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tv   Late Night With Seth Meyers  NBC  April 2, 2021 12:36am-1:35am PDT

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stubborn lov stubborn lov hard-headed woman ♪ ♪ stubborn love stubborn lov stubborn lov hard-headed woman ♪ ♪ hard-headed woman hard-headed woman ♪ ♪ [ cheers and applause >> jimmy: thank you for watching, everybody. stay safe. wear a mask.
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stay tuned for "late night with seth meyers. goodnight, everybody thank you. ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ >> announcer: tonight on "late night with seth meyers." regina king. star of "wandavision," actress kathryn hahn author chang-rae lee featuring the 8g band with fred armisen and now seth meyers. >> seth: good evening. i'm seth meyers and this is "late night. how's everybody doing tonight? okay all right. let's get to the news. former president trump and former first lady melania trump reportedly received the coronavirus vaccine at the white house in january i guess that's all right i mean, he has pre-existing conditions, and she works in
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elder care that's right trump and melania received the coronavirus vaccine in january but this is weird -- january of 2018. so - president m -- president biden, excuse me, met virtually with mexican president obrador yesterday to discuss immigration, trade, the pandemic, and because it's impossible to not have an opinion on it, "wandavision. vice president kamala harris today swore in dr. miguel cardona as education secretary, and he's already outperforming betsy devos. raise your right hand. wow! first try! this is -- this guy's good new york governor andrew cuomo's administration announced yesterday that it has hired a prominent defense attorney as cuomo faces investigations into sexual harassment and coronavirus nursing home deaths. and in a sign of just how badly things are going for cuomo, yeah, it's him [ laughter ]
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"happy to therve!" in a new episode of their podcast, former president barack obama sings with bruce springsteen. unfortunately, this country has determined that you cannot impeach a president after they leave office students at the university of texas have filed a petition to change their alma mater song titled "the eyes of texas," because it has racist origins. and just wait until they find out about the origins of texas it was announced yesterday that the first space hotel will begin construction in 2025 and will include features such as restaurants, a health spa and a movie theater. and if the movie's sold out, you could always look at the earth from outer space what do you think, kids? you want to watch vin diesel struggle through some dialogue or do you want to look at the earth from outer space that's right they're building the first space hotel in 2025. finally, a hotel where a room service caesar salad should be $27.
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they don't have anchovies in space. and finally, actor seth rogen yesterday announced the launch of his new cannabis brand called house plant, and it must be good, because he announced it again today. and that was the monologue you guys, we've got a great show for you tonight. she's an oscar and emmy-winning actress who directed the fantastic "one night in miami," which is out now on amazon prime video. regina king will be here and timing is everything, so we are thrilled to have our friend, kathryn hahn, days before the final episode of "wandavision," which is on disney plus this friday plus, his new novel, "my year abroad," was published in february and was an instant best-seller. chang-rae lee will be joining us but before we get to all of that, we don't always have enough time to cover all of the recent news. so, here with the recap is one of our writers, amber ruffin, in a segment we call "amber says what." ♪
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>> you guys! things have been crazy okay, so, recently, the state of texas had a winter emergency and i was like, what texas had a winter emergency oh, lord, we done broke the earth! then, i found out that this caused millions of texans to go without heat or water, and i was like, what then, i found out that it was at this exact moment that texas senator, ted cruz, chose to go to cancun. and i was like, what then, he blamed his children for the trip, and i was like, what then, i found out he left his dog at home, and i was like, what how could you leave a dog at home when you, sir, also are a dog? now, i know everyone rags on you a ton, ted, but maybe it's not enough look at that dog poor thing how bad do you have to have it to miss ted cruz dang then, something really cute happened okay, so, this extra fluffy sheep was found in the wild, and they ended up shaving 78 pounds of wool from it! and i was like, what
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well, it's a good thing you got a haircut, 'cause your hair was getting too long hey, seth, did you hear what i said to the sheep? >> seth: yeah. >> i said that its hair was too long >> seth: yeah. >> i suggested that it get a haircut. >> seth: yeah, i heard what you said >> mm-hmm. anyway, naomi osaka was at the australian open when this happened >> flying around her yeah, there it is. a fan yells out, "there's a butterfly on your legs," and naomi osaka's going to take it to safety. >> i saw that, and i was like, what isn't that cute. that butterfly is all of us. we all think naomi's perfect and want to give her a little kiss on the nose. and then, when the butterfly wouldn't leave, naomi gently took it off of her face and set it down. i saw that and was like, what? she is so sweet. because, if a butterfly landed on my face in the middle of a really important thing, i'd have just smashed it, because [ bleep ] a butterfly. then, the funniest thing in the world happened a texas attorney during a trial could not get rid of his zoom filter look
