Late Night Lately: Mother's Day Celebrations and Casting the Inevitable Pandemic Movie

8:00 AM 5/9/2020

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.

From left: Jimmy Kimmel, Robert De Niro, John Oliver
From left: Jimmy Kimmel, Robert De Niro, John Oliver
Courtesy of Networks

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: Gwyneth Paltrow, Will Arnett, Lakeith Stanfield, Ben Schwartz, Emily Blunt, Aidy Bryant and more stars shared text messages sent by their moms on Jimmy Kimmel Live!, and Robert De Niro helped cast the inevitable coronavirus pandemic movie, with New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo's blessing. John Oliver broke down the lack of available coronavirus tests in the U.S., and Ricky Gervais explained the negotiation process for his memorable joke targeted at Judi Dench's role in Cats while hosting the Golden Globes.

— Compiled by Jennifer Konerman

  • Jimmy Kimmel Recruits Stars to Read Texts From Their Moms

    From left: Gwyneth Paltrow, Jimmy Kimmel, Emily Blunt
    From left: Gwyneth Paltrow, Jimmy Kimmel, Emily Blunt
    Amy Sussman/Getty Images; JC Olivera/WireImage; Jason Mendez/Getty Images

    Jimmy Kimmel recruited a number of stars to celebrate Mother's Day by sharing text messages sent by their moms.

    On Thursday's Jimmy Kimmel Live!, Gwyneth Paltrow, Will Arnett, Lakeith Stanfield, Elle Fanning, January Jones, Ben Schwartz, Don Lemon, Renée Zellweger, Emily Blunt and Aidy Bryant read memorable texts that they have received from their mothers.

    The ABC host opened the segment by noting that mothers love to text "almost as much as they love to leave long voicemails." Kimmel explained that he had asked guests over the past few months to read real text messages and the results did not disappoint.

    Paltrow first appeared to read a text from her mother, actress Blythe Danner. She noted that they are neighbors, which explains why Danner texted her to ask if she could swim in Paltrow's pool. "My pool is 72. Burr," read Paltrow. "Don't have to eat. I have plenty." After Paltrow didn't respond, Danner added, "Actually, going for a walk. Maybe tomorrow." The thread concluded, "No, fine. I changed my mind. Didn't want to get wet."

    Arnett explained that he texted his mother to check in. His mom responded, "We're watching The Crown. What's up with you?? We can utilize the 'pause' button!"

    Before reading her mother's text, Bryant explained that her Saturday Night Live sketch was cut for time and replaced with another segment. "That last sketch ate shit," read Bryant. The actress added, "That's a good mom."

  • Robert De Niro Wants to Play Andrew Cuomo in a Movie

    Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic

    Robert De Niro dropped in to CBS' The Late Show With Stephen Colbert via video chat Wednesday to talk about remaining active, the current administration's response to the virus and who he would play in a pandemic-themed movie.

    The host asked De Niro what has characterized his time at home, to which the actor gave a summary: "Read scripts, on the phone, work out, try to stay alive." 

    Colbert later hypothesized that there will be a movie made about the pandemic one day, and asked De Niro which real-life figure he would like to play. "Cuomo," De Niro said, referring to New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo. "He's doing what any president should do," added the actor. 

    "Could you see President Cuomo?" Colbert asked. "Yes, I could see it," De Niro replied. He went on to say that he's rooting for Joe Biden and wants everything to go well for the Democratic candidate, but that Cuomo "is doing a great job."

    Cuomo, on The Late Show the following night, agreed wholeheartedly with the casting.

  • John Oliver on Lack of Coronavirus Testing in U.S.

    Courtesy of HBO

    John Oliver spent the main portion of his HBO show Last Week Tonight on Sunday breaking down the lack of available coronavirus tests in the U.S.

    He quoted a story in The Atlantic calling "the testing fiasco the original sin of America's pandemic failure" because, Oliver added, "had testing caught the cases in this country early, we could have managed the virus through contract tracing and targeted quarantine, but that did not happen. So the virus spread widely, forcing us to use the blunt instrument of making everyone stay at home. A lack of testing goes to the very heart of how we got into this situation, and the truth is, broad testing is our only safe way out of it."

    "We thought tonight would be a good time to ask — what the fuck happened?" the host said.

    Oliver noted that the World Health Organization recommended testing protocol earlier this year, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention decided to create its own test. However, the tests didn't work properly due to contamination. On top of that, the CDC took weeks to create a workaround to make them usable, Oliver said. Meanwhile, private labs were hampered by bureaucratic regulations.

    He cited data showing that only 472 people in total were tested in the U.S. during the same time frame that South Korea, with one-sixth the population of the U.S., had completed 55,000 tests.

    As for antibody tests, there are 150 currently on the market, but none of them has been FDA-approved. Paraphrasing an expert, Oliver said that "many of the tests are garbage and over half of the positive tests right now would be wrong."

    He added: "Look, some confusion is inevitable when a new disease starts spreading its way around the world, and it's not like rolling out testing on this kind of scale was ever going to be easy. But again and again, the people in charge failed to prepare for the worst-case scenario and have been slow in fixing mistake. All of which means, in May, we are still playing catch-up in the middle of a pandemic, which in turn, means thousands upon thousands of people dying preventable deaths."

  • Ricky Gervais Explains How He Negotiated Judi Dench Golden Globes Joke

    David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images

    On NBC's Late Night With Seth Meyers on Monday, Ricky Gervais told the host how he negotiated his memorable joke targeted at Judi Dench's role in Cats while hosting the 2020 Golden Globes.

    The comedian said that he didn't spend much time preparing for the emcee gig. "I don't rehearse or anything like that, but I do have to show it to a lawyer just to make sure that I don't break the law or libel anyone or break taste and decency," Gervais explained of the jokes he wrote for the show. "And I never have. I've always read it to a lawyer an hour before and they’ve gone, 'Yeah, that's fine.'"

    Before the 2020 awards show, Gervais had a meeting with 15 lawyers. "I don't know if that was they're getting more nervous about me or the times have changed," he said. 

    "So I do the monologue. It's a tough crowd — 15 executives and some lawyers, right? But I do it and it's fine," he recalled. The executives and lawyers approved jokes about ISIS, sweatshops and pedophilia, yet "the big discussion was the riff on the movie Cats."

    Gervais said onstage that Dench's appearance in Cats "was the role she was born to play — because she loves nothing better than getting down on the carpet, lifting up her leg and licking her own minge."

    The lawyers took issue with the use of the word "minge," though Gervais explained that it's a "cute" British term. "It's not offensive at all. It's not a swear word," he said. "They went, 'Oh, okay.' And then one of them looked it up and said, 'It says vulgar term for vagina."'

    Gervais argued that "all slang is a vulgar term." The lawyers suggested that Gervais say "vagina" instead. "I went, 'I'm not gonna say vagina. That's worse! That's so clinical about Dame Judi Dench,'" he said. "And he went, 'I take it back.'"

    The group went through all of the words Gervais could use instead of "minge." He added, "All I'm trying to do is get them not to bleep it, 'cause it sort of ruins it. So I persuaded them that 'minge' was fine, okay?"

    "We settled on 'minge' and they said that they wouldn't bleep it and they still did," Gervais said. "But I knew they would."

  • James Corden Responds to Late Night Pranksters

    Courtesy of CBS

    Late Late Show James Corden responded to the YouTube pranksters who have been fooling stars into appearing on fake versions of late night shows. 

    YouTube creators Josh Pieters and Archie Manners fooled TikTok star Holly H. into believing that she was appearing on Corden's CBS show. "Seems like a lovely interview. Unfortunately I wasn't actually there for it," Corden said after airing a clip. He explained that Pieters and Manners "have been pretending to work for CBS and they've been booking guests for The Late Late Show and tricking them and interviewing them by using a soundboard full of snippets of me talking."

    Corden said that many people failed to catch on to the scheme. "Surely a host as dynamic and introspective and, let's be honest, as insightful as James Corden cannot be simply replicated with just a few quick soundbites," he said. 

    Pieters and Manners were also behind the fake interview that Tiger King's Carole Baskin thought she was giving to The Tonight Show. "Every show was trying to get Carole Baskin to do an interview. We couldn't get her and these guys were able to get her," said Corden.

    The host also questioned how the pranksters were able to convince the guests that they were the hosts throughout the interviews. "I can't help getting the overwhelming feeling that frankly I'm not as important to this job as I maybe thought I was," he said.

    Corden concluded the segment by addressing Pieters and Manners. "I will not be replaced with soundbites," he said. "In fact, I'm going to walk off right now to just prove how important I am to this show and you cannot do it without me."