On Sunday night, an impressive cast of comedians and actors poked fun at and celebrated retired late-night TV legend David Letterman as he accepted the Kennedy Center's 20th Mark Twain Prize for American Humor. Letterman's post-Late Show beard was a popular topic. "Dave has always had spot-on comedic instincts," Steve Martin said. "What better time than right now to insist on looking like a Confederate war general?" Amy Schumer joked later that Letterman "has successfully transitioned from a standup comic to a late-night host to a Civil War re-enactor," adding, "I'm glad you didn't look like that when you were the last thing we saw when we were going to bed at night."
Bill Murray, last year's Mark Twain Prize recipient, cracked Letterman up with a rundown of what his new honor means. "You're not exactly a god, but you're way up there," he said. "You will be able to walk up to any man or woman on the street, take a lit cigar out of their mouth, and finish it. You'll be able to board any riverboat in this country." And Letterman's psychiatrist, Clarice Kestenbaum, made a surprise appearance, paraphrasing a typical session: "'I'm dumb. People hate me. I have E.D.' Oh, Jesus, what a f---ing pity party. Don't get me wrong: He's crazy. Not Trump crazy. But who knows?"
Pearl Jam's Eddie Vedder played a Warren Zevon song on a guitar with Tom Petty's initials. There was a Top Ten List, Paul Shaffer led the band, and Late Show regulars made appearances. Letterman himself ended the show on a serious note, urging people to be nice to one another ("If you help someone, in any way, big or small, automatically you will feel good about yourself") and quoting Mark Twain's definition of patriotism: "Patriotism is supporting your country all the time, and your government when it deserves it." PBS will broadcast the entire ceremony on Nov. 20. Peter Weber
On Tuesday, lucky Brooklynites got to witness the rare spectacle of a rogue cow running around the Prospect Park area. On Tuesday's Jimmy Kimmel Live, Kimmel had an update on the situation, and it is happier than you might think, given the animal's provenance. "So this cow — which is not actually a cow, it was a baby bull — escaped from a slaughterhouse, the only slaughterhouse in Brooklyn that hasn't been converted into an art gallery/event space yet," he explained.
The NYPD finally wrangled the bull after two hours marauding around Brooklyn — something New York's finest have a surprising amount of experience with, Kimmel noted. "This is the third cow chase in New York in two years — I think you guys might be going a little overboard with the farm-to-table thing." But the bull isn't going back to the slaughterhouse, thanks to a very humane-sounding rule. The bad news for the cow, such as it is, took the form of a Harvey Weinstein joke, which was met with groans. "I'm still not sure if it's too soon yet," Kimmel said. Watch below. Peter Weber
It took four late-night talk show hosts to tell the story of Conan O'Brien's gift horse. O'Brien kicked it off on Friday's Late Show, and Letterman told his version Tuesday on Jimmy Kimmel Live, on tour in Brooklyn. Letterman approached the horse story indirectly, describing his penchant for giving humorously inappropriate gifts — tires for a niece's wedding, his tie collection to Kimmel, cigarettes for his producer's son's bar mitzvah, and a horse to O'Brien, as thanks for a very nice article O'Brien wrote about Letterman before his retirement.
The idea, Letterman explained, was that he would send Conan a horse, Conan would send it back, and Letterman would get a refund. Instead, O'Brien kept it, and Letterman said he was irked at both the financial hit and the fact that Conan is now griping publicly about his gift. "You did send him the horse, in all fairness," Kimmel pointed out. "Yeah, it was a joke — take a dump on the stage, load him up, get him back — that's what it was," Letterman said. "The point is, no good deed goes unpunished." "And also, you know what?" Kimmel replied. "When in doubt, an edible arrangement is a nice gift." But Kimmel, who also likes a good practical joke, had his own gift for Letterman.
O'Brien took about nine minutes to tell Stephen Colbert his side of the story. Conan, it turned out, was expecting a nice bottle of wine, or — when he heard about the size of the package — a vintage Porsche. The story ended happier for the horse than for O'Brien. "I learned then that Dave is a genius, but he's an evil genius," Conan said. "He knew exactly what he was doing." Watch below. Peter Weber
Americans aren't generally known for their love of poetry or classical music, but Bill Murray — a national treasure — has combined both on a new album, New Worlds, with German cellist Ken Vogler. The two men — who, in classic Murray style, began their collaboration with a chance meeting in an airport security line — are joined by violinist Mira Wang and pianist Vanessa Perez on their album and supporting tour, and all five were on Thursday's night's Late Show. In a bonus performance posted online, Murray recited Lucille Clifton's poem "Blessing the Boats" while Vogler played "The Swan," from The Carnival of the Animals by Camille Saint-Saëns.