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>> can you hear me, judge? >> i can hear you. i think it's a filter -- >> it is, and i don't know how to remove it i've got my assistant here she's trying to, but, i'm prepared to go forward with it, if that's -- i'm here live. i'm not a cat. >> i saw that and was like, what are you if you aren't a cat? you sure look like a cat to me "i am not a cat. that's exactly what a cat would say, you cat-ass cat then i heard a harrowing tale of ingenuity and perseverance, the tale of the gorilla glue girl. so, okay, this lady had used gorilla glue to do her hair and she couldn't get it out! and then she was like, what? and i was like, what did you think was going to happen? it's glue. all it does is glue. so, she went online and told her story and everyone was offering suggestions about what to do and i was like, what could she possibly do? it's glue! glue gonna glue. and then i, like every other person who heard this story, became obsessed with her
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and i needed her to be okay so badly. she was so sad in the video. and it's not her fault we all did crazy things when we were young it's fine. then, i found out she's 40 and i was like, whaaat oh, no then a doctor reached out to her and said, "i can remove it for free." and i was like, what but then, he did and her hair looked perfect and i was like, what then a whole nation rejoiced, like, what, what then i found out that these two are going to have a second baby, and i was like, what yay, i love it but i looked online, and these british people were so mad at her. i mean, they've always been mad at her, but this time, i was like, what are you so mad about? that this woman is pregnant? you're gonna be mad that a man and his wife are having their second child i wonder what it is about her you don't like what could it possibly be that has those british people so on edge what about her contribution to the royal bloodline has them
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angry? well, we may never know. then, the britney spears documentary came out, and people crying and stuff in their "free britney" t-s get me a t-shirt so, okay, here's what happens. like, her dad had control of her money and stuff, and she refused to perform until that stopped, and i was like, what then it happened they went to court and her dad lost financial control in her conservatorship, and i was like, what even though i still don't fully understand what a conservatorship is like, this girl is almost 40 and controls nothing of her life if anyone needs a conservatorship, it's gorilla glue lady. [ light laughter ] then, everyone was like, did you see the new united states postal service mail truck and i was like, what no why would i? and then they were like, you've got to see it. and i was like, what but then i saw it, i was like, what what happened?
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did this truck drive through the spacetime continuum? what is this what are you delivering, the pope who designed this truck, homer simpson? what even is this? you know what i think this truck is, i -- oh, whoa, wait. how beautiful! a butterfly! i'm gonna get it [ clap ] i got business to do i killed it! this has been "amber says what." ♪ >> seth: amber ruffin, everybody! we'll be right back with regina king. ♪ it's so busted, you can't use this part of the screen. definitely cracked every phone i've owned. (vo) you broke your phone. so verizon broke the rules. for the first time ever, new and current customers can trade in their old and damaged phones for up to $1,000 off our best 5g phones. my phone is old, very old. (vo) old, cracked, water damaged-- doesn't matter.
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welcome the rainbow. taste the rainbow. dsc. ♪ questions in my head, filling me with dread ♪ ♪ so many options ♪ ♪ what's the right razor? ♪ so much back hair, should i get lazer? ♪ should he get lazer? ♪ ♪ do ii'm like his clone ♪e my d ♪ you got questions, we got answers ♪ ♪ you got questions, we got answers ♪
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♪ we got you ♪ ♪ now at a store near you ♪ ♪♪ ♪ hello sunshine ♪ ♪ i'm so glad to see you sunshine ♪ ♪ hello sunshine ♪ ♪ it's been dark for such a long time ♪ ♪ hello sunshine ♪
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♪ >> seth: so happy to have fred armisen leading the 8g band this week. there he is. now, fred, you know we have kathryn hahn on later to talk about "wandavision," but i hear that you have been doing some business with marvel, and you're going to share some secrets with us that will be revealed in the final episode. what can you tell us, fred oh, they got to him. marvel silenced fred was it kevin feige did he get to you? okay good luck, fred. our first guest tonight is an academy award and emmy-winning actress who you know from films like "if beale street could talk" and shows such as "the leftovers" and "watchmen. her film, "one night in miami" is available on amazon prime video now let's take a look.
