EPISODE NUMBER: Season 1, Episode 83 (Tuesday, February 2, 2016)
GUESTS: David Schwimmer | Pastor Joel Osteen | M. Ward
EXCLUSIVE(s): M. Ward – “Girl From Conejo Valley”
SEGMENTS: Monologue | Everyone Was a Winner in Iowa, Except the Losers | David Schwimmer | Stephen Presents the Covetton House Winter Line | Pastor Joel Osteen | M. Ward – “Confession” | Toss with James Corden
SUIT REPORT: Grey Suit | White Shirt | Turquoise Patterned Tie
Everyone Was a Winner in Iowa
Tonight’s episode is slow to warm up, with a brief monologue dedicated to topic du jour, Groundhog Day, and Stephen marveling at a changed-up backdrop on the huge monitor behind him. He makes several jokes about the absence of the usual New York City scene and the starry sky that has replaced it. I do like when Stephen goes off script, when he is loose and just riffs on what’s going on around him. Once again, however, when Stephen gets into covering the Iowa Caucus results, he is in his stride.
First, he delves into the highly intricate and sophisticated manner in which some delegates decided upon their candidate, a coin toss. Hillary won by the narrowest of margins in Iowa.
- Bernie’s trash-talking of money in politics so much that the coins have turned against him.
- Instead of gambling for [the delegates] I think the candidates should share them. Ok, delegates? You’ll spend Thanksgiving with Bernie, and Christmas with Hillary, and they’ll trade off every other weekend, and here’s the best part, you’ll have 2 race car beds! The important thing to remember, Iowa voters, is that it’s not your fault. They both love you equally, and you’ll get lots of attention, at least until the new baby arrives (image shown of New Hampshire.)
Stephen particularly enjoys how local New York newspapers post-Caucus show little “loyalty” to the “New York Values” candidate, Mr. Trump.
- These are your “New York Values,” thanks for sticking up for us. Oh, you came in second? Go f*ck yourself.
- President Trump, the North Koreans have violated the Demilitarized Zone. Secretary of Defense Meatloaf is ready to launch the nukes.
It seems that the Colb-barbs are sharpening against Trump as we go deeper into the election cycle. Newbie viewers may surprised by the crispness of Stephen’s edgy humor on this topic, because he really doesn’t like Trump. At least as a presidential candidate, maybe as a ratings-grabber, but ’tis all. Stephen also ended on the sad state of Ben Carson’s campaign.
- Newscaster: “Ben Carson is taking a quick break from the campaign trail. He told reporters in Iowa he’s taking quick break from the campaign trail to his Florida home for 24 hours to grab some fresh clothes.” Stephen: When he saw he finished a distant fourth in a state he used to lead, Ben Carson suddenly needed to change his pants.
- I think Carson is making a critical mistake with his “fresh clothes” strategy, because right now Bernie Sanders is surging, and I don’t think this man has changed his clothes in years.
Interviews – David Schwimmer & Joel Osteen
Next, Stephen’s fellow Northwestern classmate and old friend David Schwimmer appears. I feel a slight personal connection because I was there when a theatre that David founded, The Lookingglass Theatre, bestowed upon Stephen a really lovely Civic Engagement Award in 2013. At that time, I was not aware of their personal connection but the warmth that the two men share for one another was really palpable. I think everyone feels the love in this episode as the two reminisce about their days as students and then struggling young actors trying to break through. Schwimmer says some nice things about Stephen, especially when talking about his improv chops:
Stephen: Did you enjoy improvisation?
David Schwimmer: You know, I am going to be really honest….(turns to audience) this is really true, I’m not lying. Steve, I could never keep up with him. Your mind is just so ridiculously fast…it’s the God’s honest truth, and I was actually was really grateful for being in that group with you, because I realized, “oh, that’s why I can’t do that. That’s why I should go into acting and not that.”
Next, onto Pastor Joel Osteen. I know many of you voiced concerns about having a televangelist on the show, but I think that Stephen handles him pretty well. A lot of times with controversial or potentially polemic guests, it strikes me that Stephen tries to find a common ground of some kind, in this case, focusing on Osteen’s positive motivational messages, soften the subject up, and then get in some biting questions, which (usually) pleases the crowd:
Pastor Osteen: Our message is a little bit different. Our message is that God is for you, that you can recover from a fall, that you can reach your dreams, that you don’t have to live under the guilt of condemnation.
Stephen: As a TV preacher, how do you feel about the image that people have of TV preachers saying “give me your cash, and you too will get cash.” […] Do you ask people to send you cash?
Osteen: No, we don’t.
Stephen: Oh, that’s refreshing. (shakes Osteen’s hand) Let me ask you this, regardless, do people send you cash anyways?
Osteen: People send cash anyway.
(Stephen pantomimes washing his hands, as in washing his hands of a certain untoward situation.)
We are also treated to a “Winter” edition of Covetton House, Stephen’s fake lifestyle brand. This is such a great topic, satirizing the pathetic ways celebrities try to capitalize on their fame by marketing sometimes shoddy and definitely overpriced products. This edition also allows Stephen to riff on his surprise starry-night background:
- Thank you for joining me up here in my decorative canyon!
In some ways, this segment has shades of the old Colbert Platinum, which highlighted ostentatious shows of wealth and basically rip-offs of the high-end caliber. I always felt that was an underrated segment on The Colbert Report, so it’s nice to see that theme continuing here.
The tail end of the episode treats us to funky musical performance by M.Ward, and finally, a toss! Yay! It’s great to see baby-faced James and Stephen successfully chatting with each other three time zones apart. James is eager to talk about Jon Batiste’s often audacious wardrobe choices. Hopefully more tosses will follow in the future. It makes some of us nostalgic for the days of the fantastic Stewart/Colbert exchanges, but, we can look forward to these two gents continuing to work together to make some real “Hours of Power” for CBS.
Now it’s your turn. Let us know what you thought of the episode in the comments!