I’d Watch Anna Kendrick Host a Late-Night Show

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I’ve never met Anna Kendrick. I don’t know what she wants out of life. Maybe she’s content with what she’s doing now. But as a pop culture consumer and general appreciator of her output, I want more.

My proposal: next time a late-night talk show host departs, Anna Kendrick should (at least be in talks to) replace him. (Or her…but Samantha Bee just started this year and has been killing it on TBS. Leave her bee.)

This proposal is far-fetched and unlikely for several reasons. None of the late-night hosts appear close to the end of their respective tenures. Kendrick is a Movie Star settled somewhere between the A- and B-lists, and to the best of my knowledge, she’s never expressed interest in a full-time, nightly gig. And, most unfortunately, television networks, presently and historically, don’t have a great history, or much of a history at all, of hiring women for such positions.

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Stephen Colbert: Super Bowl Fumble, Sanders Touchdown

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On Sunday night, Stephen Colbert became the first host in the history of late-night TV to do a show immediately after the Super Bowl. That he and his team fumbled the gig should come as little surprise.

The post-Super Bowl slot has been a mixed blessing of late. Ratings for whatever show follows the nation’s most-watched television event of each year inevitably spike on that Sunday night, but the bump for subsequent episodes is far less substantial, even non-existent. Creatively speaking, most Super Bowl episodes are burdened with such high expectations from audiences and network executives that they’re more concerned with being big and loud than being good. By the end of an exhausting Super Bowl game and halftime show, the last thing most people want to do is keep their brain turned on for one to two more hours of programming, even if they keep their televisions on in an act of sheer inertia.

On top of all those built-in obstacles, Stephen Colbert’s The Late Show is uniquely unsuited to the task of following up the most expensive, expansive spectacle in American pop culture. Continue reading

The M&M Report: 2015 in Review

On this episode of The M&M Report, Devin Mitchell and I look back on our favorite movies, TV, music, cultural moments and more from the past year. Listen for Devin’s passionate-ish defense of Ballers and my emotional reaction to the triumphant rise of Oscar Isaac, as well as our choices for favorite movie, SNL episode and late-night TV development.


Don’t forget, you can now subscribe to our podcast on iTunes and download the feed directly into the podcast app of your choice. New episodes should show up on your feed immediately and on iTunes within a day or two of release. Subscribe away!

Peruse the M&M Report category page for previous episodes of the podcast. Thanks for listening!

“The Late Show with Stephen Colbert”: Shifting Sands

Biden

As I wrote when The Late Show with Stephen Colbert premiered last Tuesday — was it really such a short time ago? — late-night shows are evolving creatures. To judge them on their first episode is the equivalent of evaluating a new employee on his first day of work. To judge them after two weeks still isn’t entirely fair, but the nine Late Show episodes that have aired so far give a slightly more accurate picture of what the appeals and setbacks of this show are, might be and could become.

The standard caveat with the analysis that follows: The Late Show with Stephen Colbert will almost certainly look very different in six months’ time. Many of the people involved with making the show likely already have a sense of its flaws, even if they haven’t come up with practical fixes yet. These opinions are subject to change without warning.

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This is Not a Review of Stephen Colbert’s “Late Show” Debut

Jeb

Midway through the first episode of The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, the host did a bit in which he both satirized the media’s obsessive coverage of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump and admitted that he’s powerless to avoid doing his own obsessive coverage. Colbert promised his audience he would only eat one Oreo, symbolizing one Trump joke. But the Oreos were so enticing, and the pleasure from ingesting them so rewarding, that he couldn’t help but indulge in one, then another, then half the box at once, and then a second box.

This bit was superficially about Trump, but it’s also a symbol of what Colbert’s trying to do, and what he’ll have to do, with this new show. For nine years on Comedy Central, Colbert cultivated an unprecedented strain of politically-infused comedy so draining that he’s told multiple interviewers that he had planned to leave the show even if CBS hadn’t come calling. But replacing David Letterman, in timeslot if not in substance, is an opportunity for Colbert to flex different muscles and achieve a childhood dream.

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The M&M Report: #JonVoyage to Jon Stewart’s “Daily Show”

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This week on the M&M Report, Devin Mitchell and I discussed the end of Jon Stewart’s remarkable, influential 16-year run on Comedy Central’s The Daily Show with returning guest Jonathan Connelly. We talked about the impact Stewart’s had on his successors and proteges, the influence and limitations of his rhetoric on the “real world” and what we can expect from a post-Jon Stewart future.

You can watch Jon Stewart’s final episode in its entirety on Comedy Central’s web site.

Last time Jon was on the podcast, we reviewed Madame Secretary. Listen closely to the first minute of this week’s episode for an update on our relationship with that CBS drama.

Peruse the M&M Report category page for previous episodes of the podcast. Thanks for listening!

Pop Culture Hopes and Dreams for 2015

Force Awakens

Last year at this time, I published a post with a series of hopes and dreams, big and small, for 2014. I’m happy to report that some of those hopes came true. A quick rundown:

I hoped that the third season of Sherlock is every bit as delectable as the first two. It wasn’t. The seams started to show, despite great moments. Oh well.

I hoped Jimmy Fallon’s transition to The Tonight Show would be smooth and hassle-free. Given NBC’s track record, this hope seemed far-fetched, but Fallon’s ratings are through the roof, and the qualities that made him a success on Late Night remain intact in the higher-profile timeslot.

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