Friday Fun – Welcome to Night Vale on The Late Show

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I haven’t had time to consistently keep up with The Late Show with Stephen Colbert recently; it’s partially a product of the difficulty of keeping up with yet another daily show and partially a side effect of me being bummed that I had to give up my tickets for a taping of the show because of these stupid crutches and cast. I don’t know that I’ve watched a full episode since the show premiered in September, but thanks to the wonders of the Internet I’ve been able to watch a segment here and there to keep myself at least sort of up to date on how the show is progressing. It’s not perfect, but if I can throw a few YouTube hits the show’s way, at least I am supporting the show a little (even if Colbert has clearly cursed me – I sprain my ankle on my way to his secret taping in August and then break the same ankle when I get tickets to his show. That can’t be a coincidence. Colbert is all knowing).

One of the things that I’ve noticed about The Late Show under Stephen Colbert‘s tenure is that that he books some unusual and interesting guests. While he has the obvious big name celebrity guests, he also has people on that you might not automatically expect to see on a late night talk show – authors, entrepreneurs, artists and politicians. It actually makes the show more appealing to me; while watching movie stars play games is a lot of fun, it’s also kind of cool to learn more about what the guy behind Airbnb thinks about things. It distinguishes the show and while it isn’t necessarily a recipe for mainstream success, I’m not sure that is what The Late Show is necessarily courting. They are creating their own niche and I think the right people will gravitate to them.

For example, last night Colbert has on the creators of the podcast Welcome to Night Vale, a show that is widely popular in certain circles but that doesn’t necessarily enjoy household name recognition. Though I am wildly behind on the podcast and it’s not necessarily my exact cup of tea, I enjoy Welcome to Night Vale enough to have seen the live show when it came to town. It’s a little too sci-fi/absurdist for me to totally love it, but it is fun to listen to. It’s not something that you’d expect to see featured on a talk show, but by appearing on The Late Show it may have reached a whole new audience who didn’t know about its existence but would totally dig it. They gave a little taste of what the podcast is like, so if you like what you hear you might want to give the rest of the show a chance:

 

I hope that Colbert continues this streak of bringing on some different and more obscure guests. By giving these people a bigger platform, it allows more people to either discover something knew or hear from people that they wouldn’t normally hear from. I think that is an important service and makes competitive sense; The Late Show can’t beat The Tonight Show at it’s own game, so they might as well be a talk show of a different color. To this point, I think Colbert and company have achieved that.

Pop Culture Odds and Ends – Colbert Edition

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This is a sad week for me as I have to say goodbye to one of my favorite programs. After 9 years on the air, The Colbert Report will end tomorrow night. Stephen Colbert is moving on to take over Letterman’s hosting duties on The Late Show over at CBS and while I wish him well I am going to really miss The Report. Not only was it must-see viewing because it was a biting satire, but it also was a show that helped people understand politics and become more informed about their government. He was able to explain Super PACs to millions of people – something that as a former political science professor, I can appreciate the difficulty of doing. He made us laugh, but he also did good; he used his platform to call attention to a lot of issues and to raise money for multiple charities. The Colbert Report was part of my daily routine – after a stressful day at work (and lately there are no other days), I could come home and relax with the 1-2 punch of The Daily Show and The Colbert Report (with The Tonight Show for dessert).  I’d laugh, I’d keep up on current events and I’d briefly forget about whatever was driving me crazy that day. It’s just not going to be the same without the show and the character that he has created.

So Thursday is going to be a rough day for me – on top of saying goodbye to Stephen Colbert, the character, it is also the finale of the first season of the Serial podcast. This is way too much change. I don’t like change. I don’t know if I can handle this.

While I try to adjust to this brave new world, check out this week’s pop culture roundup. This may be the holiday season, but there is still plenty going on in the world of pop. So take a break from your holiday preparation, kick back and get yourself caught up on some of the stories you may have missed.

  • Here’s a rap about listening to Serial:

 

  • I so want to be friends with John Krasinski and Emily Blunt:

 

  • I hate snow and winter, but for Jon Hamm I’d move to Alaska:

 

The Sony hack is the gift that keeps on giving if you love celebrity gossip. So far we have learned:

  • Sir Ian McKellen dropped by Sesame Street:

 

  • Production has wrapped on the final season of Parks and Recreation.

  • Liam Neeson has teamed up with Linked In to promote Tak3n:

 

  • Here’s the oral history of my favorite part of Big Hero 6 – the Baymax fist bump.
  • Here’s Mark Ruffalo in a commercial from 1989:

 

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  • Beyoncé released a short film:

 

Now for some trailers

  • Pixar’s Inside Out:

 

  • Mad Max: Fury Road:

 

  • Season Three of The Americans:

 

  • The first look at The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore:

 

  • Hot Tub Time Machine 2:

 

  • Insurgent – the sequel to Divergent:

 

  • The Little Prince:

 

  • A red band trailer for Kingsman: The Secret Service:

 

  • Sean Penn in The Gunman:

 

  • Season two of Broadchurch:

 

  • Cinderella:

 

  • A teaser for Glee’s final season:

 

  • Christian Bale in Knight of Cups:

 

  • Bill Nye explains evolution with emoji:

 

  • Norman Bridwell, the creator of Clifford the Big Red Dog, has passed away.

