Late Night Lately: Hosts Take on Kamala Harris VP News

8:00 AM 8/15/2020

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.

Late Night Lately graphic - August 15-Publicity- H 2020
Courtesy of Comedy Central; CBS; NBC

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: The hosts largely responded to the Tuesday news that Joe Biden named California Sen. Kamala Harris as his running mate, mostly focusing on POTUS' presumed response. "Trump's going to have a hard time deciding exactly how to be racist about her," said Stephen Colbert. Elsewhere, Colbert and James Corden returned to their studios Monday and offered viewers an inside look at their socially distanced sets and safety precautions. Brian Cox shared his personal experience with COVID-19, saying he didn't feel "anything." And TikTok star Sarah Cooper guest-hosted for Jimmy Kimmel Live!

— Compiled by Jennifer Konerman 

  • Hosts React to Joe Biden Picking Kamala Harris as Running Mate

    Following the news Tuesday that Joe Biden named California Sen. Kamala Harris as his official running mate in the 2020 election, late-night hosts shared their reactions via their respective shows.

    Harris is the first Black woman to compete on a major party's presidential ticket, which Trevor Noah called a "great moment for her and for America." 

    "Say what you want about Joe, but the man went Black and he's not going back," Noah continued, adding that he's impressed Biden picked Harris after she "destroyed" him in Democratic debates. Noah also said that he's interested to see what Trump's "line of attack" will be now that Biden has secured his running mate, or "America's assistant manager," as the comedian called the vice president position. 

    Stephen Colbert added that Harris is not only the first Black woman to be competing in this position, but she is also the first woman of Indian descent. "Trump's going to have a hard time deciding exactly how to be racist about her," said the late-night host. He went on to call Harris a "surprising" choice given how "she hit him so hard he was spitting teeth like Chicklets" on the stage floor of the debate. Lastly, Colbert joked that Harris will come under scrutiny because Biden has a chronic condition called "old."

    Jimmy Fallon noted that Harris is the daughter of two immigrants, went to Howard University and is a Democratic senator from California. "That's an inspiring story, unless you're Trump, then it's a Stephen King novel," said Fallon.

    The comedian went on to say, "She's only had the job for a few hours, but Kamala is already gearing up for her debate with Mike Pence, that's why she spent the entire day arguing with a mannequin at Kohl's."

    Fallon also impersonated Biden for a mock video press conference, in which people were only interested in asking about Harris.

    Over on Jimmy Kimmel Live!, guest host Sarah Cooper kicked off her monologue by announcing that she would "not be the next vice president of the United States."

    "It was down to me and Kamala, but Joe wanted to go with someone who has 'experience,'" Cooper said.

  • Stephen Colbert, James Corden Return to Their Studios

    After months away, James Corden and Stephen Colbert both detailed their studio comebacks Monday in short bits offering viewers an inside look at the new normal of late night: socially distanced sets, no audiences and heightened safety precautions.

    Corden featured the redesigned Late Late Show studio at Television City in Los Angeles in a short bit that saw him facing off with multiple new protocols while gearing up for showtime. The host is seen doggedly navigating staff in masks, using hand-sanitizing stations and maintaining a six-foot distance between himself and his house band. However, the skit's biggest bit was the invisible barriers Corden now faces, with the host walking directly into several germ shields on his way to the set.

    "It's still better than the garage, it's still better than the garage," Corden said after bumping into one shield.

    Colbert's opening monologue featured significantly less action as the host detailed his new arrangement. Last week, CBS had declined to share the whereabouts of Colbert's filming location, but in the three-minute opening, viewers finally see Colbert's new digs. While the Late Show host is back in the Ed Sullivan Theater building, he's not onstage. Instead, he's in a replica of his studio office located four floors below his real one. Colbert notes that his desk, bookshelves, framed photos, hometown map, Captain America shield and a desk calendar featuring the date of his last in-studio appearance in March are all present.

    "In fact, this — this feels like Captain America," Colbert said. "You know, when Cap wakes up in the fake hospital they built to make him feel more at home?"

  • Brian Cox Says He "Never Felt Anything" After Contracting COVID-19

    Succession star Brian Cox has opened up about his personal experience with COVID-19 after revealing he'd contracted the coronavirus months ago but didn't feel "anything."

    Speaking to The Late Late Show host James Corden, the award-winning actor revealed during his Wednesday late night appearance that he was made aware he'd gotten the respiratory virus as part of a routine visit to Fairview Hospital in Great Barrington, Massachusetts.

    "I'm a diabetic, and I went from my usual bloods that I usually have between months," Cox told Corden. "I went there, and they took my bloods, and they took the COVID test. Then my doctor called me and said, 'Oh, congratulations. You've had it.'"

