Stephen Colbert’s ratings have been creeping back up over the last several months, even besting Jimmy Fallon’s for the late-night crown on a few nights. It’s probably got something to do with all of them politics happening right now, but maybe, just maybe, a little bit of the acclaim should be shared with great little oddball sketches like this one.
Jon Batiste, Colbert’s bandleader, starred in another fantastic bit of comedy writing last night. His latest “Piano 1-0-Fun” educational segment focuses on romance, just in time for Valentine’s Day, and Batiste’s love lessons will benefit absolutely anybody looking to improve their life. Not by helping them find a soulmate, or anything, but by providing a solid five minutes of hearty chuckles.
Batiste’s good-natured enthusiasm and sincere love of old-fashioned styles of music can sometimes be off-putting inside the Ed Sullivan Theater. His rapport with Colbert can still feel a little forced at times. He absolutely kills it in videos like this, though. His excitement and fundamental decency are a vital counterpoint to the absurdity of these pieces, in a way not too dissimilar to how Conan O’Brien’s genuine niceness always shines through on his show. That contrast, along with the simple absurdity of the whole thing, makes “Jon Batiste Teaches You How to Love” feel like something you could’ve seen on Late Night with Conan O’Brien 15 to 20 years ago. It’s the kind of comedy you’ll only see on a network during a late-night talk show, and worth watching for anybody who appreciates amiable absurdity.
Also check out Jon Batiste’s exclusive Paste Studio session, to put you in that “Christmas in February” mood.