Late Night Lately: Reflections, Education and Summer Breaks

8:00 AM 6/20/2020

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 June 20 graphic - H 2020
Courtesy of Comedy Central; Jason Mendez/Getty Images; ABC

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: Trevor Noah spoke about the killing of Rayshard Brooks in Atlanta, saying, "in just a few seconds every part of that normal story turns into the abnormal ending that we've come to know as interactions with police and Black people." Late Night's Amber Ruffin offered an explainer on Juneteenth and its history, Gabrielle Union spoke with Noah about Hollywood's issues with accountability and former Bachelorette Rachel Lindsay discussed her thoughts on the recent casting of the franchise's first Black Bachelor. Elsewhere, Jimmy Kimmel announced he is taking the summer off in order to spend more time with his family. 

— Compiled by Jennifer Konerman 

  • Trevor Noah Reflects on Rayshard Brooks: "You Don't Deserve to Die for Being Drunk"

    Trevor Noah gave an impassioned speech about the fatal shooting of Rayshard Brooks during Monday's Daily Show. On June 12, Brooks fell asleep in his car at a Wendy's drive-thru in Atlanta. Someone at the restaurant called the cops, and once the cops arrived, they got Brooks out of his car and started talking to him.

    Everything initially seemed to be "going well" between Brooks and the cops, Noah said, though "in just a few seconds every part of that normal story turns into the abnormal ending that we've come to know as interactions with police and Black people."

    The police attempted to arrest Brooks and he resisted. "In the scuffle, they try and tase him. While he's being tased, he grabs the taser, he gets up, he runs away," recapped Noah. "The police chase him. As he's running, he shoots off the taser and one of the cops switches his weapons from a taser to a gun and shoots Rayshard two or three times in the back and he's dead."

    People were quick to choose sides after the killing. "That's what plagues me about these stories. Everyone just goes to their battle stations," said Noah. "Immediately people go, 'Well, once again, another example of Black people resisting the cops and being criminals' and 'Why are you driving drunk?' and 'Why are you running away from the police?'"

    "Then, of course, you have other people, you know, in their battle stations saying, 'Oh, of course. Another story of cops who immediately shoot a Black man for just sleeping in his car,'" he continued.

    "No one wants to admit that the thing is messy," said the host. "We should try and break it down and understand how something like this comes to be because we don't always have video like this. We don't always have stories like this."

    He called out the police for being armed when approaching Brooks. "No one at Wendy's felt afraid. Cars are driving around him. He's not stopping people from ordering food," said Noah. "So why are armed police there in the first place?"

    Noah then questioned why the cops didn't offer to help Brooks get home safely. "The man says to them, 'I will walk home.' If you're protecting and serving people, what is the true purpose of you not wanting people to drive drunk? It's that you don't want them killing themselves and other people. In this instance, no one has died because of his driving and he hadn't killed himself because of his driving."

    The Daily Show host said he wished an officer would have given Brooks the benefit of the doubt and helped him get home because "the country's burning down because of the way Black people are dealt with by the police." He added that he wished the cop would have told Brooks, "Let us show you, just in a moment, that it doesn't always have to end the way you think it has to end."

    Noah added that the situation got even messier because Brooks was reportedly drunk. Noah noted that drunk people aren't able to make important and rational decisions, so the police should have taken that into consideration. "It doesn't mean they deserve to die. They're drunk," he said. "You don't deserve to die for being drunk."

    "If police cannot respond or handle a drunk person, well then they shouldn't be responding," continued Noah. "The whole point of you going there was to make sure that people don't die because of whatever's happened, but if the people are gonna end up dead anyway, then what's the point?"

    "People always say the same thing. They go, 'Well, you know, if you didn't do that, then you would still be alive,'" he continued. "The truth is, the ifs keep on changing. 'Oh, if you didn't resist arrest. If you didn't resist arrest, you would still be alive.' Or 'If you didn't run away from the cops, you would still be alive.'"

    "There's one common thread beyond all the ifs," Noah concluded. "If you weren't Black, maybe you'd still be alive."

  • Amber Ruffin Answers Frequently Asked Questions About Juneteenth

    Late Night writer Amber Ruffin answered frequently asked questions about Juneteenth during Thursday's episode of the NBC show.

    "Juneteenth is the anniversary of June 19, 1865. That's the day the last American slaves were freed, otherwise known as the last good day in black history. No, I'm just kidding a little bit," she said. "It's the day we celebrate our freedom and see how far we've come."

    Ruffin was next asked why Juneteenth began in 1865 when the Emancipation Proclamation freed slaved in 1863. "After slaves had been freed and the Civil War was over, some people in Texas still had slaves and would not let them go," she said. "Then they were arrested for brazenly disobeying the law. Just kidding. Slave owners have never been punished."

    She also said that white people can celebrate Juneteenth. "You celebrate it by being thankful that your black friends and family are free to be whatever they want to be," she said. "Then you do your best to make that statement true. No costumes please."

