Late Night Last Week: Larry David, Red Lobster, and More

Comedy Features late night
Late Night Last Week: Larry David, Red Lobster, and More

Late Night Last Week is a column highlighting some of the best segments from the previous week of late night television. Today’s installment features clips from the week of June 3-9.

Larry David Admits to Using Richard Lewis’s Death to Cancel on Kimmel

Larry David on late night TV is always a must-watch. In recent years, David, despite his recluse reputation, has developed quite a rapport with Jimmy Kimmel. No one loves Kimmel’s “Mean Tweets” segment more than Larry. The two have even made plans to have dinner, though Larry showed up at Jimmy’s house on the wrong day

Watch David’s full Jimmy Kimmell Live! segment from last Thursday, and you may think the highlight would be an anecdote about his great-grandmother dating Nietzsche, a bit he cites as an example of why his stand-up career failed. But the real gem from the interview comes at the end, when Kimmel mentions that David’s appearance is a rescheduled one. He had been booked for the day after the Kimmel-hosted Oscars, on March 12, the same day David’s close friend and Curb Your Enthusiasm co-star Richard Lewis died

David, citing his friend’s death, understandably canceled his appearance. But, Kimmel reveals, he then ran into David at an Oscars afterparty. David does not mince words, or offer an excuse. “I used the death of my best friend to get out of doing a show I didn’t want to do in the first place,” he says. “Very simple.” What could be a more fitting tribute to Richard Lewis than that? 

Taylor Tomlinson Hosts a Plug Off 

The lifeblood of late night TV is the plug. For as long as there has been television, there have been rich people trying to get richer by selling stuff: books, movies, albums, tickets. You name it, someone is trying to sell it, and talk show hosts are more than willing to promote it if it means a full line-up of guests. I think it is what they call in business a “win-win.” 

Anyway, Taylor Tomlinson’s After Midnight is not the typical late night show. Sure, there are plugs. But guests must work for it. On Friday’s show, Taylor had her guests, comics Kelsey Cook and Brian Simpson, compete in a plug off. Each was given thirty seconds to plug whatever they liked with “no fake humility.” The audience then got to vote on a winner, in this fantastic stripping of the late night show to its capitalist core. 

Sydnee Washington on Safety in New York City 

The ever-hilarious Sydnee Washington made her debut on Late Night with Seth Meyers last Wednesday. With her “cleanest 5ish minutes,” Washington, a native New Yorker, came out swinging with a bit addressing the narrative that her hometown is not safe. She recounts drunkenly stumbling out of an Uber and laying out on the sidewalk as a group of men walked by. “Damn, the unhoused chicks are getting hot over here,” she remembers one of them saying, adding that they then walked away. “First of all, you know they didn’t say ‘unhoused,’” she adds. 

Washington, who is gay, ends her set on the subject of Pride. This month, Washington says, she is, in fact, celebrating the anniversary of a break-up. Washington posits that there should be a law against gay people breaking up with one another in June. “Straight people don’t break-up during Christmas,” she says. “And I feel like Christmas is Straight Pride.” Watch the full, extended set below. 

Kevin Matthew Kelp Gets to the Truth Behind Spelling Bees

Conspiracy theorist Kevin Matthew Kelp (Michael Kosta) is once again hard at work to bring the truth to The Daily Show audience. “For every they,” he says of his ongoing segment “Project Conspiracy,” “there’s a me.” His target this week: spelling bees, which, he says, are recruitment sites for the next generation of deep state recruits. 

Think about it: what could be more beneficial to the deep state than brainiacs who can memorize long sequences of letters? And what do the FBI, CIA, and NSA all have in common? To say them, you have to spell them. Kelp then infiltrates a local spelling bee/recruiting event. “No one needs to spell anymore,” Kelp says while interrogating a child. “We have autocorrect.” Checkmate, Deep State.

John Oliver Wants His Face on a Cake Bear

Our final highlight for Late Night Last Week concerns Last Week Tonight with John Oliver. On last week’s episode, Oliver bought a Red Lobster franchise in Kingston, New York after the company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Oliver and crew then took the trappings of the chain restaurant and served Cheddar Bay biscuits. 

The June 9 episode of the show had an aquatic theme. Following a pair of stellar and scary monologues on French politicians ignoring the pollution of the Seine in the lead-up to the Summer Olympics and the environmental threats posed by deep-sea mining, Oliver once again returned to Red Lobster. It turns out his team’s decision to purchase the restaurant caused a stir locally, including from a bakery owner who planned to purchase the used equipment. This lead Oliver to visit the bakery’s website and learn that their specialty items include a mini cake in the shape of a bear. So, Oliver makes them an offer: the show would give the bakery new equipment if they made a version of the treat with his face. “Make me a cake bear,” he pleads to the camera. “I want to be a cake bear.” We will have to wait until next week to see what happens next. Watch a clip from the June 2 episode here, and both episodes via Max.

Will DiGravio is a Brooklyn-based critic and researcher, who first contributed to Paste in 2022. He is an assistant editor at Cineaste, a GALECA member, and since 2019 has hosted The Video Essay Podcast. You can follow and/or unfollow him on Twitter and learn more about him via his website.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Share Tweet Submit Pin