Late Night Lately: Voter Initiatives and Emmys Prep

8:00 AM 9/19/2020

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.

Stephen Colbert, James Corden and Trevor Noah
Courtesy of CBS(2); 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 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: Stephen Colbert launched a ballot initiative to provide state-by-state instructions on how to register to vote, Trevor Noah presented his own awards show in the Pandemmys and James Corden had to temporarily go back to a virtual show after possible COVID-19 exposure.

— Compiled by Jennifer Konerman

  • Stephen Colbert Launches State-By-State Voter Guide "Better Know a Ballot"

    Stephen Colbert is helping Americans get out and vote with a new state-by-state resource guide, which the Late Show host debuted during his Tuesday show. Titled "Better Know a Ballot," the nonpartisan voter information campaign aims to eliminate the confusion around getting registered to vote and casting a ballot in the upcoming 2020 presidential election with its series of informational videos. Featuring Colbert's customized messages for all 50 states and Washington, D.C., the video guides break down how to register to vote, vote by mail and vote in person based on your state's specific laws.

    "It's not just important to vote. It's important to have a plan for how you're going to vote, because COVID will make this election unlike anything before. And if that wasn't enough, the rules regarding how to vote vary drastically from state to state," Colbert said during The Late Show's "Better Know A Ballot" initiative announcement.

    Those who visit the site can click on their respective state and get detailed information about its voter laws, with corresponding videos that "explain how to vote easily, early and safely where you live," he continued.

    "Some states do not allow you to cite coronavirus as a reason to vote absentee. Some states automatically send you an absentee request form, but not a ballot, and some states put chili on top of their spaghetti. That has nothing to do with the election but come on, Cincinnati, it's confusing," Colbert joked during the announcement segment. "So, I wanted to help make things easier for anyone who should be voting, which is everyone."

    The remainder of the state-based video voting guides will be posted by mid-October, but residents of states without videos can still go to the website and view their local voting laws and registration links now.

  • James Corden Goes Back to Virtual Show

    James Corden hosted The Late Late Show virtually on Monday for the first time since returning to in-studio filming in August after coming into contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19.

    The host opened Monday's episode with the revelation, appearing via Zoom. "Today, I was told that I'd come into contact with someone who recently tested positive for COVID-19," Corden said. "I've taken a test, that test has come back negative, but out of an abundance of caution and for everyone that works on the show, I'm gonna host the show over Zoom, way more than six feet apart from anyone."

    Corden went on to call his move back to virtual hosting "a shame" after "getting into a rhythm in the studio." It wasn't clear how long Corden plans to stay virtual, though health experts have recommended that self-quarantine last 14 days.

    Following the announcement, Corden made a handful of jokes about his new setup, telling one of the writers in-studio that, "I think there's a very real chance by the end of this week you'll just be hosting the show."

    The news comes just over a month after The Late Late Show returned to a redesigned set at Television City in Los Angeles. As part of his return, the host previewed the show's new filming protocols, including masked staff, hand sanitizing stations, socially distanced filming and germ shields, in a two-minute opening skit.

    The majority of the late-night slate has returned to in-studio filming, with Jimmy Fallon being the first to return to his studio back in July. Since then, fellow hosts Stephen Colbert, Seth Meyers and Corden have all pivoted from their virtual setups to filming in-person under a slew of precautions that support socially distanced filming. Among those measures are significantly reduced on-set crews, guests appearing via video chat and no studio audience.

    While Fallon's return saw him back filming at his studio in Rockefeller Plaza, Colbert, who also films in New York, returned to the Ed Sullivan Theater building but swapped the stage for a replica of his studio office floors below his real one.

    TBS' Conan O'Brien, who films in Los Angeles, opted to stay off the studio lot and relocated to the Largo at the Coronet, with fellow L.A. host Jimmy Kimmel planning to return to the El Capitan Entertainment Centre on Sept. 21 when he returns from his summer hiatus.

  • Trevor Noah Presents the "Pandemmys"

    Trevor Noah this week, in anticipation of the weekend's Emmy Awards, presented The Daily Show's "first, and hopefully last" Pandemmy Awards.

    The faux awards, Noah explained, were to award performances during the COVID-19 crisis, including nominees Mike Pence and Jared Kushner for "the most optimistic performance" and several nominees for "Best Karen."

    Trump was also given a special honor for "outstanding achievement in self-editing," referencing his reaction to the coronavirus pandemic over the past six months.

  • Trump Tells Bob Woodward He "Bailed Out" of Meeting After Someone Sneezed

    In a new audio clip from his interviews with President Donald Trump, Watergate journalist and Rage author Bob Woodward offered more evidence of how the U.S. leader knew about the dangers of the novel coronavirus earlier this year.

    Played for the first time during Woodward's appearance on The Late Show, the clip features audio from an interview with the president in April. The audio highlights Trump knew how "easily transmissible" the coronavirus was, with the president admitting he cleared a room after someone sneezed.

    "Bob, it's so easily transmissible you wouldn't believe it," Trump says in the clip. "I know it's, I mean, you can be in the room -- I was in the White House a couple of days ago, a meeting of 10 people in the Oval Office and a guy sneezed, innocently, not a horrible -- you know, it's a sneeze. The entire room bailed out, OK, including me, by the way."

    Woodward acknowledged the seriousness of Trump's statements, calling the president's Jan. 28 intelligence briefing with national security advisor Robert O'Brien and deputy Matt Pottinger "the most extraordinary meeting in the Oval Office I've reported on for about 50 years."

    "I once asked [Trump] what's the job of the president," Woodward said. "He said the job is to protect the people. I agree. I think most people in this country would, and he failed to protect the people. He failed to find a way to tell the truth."

  • Sharon Stone Talks Close Evacuation Call Amid California Wildfires

    Sharon Stone revealed how close she and her family recently came to evacuating their home amid the California wildfires while appearing on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon on Wednesday.

    The actress stopped by the show to discuss her new role in Ryan Murphy's latest Netflix series, Ratched, but her interview with Fallon began with Stone detailing what it's been like during the pandemic shutdown in California as the wildfires rage across the state. At one point, she commented on the poor air quality, noting that "it's raining ash, even in the house."

    "We have to be happy in the face of disaster," Stone told Fallon. "It's all we have. Our state is burning down. Two states over is burning down. We have no assistance."

    Stone then pivoted to her own close evacuation call, an emotional experience she said took place Tuesday after a neighboring home caught on fire. "So yesterday — I was just in tears yesterday because we had a fire," Stone said. "We're in a cul-de-sac street and we had a fire in our budding street — a house burning down."

    The actress went on to say that they have taken on the mentality of "leaving everything" and just going. Fortunately, she and her family ultimately didn't have to leave, but the actress said after the scare, she took a solo trip around the house, preparing herself  "in a calm way" to say goodbye to a lifetime of things.