    Another person asked if people will get Monday off of work if Juneteenth falls on a weekend. "I don't have the authority to make that decision, but I'm gonna say, 'Yes, definitely,'" she said.

    "Does the holiday Juneteenth make up for all the-" Ruffin read. "No. We're not gonna finish that question. The answer is 'no,' no matter what the end of it was."

    For the final question, Ruffin answered how people can address systemic racism. "Hire black people. Defund the police. Call out white supremacy. Fight the power. Be antiracist. And most importantly, stop asking black people how you can address systemic racism," she said. "I don't have time to answer all of your questions. I have to go buy a car."

  • Kimmel Announces Summer Break

    Jimmy Kimmel is taking a hiatus from his late-night show. 

    During Thursday's broadcast of Jimmy Kimmel Live!, the host announced that the episode would make his "last new show for the summer." "I'm taking the summer off to spend even more time with my family," Kimmel announced. 

    "I've been doing this job for almost 18 years. I've done 3,130 shows and there's nothing wrong. My family is healthy, I'm healthy. I just need a couple of months off," he explained. 

    While on break, Kimmel said "a cavalcade of very kind and capable people will be filling in" for him. 

    During Kimmel's announcement Thursday, actor Matt Damon made a guest appearance, marking the latest installment in the mock feud existing between Kimmel and Damon, which has lasted for more than a decade.

    "I've been back here for three months waiting to get on," Damon told Kimmel, as he donned a robe and mask, joking that he's been staying at Kimmel's studio amid the pandemic. 

  • Gabrielle Union Reflects on 'AGT' Investigation and Hollywood's Accountability Problem

    When it comes to Hollywood's ongoing issues with inclusivity and diversity, Gabrielle Union says for true change to happen, "we have to hold people at the very top accountable." Appearing on The Daily Social Distancing Show on Tuesday, the actress noted that there's a stronger need than ever for the industry to address problematic practices and people. 

    Before Union and Noah discussed the discrimination she experienced at America’s Got Talent, the actress shared that between the pandemic and waking up daily to the "murder of Black bodies," being a Black woman in America right now is "just one big anxiety attack." 

    Union was let go from the NBC competition series following accusations that she experienced racial insensitivity and a toxic culture at NBC. A joint investigation by the network, producers Fremantle and Simon Cowell's Syco followed, and a conclusion in May noted the show "demonstrated an overall culture of diversity," though it did discover "some areas in which reporting processes could be improved." Union recently filed a new complaint against the show, asking California authorities to examine racism on the set. 

    The actress reflected on her first day on AGT, saying she found Simon Cowell smoking cigarettes inside, something she said she'd never experienced in her work. "When your boss, the person who has ability to determine who gets opportunities, believes law doesn’t apply to him... and he does it in full view of NBC and Fremantle and Syco. And no one cares he’s exposing employees to secondhand smoke — that's day one, that's within the first hour — what message do you think that sends to anyone that has an issue with the very real racism and lack of accountability?"

    Union continued that, overall, her goal is for employees to be treated fairly. "Nobody is asking for anything special, nobody is asking for somebody to separate their Skittles or M&Ms...just treat people fairly. Have mechanisms in place for when things happen, there are consequences."

    When asked what can the industry improve upon to help Black people on all levels, Union said the notion of "going along to get along" must end. 

    "We have to be able to be okay with change that doesn’t always benefit us," Union shared. "Some people believe that leadership — the only way to lead — is to center yourself in every argument. What I’m learning throughout this whole process is sometimes the best way to lead is to get out of the way and make room for someone else. You have to dismantle the whole thing. You cant put a bandaid on a gunshot."

  • Rachel Lindsay Talks Black 'Bachelor' Casting

    Former Bachelorette Rachel Lindsay opened up about her feelings toward ABC's decision to cast the first-ever Black Bachelor in Matt James.

    "I'm excited that there's a Black Bachelor... but I hated the timing of it because it does seem like a reaction to what is happening in our country," Lindsay told Watch What Happens Live host Andy Cohen on Wednesday. 

    Though happy for James, Lindsay argued, "did a man have to die in such a public way on a national stage for you to say now is the time for us to have a Black Bachelor?" She continued to explain that the sudden casting seems to be "taking away from this moment." Lindsay also said she wished the network waited to announce James, who should be recognized as the "right man chosen" rather than one chosen "just for this time." 

    Rather than simply cast a Black Bachelor, Lindsay said she also hoped from ABC "some acknowledgement that they've been wrong and part of the problem." Prior to James' casting, Lindsay shared an emotional blog post, calling for the "systemic racism" within The Bachelor franchise.

    Lindsay — the first and only Black lead since the franchise's 2002 debut — later explained that during her season she experienced racism from the audience, and though she didn't state whether she experienced racism from producers, Lindsay did share that she did have a racist contestant on her season. Because of her experience, Lindsay expressed her hope that the franchise does a "better job at vetting contestants" by having a person of color involved in casting decisions to prevent any discrimination.