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>> can't nobody else understand what it's like to be one of us, except us. >> one of us >> you know, young, black, righteous, famous, unapologetic. there's going to be a target on your back. >> it was going to be there anyway this ain't about civil rights. those activists ain't do squat about them four little girls that got bombed in alabama that's why they're preaching to a deaf congregation, because they ain't giving black people what they really want. >> what's that >> what you have but take for granted. power. >> seth: please welcome back to the show regina king how are you, regina? >> i am doing all right, seth. how are you? >> seth: good. i would love to say it's nice to have you here, but of course, here is in quotes, and this is now the second time you have
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joined us remotely since this all started. and so, i just wanted to say thank you and how much we appreciate that. >> well, thanks for having me. i can't believe that, like, our anniversary is on zoom again >> seth: it is very strange. something that was not strange for me because, look, you are a very accomplished dramatic actor, and of course, a director now as well. i am of an age where i know you as a comedian first, and it was so thrilling to watch you on "snl." did you enjoy that experience? >> i did i did. i mean, just all praises to the writers and the actors and just the entire production team i was just blown away. i feel like i can never, ever, ever, ever, ever in my life say anything about something that may not be funny to me on "snl," because what they do to bring that show to us every week is nothing short of a miracle
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>> seth: yes i had the same experience when i and you're critical of it, you love it and then there are other times you don't. and then you show up and you try to do that job, and you think, "oh, okay, okay, i'll shut up now. >> shut all the way up >> seth: you were nominated for a golden globe, and you looked wonderful in your beautiful dress, but your dog, cornbread, kind of stole the day. are you jealous of how much attention cornbread got? >> i am not. listen, cornbread is 15-years-old he deserves all the attention to just be hanging in there and representing for the senior dogs >> seth: well, you did a great job, and you did a fantastic job with the film. this is based on a stage play. were you familiar at all with the play before it first came across your desk >> i was not i was not. reading the screenplay was my introduction to it i guess i must have been off working somewhere, because usually, you know, i'm up to
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date when it comes to the theater scene in l.a. because it's so small. but i read the screenplay, which was written by kim powers, who also -- he adapted his play to the screenplay, and i was just blown away >> seth: so you know, this is an evening that happened, but it's obviously a fictionalized account of it, and it's about four very famous black men in the '60s and even though it takes place in the '60s, it does, obviously, tie into what we're going through right now. did you feel as though you were both making a movie about the past but also that it was very urgent in regards to what's happening in the present >> yeah, i mean, you know -- actually, that was one of the things that appealed to me when i read this script, that it was relevant i mean, unfortunately, these conversations are conversations that black people have been having before that night in 1964
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and so, the dialogue, the story was always relevant, but it was just what happened last year we were in the middle of a pandemic when george floyd's murder was captured on videomets always been relevant for black people urgent for the film to come out >> seth: i imagine one of the trickiest things about a film like this and directing it is getting the casting right. because you're dealing with four, you know, historical figures that everybody has seen so much film on and other actors have played so famously. you nailed it, but was that something that when you first took it on you knew would be a challenge? >> i did i did. but i knew that it was an opportunity. look, i'm an actor i love to act. i love being part of the thespian community
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so, i knew that it was going to be four actors that understood the responsibility that they were taking on, and that was the biggest joy for me, just watching kingsley, leslie, aldis and eli just shine i felt like i was a fifth wheel. i've never been so excited to be a fifth wheel. [ laughter ] >> seth: did you -- it really is great. and you know, obviously, we've seen a lot of these, you know, figures and biopics before and i will say as a viewer, it's really nice to just watch them in sort of one snapshot of time, and i think that makes it also more, you know, unique than anything we've seen before as well as someone who's been in show business for as long as you have, i'm wondering if directing was something -- you know, when you were a kid -- and obviously, you know, you started in sitcoms -- did you think, "oh, i would love to be behind the camera one day." or was that something that sort of took a longer time to come to that conclusion?