Murray and Vogler's trio have created "a rather wonderful new species of performance art few others would have dreamed up or could have brought off so beautifully," Chicago Tribune classical music critic John von Rhein wrote in his review of their sold-out Chicago show. Certainly, they classed-up The Late Show. The poem, Murray's recitation, and the music are all lovely, and you can watch below. Peter Weber
From Hollywood to Washington, D.C., there is a toxic culture of male entitlement and systemic sexism, Seth Meyers said on Thursday's Late Night, and it's "not a partisan issue" — there are sexual predators of all political persuasions, and men on both sides of the aisle need to speak up "and address their complicity in the system that allows these things to happen."
Meyers took a closer look at the accusations of sexual harassment against Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein and President Trump, and their bullying of women who came forward with the allegations. Last October, Trump called the women who accused him of sexual harassment "liars" and threatened to sue them after the election. "As we know, Donald Trump keeps all his promises," Meyers deadpanned, "so those women were sued and found guilty at a trial held right next to the finished Mexican border wall on the same day ObamaCare was repealed."
As for Weinstein, who has been accused of sexual harassment by dozens of women and rape by at least three, he's been described by a lawyer as "an old dinosaur learning new ways," but there's no way that's accurate, Meyers said. "Dinosaurs don't learn new ways, they go extinct. ... If you're a dinosaur then this is your ice age, buddy, and unlike real dinosaurs, no one is ever going to try to bring back Harvey Weinstein." Such powerful, predatory men need to stop using their status to silence and bully their victims, and "women should not be held accountable" for the bad behavior of men, Meyers said. Watch the video below. Catherine Garcia
President Trump lashed out on the press Wednesday, accusing NBC News of spreading "fake news" with its report that Trump wanted to increase the nuclear arsenal "tenfold," but it was his follow-up that really irritated Seth Meyers.
In front of reporters at the White House, Trump said "it's frankly disgusting how the press is able to write whatever they want to write, and people should look into it." "People should look into it?" an incredulous Meyers repeated on Wednesday's Late Night. "Not only is he a wannabe dictator, he's a lazy wannabe dictator. It's not that hard to look into it; it's literally the First Amendment."
Meyers didn't just focus on Trump lamenting the fact that the United States has a free press; he also touched on Republicans who believe Trump is unstable, the similarities between Trump's presidency and a Rotten Tomatoes review of Jackass, and who has the higher IQ: Trump or Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. "I'm willing to bet any Rex would beat [Trump] in an IQ test, and most Rexes are dogs," Meyers said. Watch the video below. Catherine Garcia
In a new book, Frank Sinatra's longtime manager Eliot Weisman says that in 1989, casino magnate Donald Trump tried to renegotiate a deal for Sinatra to play Trump's new Taj Mahal casino, because the price negotiated by Trump's late business partner was "a little rich." Sinatra reportedly told Trump to "go f--k yourself." "It's amazing — people are now rising from the dead to curse at Donald Trump," Jimmy Kimmel said on Tuesday's Kimmel Live. "Now, I don't know if this story is true, but it does come from a reliable source. If only there was a way to verify if this really happened," he said, causing Sinatra's ghost to rise, microphone in hand, doobie-doobie-dooing and ring-a-ding-dinging.
Kimmel asked Sinatra's Rat Pack-era ghost about Trump. "That guy," Sinatra's ghost replied. "He's a doobie-doobie-douchebag," and Weisman's account is accurate but incomplete. To illustrate his feelings, he sang a familiar song, aided by a friendly ghost. The NSFW parts are bleeped out, baby. Watch below. Peter Weber
A Harrison Ford interview is a rare thing, but with his cover story in GQ and the new Blade Runner coming out, Ford appeared on Jimmy Fallon's Tonight Show on Thursday, charmingly grouchy as ever. Fallon said he'd read in the GQ interview that Ford likes drinking Scotch and telling jokes — half of which was in the article — and with an apology to his wife, Ford accepted the glass of almost unpronounceable whisky.
Fallon proposed telling jokes. "Are you Canadian?" Ford asked Fallon, who isn't. "I'm just asking because there's so many Canadians, Canadian ... humorists," Ford explained. "A lot of people think I'm Canadian, but I'm not," Fallon said. "No, no, a lot of people think you're a humorist," Ford shot back. Fallon laughed, then told a joke that Ford looked like he'd heard before, and Ford, nodding to his wife, told a cleaner one. They're both pretty good, but be sure to watch Ford's face. Peter Weber