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Last Night on Late Night, 8/10/15: Jon Stewart signs off, John Oliver on sex ed, and Don Rickles

Last Night on Late Night, 8/10/15: Jon Stewart signs off, John Oliver on sex ed, and Don Rickles

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Real comedy still happens on late night, we can prove it. If you like Conan comedy gold, Fallon friendliness, cutesy Corden, kneedy Kimmel, and all the rest, I hope you’ll enjoy this column too.

The muddled on-again off-again summer schedule of late night shows continues, and last week Kimmel sat out again. There was still a lot to talk about, though. First, Jon Stewart, intrepid and incredible host of The Daily Show for sixteen years, retired. We’ll take a look at some of the interesting content The Daily Show has made for his exit. Other than that, John Oliver delivered an incisive and pointed report on sexual education in US schools, Don Rickles told Jimmy what’s what, and Conan had a lark with a TV-MA rating. Plus, more from the already-amazing The Late Show with (starring) Stephen Colbert.

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver 

  • The main story on last week tonight was sex education in American schools, or lack thereof. Oliver points out that there’s no national guidelines for sex education at all, and that these matters are left to individual states. Unfortunately, only twenty-two American states mandate sex education in middle school, and only thirteen require that information to be scientifically accurate. Odd though that sounds, it’s the truth. Appallingly, some states even have laws on the books to limit/disallow any supportive or positive education for gay students. Oliver goes through the many reasons why this is a big issue. There’s an abundance of victim blaming, patriarchal/sexist attitudes, and poor fulfillment of the state’s educational responsibility to children. The outdated sex ed tapes on the show are funny and disturbing, the still gainfully employed abstinence teachers/preachers are only disturbing.
  • Watch as Oliver educates America with his own sex ed tape, with a little help from his friends.

  • Oliver continues to be a light of honesty, candor, and hope in our bleak TV-scape. Continuing and improving on a staple from The Daily Show, Jon Stewart’s longish-form rants, Oliver really is alone in the late night world, taking on serious issues with the respect, research, and tone they deserve nearly every week.

The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon 

  • The irreplaceable legend, Don Rickles.

  • After heckling Jimmy and The Roots, Rickles continues.
  • “It’s not the talent, it’s ’cause you’re loud”

  • I would love to see Jimmy’s Clark Gable impression.
  • Amazing that Rickles guest hosted the show for Johnny, on that stage, fifty years ago. Rickles is obviously thus forgiven for the Clark Gable reference.
  • “This goes to headquarters…”. Amazing.
  • Popping a monkey
  • Don on Johnny.

Conan

  • Conan got to have a little fun with their first ever TV-MA rating.


The Daily Show with Jon Stewart 

  • A lot of outlets have published amazing essays this week on what Jon “A Man Who Was on TV” Stewart meant to comedy, late night TV, American politics, and so much more. Indeed, even Arby’s, Jon’s natural enemy, has a new sandwich dedicated to him, The Daily Deli.
  • I’ll leave all that to them. Let it just be said that, to me, Jon was the guy. His show might not’ve always been riotously funny, but it wasn’t always supposed to be. As Jon aged, the political climate, racial climate, banking-regulations/big-business-climate, and the climate-climate all worsened. Where Jon’s protégé’s character, Colbert, could feign support for all Earth-ending events to satirize them, Jon had to be direct and talk right down the barrel of the camera with his truths.
  • It was clear, watching the finale with that cast of past correspondents and contributors back to say goodbye, that in recent years The Daily Show has been as much, if not more of, a place to start for young talented comedians, writers, and actors. Just ask Steve Carell, Ed Helms, Stephen Colbert, Samantha Bee, or John Oliver. The unending list of talent that The Daily Show channelled into the mainstream is a testament to Jon’s ability to identify and empower.
  • The full cast of characters in this touching bit is noteworthy.
  • Colbert says goodbye.
  • Jon is Frodo, “basic cable fellowship of funny”, Colbert knows his Rings.
  • The ring of power in this metaphor is a metaphor for power.
  • Jon goes to the Goodfellas well one last time.
  • Jon turns one last time to camera 3, and gives some sage words on the nature of bullshit.
  • Jon gives us a great distillation of his show’s ethos: If ya smell something, say something.
  • Jon gives a great “Exit Interview” with the The Daily Show podcast, hosted by his longtime writers and producers.

Late Night with Seth Meyers 

  •  Stump for Trump.


The Late Late Show with James Corden

  • Gordon Ramsey and his daughter Tilly are quite the duo.

  • I vote for James’ English breakfast.

The Late Show with Stephen Colbert 

  • All of the Late Show podcasts have been great. Many are conversations between Colbert, writers, and producers, providing an inside look and preview into the ideas/structure/process of the show.
  • This particular bit is a clip called TLS Radio Coverage of Historic Flag Lowering (about the Confederate Flag in South Carolina). Although many feared CBS and the traditional late night format might neuter Stephen’s sharp, sardonic, satirist wit, thankfully that appears to be just a frightful fancy.
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