February 2, 2016 – David Schwimmer, Pastor Joel Osteen, M. Ward

Episode GuideEPISODE 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

Exciting! We get a Colbert/Corden toss!

Exciting! We get a Colbert/Corden toss!

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.

Stephen Colbert and New York Newspapers

  • 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

We've seen this picture many times, but it never gets old.  Stephen and David with their college-era improv group, "No Fun Mud Piranhas."

We’ve seen this picture many times, but it never gets old. Stephen and David with their college-era improv group, “No Fun Mud Piranhas.”

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.)

Stephen Colbert and Joel Osteen

Covetton House

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:

Stephen Colbert Covetton House

  • 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.

Stephen announces that he and Jon Batiste are going to "hit the clubs," and then tries on his hat, which is not the greatest fit.

Stephen announces that he and Jon Batiste are going to “hit the clubs,” and then tries on his hat, which is not the greatest fit.

Now it’s your turn. Let us know what you thought of the episode in the comments!

  • Erika Bade

    It’s kinda cool to see Stephen tossing off to someone else, instead of the other way around! He’s now the leader, trying to help promote the show that follows him. CBS was all out pimping that Car Karaoke bit Corden was doing with Chris Martin, even showing part of it in my new’s broadcast, so I can see why they wanted The Toss tonight.

    So I had my crazy Aunt (with all affection I refer to her as that) watch the show because of Joel Osteen and she had a great time! 🙂 She loved the Iowa segment a lot and she’s mostly really conservative. It just goes to show, if right-wing people gave TLS a chance they might actually laugh! She also enjoyed the Osteen interview but commented that he seemed ill-at-ease during the whole thing. I think he knew what was coming and was just bracing for it……Stephen was going to mention the money he’s making. I agree with you, I think Stephen handled it perfectly. Even my Aunt caught Mr. Osteen in a lie, saying that he DOES ask for contributions. He doesn’t make promises attached to those contributions, at least to my knowledge, but he says they only go to TV fees and venue bookings and charity which I don’t believe for a second.

    I forgot that David Schwimmer can be actually pretty soft spoken, but luckily he knows Stephen so they were able to talk at length about all sorts of things anyway. I’m glad Stephen was able to plug The Looking Glass Theater for him. The bit about Schwimmer getting ripped, and it’s influence to Stephen, was pretty funny, although it’s very hard to quite picture.

    • DeeCee

      Interesting to hear your aunt’s perspective on the Osteen interview. And glad she enjoyed the show.

  • DeeCee

    I loved the David Schwimmer interview. Kind of felt like I was a fly on the wall listening in on a conversation of two old friends. Their affection for each other was palatable and I though it was lovely. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from the Joel Osteen interview but I thought it was handled well — the money part was mentioned with a bit of humor and the guest had time to plug his book and make his points as well. Sadly I went to sleep during the musical guest and missed the toss — darn it.

  • ColbertsLassNC

    I tried to post this last night, but it wouldn’t let me login to Disqus for some reason…

    I absolutely ADORED Stephen and James in their new version of the good ole TOSS! Though it brought up bittersweet feelings for some because of Jon, I thought it was a wonderful way for them to communicate with one another from coast to coast. This was absolutely adorable and I hope they keep it up!!!

    Sidebar – Though Stephen will always be my main guy, me turning more and more into a newfound Corden fangirl day-by-day is making liking these new things a little easier as well. We have a great late night team on CBS, for sure!

    • DeeCee

      I just saw the toss online. Adorable. I do like James Corden as well (when I’m awake). I saw him on Broadway in One Man Two Guvnors a few years ago and he was fantastic. James Corden is going to host the Tony awards this year.

      • Roseha

        Dee, where did you see the toss online? I didn’t see the end of the show, and it seems to be the one segment CBS didn’t put on Youtube (???). Makes no sense. I may have to go back to Tivo and fast forward to it but am wondering if it’s somewhere I haven’t seen yet. Thanks!
        I did enjoy the David Schwimmer interview with all the reminiscences between them and and the Iowa segment.

        • DeeCee

          I went to the late show episode online, clicked on the full episode, sat thru a commercial and when the episode started I clicked on the bottom to the last dot, sat thru more commercials, and it finally appeared. Way too many commercials IMO. Up to you if it is worth the time. Not a fan of the CBS site lack of things on YouTube — IMO is not helpful to the show.

          • Roseha

            Thanks so much Dee, I found it, though yes I think there were more commercials than when I watch the show live! Still, worth it to see the toss, it was delightful, they both really got into the spirit of it right away and it was great to see a little more of Jon and the band at the end as well. Hope they keep this up!

  • I really enjoyed Stephen’s Iowa Caucus segment. The New York newspapers cracked me up! The way they vote in the Iowa Caucus is completely insane. David Schwimmer’s interview was enjoyable. I’ve always gotten a kick out of that picture! It was nice to hear the two of them talk about their days at Northwestern and talk about The Lookingglass Theatre. (I’m looking at you, Gina!) I loved the toss with James Corden and can’t wait to see more!

    • Gina

      I know right, I was kinda freaking out! ^^

  • Twomey

    Christian evangelical ‘pastors – in bygone days they would have pulled up in an ornate wagon selling snake oil and cure-all bottled tonics…

  • K.V. Lady

    My favorite part of the episode was Covetton House. I laughed so hard at Stephen’s “products!” How ridiculous is it that Anthropologie is selling what looks like Oscar’s trash can from Sesame Street?
    I also loved the David Schwimmer interview. That’s so cool that they went to college together and I loved hearing all their old stories.