're actually nominated in the same category: growling," he joked. As for the best actress snub of Emily Blunt for Mary Poppins, "Her spoonful of sugar was cut with a little bit of Xanax," he joked.

    Daily Show host Trevor Noah focused on the nominees' diversity, in contrast to the #OscarsSoWhite controversies of previous years. "This year is different. It's gotten so black that two of the best picture nominees had the word 'black' in them," he joked, referring to BlacKkKlansman and Black Panther.

    Senior correspondent Ronny Chieng then took over the coverage. He had a clear agenda: "Who gives a shit about best picture? The story this year is about all the nominees who were snubbed," he started. "Snubs, snubs and more snubs. Especially in the only category that anyone cares about: best supporting actor."

    "I lost out to a bunch of no-name hacks," he said, then proceeding to insult the actual nominees. As for A Star Is Born's Sam Elliott: "Everyone in the business knows his mustache is doing all the acting." BlacKkKlansman's Adam Driver was deemed "Emo Darth Vader who brought whining to a galaxy far, far away."

    Sam Rockwell was a target of his particular ire: "There's already another Sam. Too many Sams. #OscarsSoSams."

    James Corden caught his audience up on the nominees. "For best picture, the nominees are a bunch of movies we'll all pretend we saw and Black Panther," said the host.

    "A lot of people were complaining on Twitter this morning about Bradley Cooper being snubbed for best director, which is an outrage," he continued. "It means he's just gonna have to settle for being Bradley Cooper, which I imagine is amazing."

  • Samantha Bee Spoofs 'The Masked Singer', Skewers Media for Female "Likability" Coverage

    Courtesy of TBS

    Samantha Bee turned to The Masked Singer to cover the government shutdown on Wednesday. 

    In a segment on the longest-ever government shutdown in U.S. history, the TBS show staged a spoof of the Fox singing competition, which challenges audiences and panelists to guess the identity of its contestants, each of whom wear full-body, deliberately ridiculous costumes and are public figures of sorts. In Full Frontal's version, called The Masked Federal Worker, anonymous furloughed workers provide interviews about why their day-to-day work matters, and producer and correspondent Allana Harkin tries to guess which agency they are affiliated with.

    "Many federal workers are scared to speak out. So how do we give them a voice without compromising their careers? The same way they get out-of-work celebrities to do it on my new favorite hallucination-as-TV show, The Masked Singer," Harkin said. 

    With a number of women having already declared that they're running for the Democratic nomination for president, Bee also hoped that the media won't be able to make gender a defining characteristic. 

    "Now that there are so many ladies running, maybe we can stop talking about the tone or volume of their voice, their outfits or their marriages and instead judge them based on their ideas and experience," the Full Frontal host said on Wednesday's episode as she began to laugh. "I'm just joking. No, no, no. It's gonna be a total nightmare."

    In fact, as she discovered in a number of outlets' coverage of the campaigns of Elizabeth Warren and Kirsten Gillibrand, "likability" is still a focus. 

    She said candidate Kamala Harris has "the added bullshit of being a black woman." Bee explained that news outlets are treating her race "more like a branding decision than her identity."

  • Fallon Puts Trump's Border Wall Comments to Tune of Ariana Grande's "7 Rings"

    Ron Sachs-Pool/Getty Images; Jim Spellman/WireImage

    Monday's Tonight Show included a parody that featured the unexpected pair of Ariana Grande and Donald Trump.

    Jimmy Fallon explained that Grande just released her new single "7 Rings," which is "about how she's able to buy all the things she wants for herself."

    After he played a brief clip from the single's music video, Fallon joked that "Today the president released his own version about the border wall." His parody consisted of a number of clips that featured Trump "singing" his own version of the song. In the parody, Trump sang about his desire to build the U.S.-Mexico border wall, though he "can't get it."

    "I want it/ Don't got it/ You like/ My hair/ Well thanks/ I bought it/ I see it/ I like it/ I want it/ Can't get it," Trump stated in the spoof, which was set to the beat of the song.

  • Late-Night Lineup: January 27-February 2

    Tuesday, January 29
    The Late Show With Stephen Colbert: Colbert booked guest Chris Christie for his originally-planned State of the Union show, but now that the event's date is uncertain, that might be up in the air as well. 

    Wednesday, January 30
    The Late Late Show With James Corden: Kevin Hart, no longer Oscars host but star with Bryan Cranston in The Upside, sits down with Corden and friends at CBS. 

    Jimmy Kimmel Live!: Billy Crystal stops by the ABC show. Will he volunteer to host this year's Oscars? 

    Thursday, January 31
    Jimmy Kimmel Live!: Rita Moreno chats with Kimmel about her many upcoming projects, including Steven Spielberg's West Side Story reboot.