 

As always, we end with the mashups and supercuts

  • Taylor Swift’s 1989 album in three minutes:

 

  • Here’s every on-screen death in the Lord of the Rings trilogy:

 

  • Here’s a Star Trek/Parks and Recreation mashup:

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  • A supercut of parties in the movies:

 

  • A mashup of the best viral videos of 2014:

 

  • A supercut of the 4th season of Conan:

 

  • Bing Crosby sings death metal for Christmas:

 

  • A mashup of Darlene Love performing “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)” on Letterman:

 

  • Here’s another mashup of the year in music:

 

  • This is the first year my Pumpkin has seen a Christmas tree. Let’s hope it goes better than this:

 

  • Here’s a supercut of the best Christmas trees from TV:

 

  • And finally, The Hobbit meets The Office:

Pop Culture Odds and Ends – Awards Season Edition

It’s the most wonderful time of the year – no, not Christmas, but the beginning of awards season. While some people are looking forward to decorating their tree or picking out the perfect present, I am anticipating all the great new movies that are coming out and who will be nominated for all the top awards. To me, December 25th is the day that The Wolf of Wall Street comes out; is there something else going on?

Until we are inundated with awards ceremonies, kill some time by perusing my biweekly roundup of pop culture stories that you may have missed. There is a lot of pop culture goodies this week.

  • Someone made a recreation of the mall chase scene in The Blues Brothers with LEGOs:

Shh….don’t tell anyone, but I’ve never seen The Blues Brothers.

  • Stephen Colbert, a huge Tokien fan, will have a cameo in the second The Hobbit film.
  • I am still mad at you people for not watching Happy Endings, but you can redeem yourself when the entire series airs on VH1.
  • This is great – some child actors re-enacted the “triple-dog-dare” scene from A Christmas Story on a NYC subway:

Seriously – my subway rides are so boring compared to this.

  • Lady Gaga is going out on tour; I’m trying to convince myself that I don’t have to go.
  • The Anchorman 2 publicity train made a stop at Saturday Night Live last weekend:

 

  • Ron Burgundy does some legendary sports calls:

 

  • Though his hosting duties on Sportscenter were scrapped, ESPN released Ron Burgundy’s interview with the great Peyton Manning:

 

  • Starting December 27th, AMC is airing every episode of Breaking Bad. So all you people that haven’t caught up officially no longer have any excuses. It will be followed by a marathon of The Walking Dead.
  • If you are still on the fence about seeing Frozen after my review, watch the full performance of the song “Let It Go.” If that doesn’t convince you, nothing will.
  • Everyone’s favorite local sports anchor is back with a segment with 43 Christmas Vacation references:

 

  • Speaking of…meet the contestants for the 6th season of perhaps America’s greatest reality show.

 

  • See Mad Men’s John Slattery before he became a silver fox:

 

  • Some Breaking Bad graffiti turned up in Leicester Square:

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  • There is a petition to name a newly discovered planet after Doctor Who’s homeland Gallifrey.
  • This star of Inside Llewyn Davis does a folk version of Katy Perry’s “Roar” on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon:

 

  • Dann Florek (Captain Cragan) is leaving Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.
  • We have done something to anger the Gods; Rebecca Blank (“Friday”) is back with a new song, the aptly titled “Saturday.” Only 5 more days to go and this nightmare is over:

 

  • The Kardashian/Jenner clan (klan?) have released their Christmas card and it’s batshit crazy  (and missing a lot of people):

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  • The Killers cast Owen Wilson in their new music video:

 

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  • I have never had a barista this talented:

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  • Watch Snoop and Martha Stewart make some mashed potatoes:

 

  • Chris Elliott will appear on this season of Community.
  • Bart Simpson made an appearance on American Dad:

 

  • Actress Malin Akerman and her husband have split.
  • Jay Z ranked his own albums.
  • Benedict Cumbatch reading R. Kelly lyrics is fantastic:

 

Trailer break!

  • Barefoot with Evan Rachel Wood

 

  • A red band trailer (NSFW) for Jason Bateman’s directorial debut, Bad Words.

 

  • A teaser trailer for the new season of Community:

 

  • Channing Tatum and Mila Kunis in Jupiter Ascending:

 

  • A teaser trailer for the new season of Justified:

 

  • The Asylum is really committing to this whole shark thing with Mega Shark vs. Mecha Shark (yup – that’s Debbie Gibson):

 

  • Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s new reality show is coming in January:

 

  • Heisenberg Bryan Cranston in Godzilla:

 

  • The Amazing Spiderman 2:

 

  • The ABC comedy The Goldbergs will do a Goonies inspired episode.
  • In advance of Muppets Most Wanted, Disney is releasing a series of web episodes. The first one features Gordon Ramey (and The Miz, if you know the WWE):

Serious question – when did the Swedish Chef start having human hands? I noticed this during the Lady Gaga special on Thanksgiving and it FREAKS ME THE HELL OUT.

As always, we end with the Mashups and Supercuts:

  • Bohemian Rhapsody meets Star Wars:

 

  • President Obama sings “Jingle Bells”

 

  • The Hungover Games (a parody of The Hunger Games and The Hangover, among other things) is a REAL MOVIE:

I am totally watching this.

  • Mean Elves (Mean Girls/The Hobbit mashup):

 

  • A Doctor Who/A-Ha mashup:

 

  • A mashup of 68 songs from 2013:

 

  • 50 TV theme songs in five minutes:

 

  • And finally, Sesame Street has been killing it with their parodies. See them take on Lord of the Rings in Lord of the Crumbs: