April 20, 2016 – Dennis Quaid, Matt Walsh, Charles Bradley

Episode GuideEPISODE NUMBER: Season 1, Episode 125 (Wednesday, April 20, 2016)
GUESTS: Dennis Quaid | Matt Walsh | Charles Bradley
FEATURING: Tootie & Jimmy Heath sitting in with Jon Batiste and Stay Human
SEGMENTS: Monologue – Everyone Knows What You’re Doing on 4/20 | Cartoon Is Emperor of New York | Dennis Quaid | Matt Walsh | The Heath Brothers Sit In With Jon Batiste & Stay Human | Charles Bradley – “Ain’t It a Sin”
SUIT REPORT: Blue Suit | White Shirt | Grey Tie

Cartoon Trump celebrating New York victory

Cartoon Trump celebrating his trouncing of Ted Cruz in the Empire State by trashing the LSSC green room. Whoo-hoo!

Tonight’s episode is a pot-themed “celebration” of Donald Trump’s victory in the NY primary race, with Cartoon Trump (Brian Stack) deliciously on hand to explain how he plans to conquer the upcoming RNC convention in Cleveland. Hint: he’s going to make it raaaiinnnnn!!!!

We meet a cute new intern, Stoney Van Dankington, who educates us all about the historical significance of events that happened on 4/20 that have nothing to do with pot – but don’t worry, he’s going to get high later anyway.

We are then treated to a lengthy interview with Cartoon Trump. I get the impression that Brian Stack could improvise with the Trump voice and persona all day. It kind of reminds me of when Robert Smigel used to do Clinton on Late Night With Conan O’Brien in the early days – it’s kind of a comedy throwback maneuver but it works here.

Stephen ribs Dennis Quaid on his, well, impressive set of ribbed abs. Our fearless host needs to overcome his fear of showing his Dad Bod off in public. He has mentioned his fear of it several times recently. He looks great! I don’t know what he is so worried about -maybe he has a giant tattoo on his back he doesn’t want us to know about, a la Ben Affleck.

Matt Walsh is very familiar to Stephen, as an old improv friend from Chicago and former TDS colleague in the very early days of that program. Matt decided to turn his entire interview into a bit about bequeathing his grandmother’s beloved bong as both a “house warming” present and 4/20 gift. Stephen looks a combination of chagrinned and delighted with the gift. Later, jazz legends The Heath Brothers banter with Stephen, with Tootie Heath admitting that although he doesn’t play the horn much anymore, he “tooted” or toked some of the good stuff back in his day. Jon & the Band are on the floor with this admission.

Finally, if that weren’t enough show for you, we had music from Charles Bradley. I love that the show is giving so many diverse and new musical acts a chance to get “better known” on LSSC.

I have read criticism from some that it is not typical of late night hosts to adopt political stances, and LSSC is way too political, but with Stephen’s episode yesterday addressing the NC LGBT law controversy, and Cartoon Trump becoming a regular guest, I don’t think Team Stephen is going to be abandoning politics any time soon. Hopefully, the viewers will be able to grasp the comedy behind the political topics, as we all used to do so well on TCR. The DNA of this show is going to be one that embraces politics, and the presidential election is still very young.

Let us know what you thought of the show in the comments!

  • Great thoughts on the use of politics on the LSSC, Gina. I am glad that they continue to embrace political comedy. I feel like it is very important to the show. Stephen is obviously a political comedy giant and he honed that comedy way back on TDS.

    I loved seeing Cartoon Trump once again! The cold open was very funny as we saw a pantsless, partying, green room destroying Trump.

    I really enjoyed the interview with Matt Walsh. So nice of him to bring a gift! 🙂 I loved the story he told about Stephen getting on the PA system at TDS trying to hunt down his lost porn.

    • Gina

      Thanks Katie! For some reason I thought Matt was on TDS before Stephen, but apparently not. You can never trust Stephen around a PA system, you’re just asking for trouble 😉

  • Vansen

    I’m also glad that LSSC continues to embrace sociopolitical comedy. There are plenty of shows delivering amiable, unopinionated entertainment, but I don’t think “typical” is how Colbert wants his show to be remembered.

    I like that the best political pieces seem driven by a sense of calling out hypocrisy, bigotry and injustice, because often, comedy isn’t just about making people laugh, it’s also about making people think and question. And sometimes gasp.

    And yes, that glowing red Empire State Building didn’t look ominous at all…

    • Gina

      “…comedy isn’t just about making people laugh, it’s also about making people think and question. And sometimes gasp.”

      Yes! Exactly. That is what has made Stephen’s brand of comedy so powerful over the years. Don’t take that away from him.

      CNN is so ridiculous with all the gimmicky stuff I can’t even. And it’s even worse now because Al Jazeera America is off the air now, so I can’t get decent international news, just this constant American campaign stuff. How much can you talk about 5 candidates before you start talking in circles? I don’t even watch the minimal amount of cable news I used to.

      • K.V. Lady

        I don’t watch cable news at all, unless there is something/someone specific I want to see on a specific show, or there is breaking news about a tragedy (i.e., riots, a terrorist attack) and the local news isn’t giving it round-the-clock coverage.

  • K.V. Lady

    I agree on everyone’s thoughts about political satire…it really seems like the “old” Colbert is back; minus the character. He’s stopped trying to be Letterman and is embracing his gift for political satire and over-the-top absurdity that made all of us fall in love with him and that made CBS hire him.

    • Vansen

      Judging from the comments made by CBS so far, they hired Colbert because he brings something interesting and different to the table. And their decision to assign a showrunner with a background in news suggests that they’re happy for topical, political comedy to be a distinctive aspect of the show.

      Btw, the piece on Harriet Tubman was great.