    In addition to learning he'd had the novel coronavirus, he was also assured by his doctor that he had the antibodies. The news came as a complete shock to Cox, who said that while others experienced mild or even severe symptoms, he'd "never felt anything."

    That prompted the Succession to ask his doctor when he contracted it. With no sure way to confirm this, Cox was told to list any unusual or memorable symptoms he may have noticed in recent months. That's when the actor recalled being particularly sneezy after spending time in London in December.

    "I remember I directed a play with my wife in London in December," Cox recounted. "And I remember coming here, and for about four days, I had these sneezing attacks. Just sneezing."

    Cox said that he also experienced some tiredness, which, at the time, he attributed to simple jet lag. That's when his doctor revealed that other COVID-19 patients had noted similar symptoms.

    "The doctor told me that three of our patients had also these sneezing attacks, and that is an unknown symptom of COVID."

  • TikTok Star Sarah Cooper Guest Hosts 'Jimmy Kimmel Live!'

    TikTok superstar and famed Trump impersonator Sarah Cooper pivoted from the phone screen to the TV screen on Tuesday night, introducing her viral comedy — and self — to even more of America as part of her guest-hosting duties on Jimmy Kimmel Live!

    "If you don't know who I am, that's OK. I don't know who you are either, so we're even," Cooper quipped.

    In a more than seven-minute monologue, the writer and stand-up comedian balanced her trademark political humor with comedic anecdotes about her life beyond the homemade videos that have made her an internet sensation. "Part of the reason I was so excited to guest-host tonight is because I wanted to show everyone that I'm more than my Trump impressions," Cooper said.

    She touched on a range of "presidential" topics early on in her opening appearance, including the announcement of Kamala Harris as Joe Biden's running mate, voter suppression and what it would be like to have a "president who only goes crazy once a month." However, most of her opening monologue centered on the personal, with Cooper diving into the origins of her TikTok presence and her rapid rise in comedy. Cooper took credit for being "the reason your grandpa downloaded TikTok," before sharing her excitement over her rapid rise in comedy this year, which led to her having her "very own sidekick" in Guillermo.

    "I started this year doing a late night set at a pizza place in Jersey City," Cooper explained. "Now, here I am hosting a late night show in a vacant house. Actually, the number of people in the audience is exactly the same."

    Later in the show, the writer and actress also traded presidential impressions with her first guest, Ben Stiller. During their conversation, Stiller noted that "for a lot of people watching, it's probably the first they're hearing your voice," which he went on to describe as "a lot more melodious, and soothing and not divisive." While Stiller admitted that he was familiar with Cooper's work, he said he still had limited knowledge of the platform.

    "I don't even understand what TikTok is other than I know it's a medium in which images are put out into the world," Stiller said.

    As part of a quick bite, the Jimmy Kimmel Live! guest host encouraged the actor to try his hand at impersonating Trump, serving up the infamous "Bing-bing-bong" clip for him to re-create.

  • Kenya Barris on Shelved 'Black-ish' Episode

    Kenya Barris joined Trevor Noah on The Daily Show on Thursday where he reflected on his shelved episode of Black-ish finally being able to be watched by viewers.

    It was revealed Monday that Disney would be making the 2018 episode "Please, Baby, Please" available with the rest of the comedy's library at streamer Hulu. The episode, as The Hollywood Reporter reported in Barris's 2018 cover story offered a mix of political allegory and actual news footage of Donald Trump, the Charlottesville attacks and the NFL kneeling protests. Days prior to its scheduled air date at the time, the episode was indefinitely shelved. When Noah asked Barris why the episode was shelved, the creator simply cited "creative differences." He explained that it was arriving during an "interesting time in our country's growth" as well as growth in Disney.

    "It as the most blatantly partisan episode of Black-ish we've ever done. That's a hard place to be for America's Broadcasting Corporation," Barris explained, adding he couldn't "compromise" over what should and shouldn't be included in the episode. 

    "Bob Iger understood and really supported where I was coming from but, at the same time, was running a publicly traded company during a merger and things like that," he said of Iger. As for the episode now being resurrected, Barris recalled having a conversation with Iger who he described as "the best CEO I've ever talked to." 

    "We had a real honest conversation about this episode. He was like 'I love the episode,'" Barris said. He also recalled Iger advising that given "the time is there" and "there's a lot of curiosity" as to why the episode was shelved, they should "let people sort of on their own find their answer."

    Since its release, Barris says he's happy with what viewers have said and seen of the episode. "One of the highlights of my writing career is to be able to have something that you felt like was gone that you're really proud of to be able to come back and, actually during a time when we're actually in all this stuff, speak to people and start a conversation."