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>> it took a longer time to come to that conclusion i think i was picking up things along the way. you know, sometimes you don't realize you're the sponge until later on in life, but i'm glad that i was absorbing all of this information, and i've been with -- i've had just the blessing to work alongside some real powerhouses and i feel like i was being groomed, if you will, if you could say that in a positive light. >> seth: let's take it back. let's take back that word and use it as a positive >> yes, yes. and i would say somewhere around 30, 35 is when i just really started taking in all of the different jobs, if you will, that bring a story to us, you know so often, we only hear about the
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director, we only hear about the actors but i started seeing how the director gets the opportunity to work with everyone, the production designer, the wardrobe designer, the dp, and just -- i would say around that time is when i really started paying attention and feeling like it was something that, you know, a person that's enthusiastic about control might be a good space to be in [ light laughter ] >> seth: you're doing something else that as soon as i heard you were doing it, i thought, "oh, that's a very good use of one's time during trying times," which is, you're watching a lot of old "golden girls" episodes. >> yes it gives me just joy, just makes you feel like, you know, "everything may be all right in the world one day. >> seth: you know, i always -- when i watch an old "golden girls" episode, my takeaway is, this script must have been eight pages, because the laughs between the punch lines are so long that, like, they -- i'm like, how -- this must be the shortest script
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ever it's like setup, punch line, laugh for a full minute, and then they move on. >> everyone laughs they are genuine laughs. it's not like, you know, a laugh track. that's people cracking up. >> seth: yeah. it really is i mean, again, your cast of four does a great job with "one night in miami," but that's another cast of four i would put them up against, "the golden girls" versus "one night in miami. >> hey, that's a pretty solid cast to go up against. >> seth: in the brackets, in the march madness of best four-person casts. you. thank you so much i really appreciate your time. >> always so good to see you, too. give your wife a hug for me? >> seth: i will, of course she'll be thrilled to get it "one night in miami" is available on amazon prime video now. we'll be right back with kathryn hahn ♪ i'll be observing your safe-driving abilities. play your cards right, and you could be in for a tasty discount.
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♪ on my pillow, on my table ♪ ♪ yeah life goes on ♪ ♪ like this again ♪ ♪ oh oh oh oh ♪
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♪ >> seth: our next guest is an emmy-nominated actress you know and love from films such as "bad moms," "step brothers" and "how to lose a guy in ten days. she's starring in marvel's "wandavision," which is streaming on disney plus with new episodes airing on fridays let's take a look. >> hi, agnes come on in i'd get up, but i -- i just don't want to. [ laughter ] ah >> i think i got there in the nick of time, because she was one split end away from cutting her own bangs. >> seth: please welcome back to the show one of our favorites, kathryn hahn how are you, kathryn >> hi, dear! how's it going >> seth: it is going so well i only am upset that you're not here in person >> i know. >> seth: kathryn, i love this show so much i was so excited to see you in it, and then every single episode we get to see more from you, more moves from you, more is revealed about you. are you ha
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know, a little bit about it. don't tell kevin feige, but i definitely let them in but they -- just to be able to, like, watch it with them has been such a sweet friday night ritual that i'm going to be -- i'm already nostalgic for it to be over. it's been so sweet >> seth: so, your kids are at the age, like 11 and 14, is that right? >> yeah, yeah. >> seth: so, i also am nostalgic with the idea because i feel like friday night television was a thing when we were growing up, and the idea of, like, watching that show with your parents when it comes out is so exciting and it's so cool that you get to do it with yours. >> i remember watching knight -- i don't think i remember these shows, but, for me, it was like, "knight rider" and "air wolf." >> seth: yes >> and -- do you remember "air wolf"? >> seth: i do. of course i remember >> well, i thought - >> seth: borgnine, right
