Welcome one and all to The Tragic Queen. I’m your host Raquel Antonette.
Folks, *pauses for the crowd to die down* I recently had the privilege of seeing a live show of The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. How did I score such highly-coveted tickets, you might ask. Well, Valentina works as one of their interns and was kind enough to let me and a few others bum along to see a free showing.
Valentina signed an NDA so I’m not allowed to know anything about her internship. All I know is that I should be jealous, which I am. I’ve loved watching Stephen Colbert for years now so my excitement was palpable, so much so that the woman beside me told me that she was more excited to see me watch Stephen Colbert than to watch Stephen Colbert herself.
One of the best parts of this wasn’t just witnessing the interviews and the monologue but experiencing the fun aspects of being there in person. There is a comedian who comes out before Stephen Colbert does named Paul Mercurio who gets the crowd warmed up. He asks people in the audience to stand up and give anecdotes while he cracks jokes at their expense. That was how the whole group heard the story from a drag queen baker who makes penis-shaped cookies that he sold at churches with his queer blue grass group. Paul Mecurio made it very clear that he’s never gotten an answer like this before either.
Then, when Stephen comes out he does a bit of a Q & A with the audience. It ended after three questions, before I could ask mine. When he walked out, we cheered and even though he said that it wasn’t a competition who applauded the loudest, we won up in the balcony seats.
He joked about how rough the zoom format has been for the late show, since comedy is all about timing and it’s hard to have good timing when you’re cutting each other off and having to say, “no, you go ahead.” In the end, he told us how amazing it was that we could now all be in person for the show, since he does this, not just for us, but also because of us.
First he did his monologue, which only contained one foul-up when he got tripped up on his own tongue. “Let me try it again, this time with words.” He jokes, “No one will know about this, as long as they don’t have twitter,” he points to the audience. No, but at least one of us has a blog.
He gave a hilarious monologue, had fantastic banter with his guest, and kept the crowd energetic the whole night long, making it look easy.
His first guest was Sandra Bullock who was there to promote a film of hers about a writer who goes to Latin America and gets dragged into an adventure. I’m not saying that this movie sounds derivative, but I am saying that it would not exist without Romancing the Stone. It is, however, a zany comedy starring her and Channing Tatum.
We watched the two cold opens, his “Meanwhile…” segment, his extended interview with Sandra Bullock, and then his interview with Da’Vine Joy Rudolph, another star of the film. Sandra Bullock looked incredible, as if she was photoshopped just walking around. The two had such easy chemistry together. It was like you were witnessing a casual conversation between friends and not an extensive interview about a film that was about to come out. She promoted her film, talked about Betty White, showed us some bloopers from the film, and took the “Colbert Questionnaire,” a game in which he asks his guests a series of questions that I have seen enough times to know what my answers would be. I was surprised by how every section of the interview flowed just as seamlessly as it does when you watch the video online. There were no breaks or edits. What you watch on the show is exactly what happened.
Next came Da’Vine Joy Rudolph. She told a hysterical story about a time that she almost defended a dim sum restaurant from a shooter with knives. Thankfully, it didn’t come to that, but I am convinced that I could put my life in this woman’s hands and come out okay.
A couple of things I learned: the stage and desk aren’t as big and intimidating as you think they’re going to be. It’s literally just a man’s desk. Secondly, the interviews just go on straight through, not with any cuts in between, at least not from what I witnessed. The third thing I learned was that his band, “Stay Human” can really play, not that I had any doubts. The band went wild every chance they got.
Thank you very much, Valentina! You are a true friend for getting us these tickets– it definitely beats watching clips of the show in the bathroom– and The Late Show is unequivocally lucky to have such a talented person on their staff. Thanks again!
The Tragic Queen,
P.S.: In case you want to watch a clip of the episode that I saw in person, click here
(Those cheers are coming almost exclusively from me, believe it or not)