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ernest borgnine was in it? jan michael vincent and borgnine >> yes and i always in my mind have put those shoes -- those shows together, as like, for some reason they were like, it was the car and the helicopter, like, in my mind it was like the love boat took people to fantasy island like, i made these connections between the shows, like it was always -- but yeah, exactly! that was my friday night >> seth: our thing was that we would watch "dukes of hazzard" and not one time in the history of "dukes of hazzard" did my dad stay awake the whole show. >> no, sure. no, we called our tv room the fartorium. >> seth: so, you -- you know, again, we talk about this so much with people from the marvel universe who come on to promote those projects, but what was this like? beca lay out the whole idea to you at the beginning? >> yeah. i mean, for this, i, like -- i walked in. i mean, i was led into a
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conference room, like through various -- it felt very, like in my mind, you had to use like your thumbprint to get into certain -- like it was very, very inner world and then you opened the door to this conference room and they had, like, all over the walls, like, basically, the entire -- the entire story, the entire series was, like, laid out and they had to walk me through it a couple times because i was a little bit of a newbie to this world. they were very patient but yeah, it was just -- i was -- when i got to here, i was playing like a powerful witch? i was like, "yes!" i was so excited i was so thrilled. >> seth: well that, you know, again, i know you as someone who's really funny and in the beginning, i thought, oh, you know, kathryn's perfectly cast for this because she's going to nail all these sitcom tropes. and then the really fun thing is seeing this villainous side, which i could never have predicted when it started. you are playing this character from the marvel universe, agatha harkness, who's a witch and was witchcraft something - did you have any base coat i know you didn't have much for
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marvel universe. did you have any base coat for like salem witchcraft? >> um, we definitely visited salem, not related to this, but my husband and i took a road trip there and i remember being in my mind being struck by the fact that one of the first hangings was, like, now the site of like a 7-eleven or something. i remember, like, wishing there had been a little bit more reverence. >> seth: almost every dunkin' donut in massachusetts, that's where a witch was hanged >> right, a dunkin' donuts, right, exactly that's exactly it. i was like, why? they couldn't, like, a little bit more but yeah, i mean, i think the metaphor of like, just like a powerful, complicated, mysterious, like terrifying woman is right up my alley, for sure >> seth: it is - >> and i don't mind a tarot card every once in a while. i'm not going it lie to you. >> seth: have you ever gotten your tarot cards read? >> yeah! lots i do it myself, sometimes.
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>> seth: how would you say, like overall looking back, stepping back from it, what has the level of accuracy been, whether an expert was doing it or yourself? >> for myself, i mean, i feel like you kind of take what you -- you kind of, like -- i don't know if it's accurate or if it's just like a little thing to think about for like the rest of the day >> seth: have you ever done it for your kids? have your kids ever asked you to read - >> no! >> seth: okay. why is that so crazy >> because they would start laughing hilariously at me i think they would be like, mom -- mom's already like -- i mean when i was practicing my moves for this particular show, i mean my children, like, came in and saw me practicing, and it was as if they had seen me just get out of the shower. like, they literally were like, "oh, my god, mom!" like, i was practicing my witch moves, and they were so embarrassed that it's like, i'm just so glad that now they're suspiciously a little bit nicer to me, so i know that it's been landing a little cooler than i had thought. >> seth: that's so funny to think of when you're -- and
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again, of course, teenagers, especially, are by nature judgmental and as an actor, you have to not judge your own performance, right? i mean, you don't have to judge it, but you have to really -- it must be so hard to watch a teenager look at you askance and then have to go do it professionally >> yes, yeah sure, it gives you a lot of confidence a lot of self-confidence when you're doing it in the mirror. exactly. >> seth: but now, your kids did help lay out the marvel canon for you a little bit is that true >> they did, yeah. i mean, i was able to do a deep dive on agatha harkness, but i definitely needed a little bit of help with the avengers and going backwards, because i -- it was a little bit of a word salad walking into this. i couldn't remember who was who and what was what. and so, they were -- my son, especially, was like a huge, huge help. for sure >> seth: and your son actually had a helpful prop for you, which must have been nice for -- >> yeah, he did. do you want to see it? >> seth: yeah, let's see it. wow. looks like -
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>> i think this -- >> seth: it's beautiful. >> thanks. it's like -- >> seth: you had purchased that for him, or is that made is that homemade or is that a purchase >> no, this was a purchase - actually, i think -- if you can -- i think either we put on gems that we have had to re-hot glue on a few times, and a couple are clearly missing but this was an item of great reverence in our house in my son's room for a very long time. not anymore, he wants to make sure everybody knows but this was kind of my entrance into - >> seth: well, that is, the very fact that you had that in your home proves that this was all meant to be. >> i think so, too kind of want to, like, snap, or whatever, what happens >> seth: is your daughter the older of the two >> my daughter's the younger she's 11 >> seth: she's 11. and she's the one who's sort of behind the fact that you guys have been very kind to the animal community that has needed help in these trying times
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>> yes my sweet daughter has persuaded my husband and i to foster kittens during the pandemic, which has been so lovely and fulfilling i will never hear my dryer without litter rattling around in it, but it has been really, really sweet and she's working with this really fabulous shelter called the kitty bungalow, who we love so dearly. and the kittens all have the most amazing -- they must -- just my heart about thinking of these people trying to think of names for all the kittens. so they come to us with names like lock, stock, and barrel so, all these kittens, they just -- i think they have to come up with so many names but it's been the sweetest very, very sweet seth: you say m assuming you're not fostering 25 kittens at once, right they kind of like stop - >> that would be amazing if we were bordering on animal orders. no, it's like a couple at a time so, right now we have two. we had three, yeah and we always seem to get, like, the like -- i shouldn't say this
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i shouldn't. but there's always -- my daughter always has like, "it's important to know what's happening with their craps." so, she always gives us the feces report as we're sitting down to eat, it seems like every dinner it's like, we get to know about chick pea's stool consistency, which we're very grateful for. and one -- one of them came to us with a prolapsed anus, which we didn't know until we put it in the car, which i guess is very common and easily fixed, but it was certainly a surprise to all of us he's fine. >> seth: like as you're rolling up the window, the person at the shelter says, "oh, by the way, it's a prolapsed anus! >> prolapsed anus. yeah but you know, to all followers, thank god fine, and we're happy to do it they need the help thank god. so >> seth: you are incredible for doing it it was agnes -- i'm sorry, it was "agatha all along" was the song at the end two episodes ago and was actually number one, a 47-second song, number one on itunes >> i don't understand it i know
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it's amazing >> seth: top of the charts >> it's so crazy seth, what's happening >> seth: you're top of the charts, kid. [ light laughter ] >> i was -- i was also like, what like, i don't have social media, so the whole thing was like filtered down through, like, all this i was like, are you kidding me so funny meanwhile, outside scooping dog crap, scooping cat crap. like, the whole thing is so bonkers right now. >> seth: yeah. i guess when you're looking at chick pea's prolapsed anus, it's hard to put into context what a big deal it is >> it was bellflower >> seth: sorry >> but yeah, no, it's totally, totally bonkers. but also a testament to the lopezes who just wrote that, like, crazy awesome, delicious 47-second -- i mean, the whole thing's so good, it's bonkers >> seth: i know you can't give us spoilers. we have one episode left >> what if i was like, you know what, i will >> seth: great just tell us, are our minds
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eth: i'm very excited, too >> i think it's going to be very satisfying >> seth: it is -- i'm very happy to be living through this rahahnnaissance. is that going to take off? do you think >> do you want to go to the hahnaissance fair? it's just going to be me with a giant turkey leg, sitting on - >> at the rahahnnaisance fair, everybody shows up with two fostered cats. >> yes and just me on a dunk tank by myself >> seth: hey, thank you so much. i love seeing you, as always >> so good to see you! >> seth: love to your family and new episodes of "wandavision" are released on fridays on disney plus we'll be right back with chang-rae lee. ♪ ♪ “crumbs” by jordan dennis ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ hey, hey, hey ♪ ♪ hey, how you doing baby? ♪ ♪ you look mighty fine, ♪ ♪ i figured i might come your way and ♪ ♪ roll up on you with that golden ticket ♪ ♪ shawty, can i get your digits, ♪
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>> seth: i'm so excited for our next guest before i get to that, obviously, "wandavision" is a fantastic show, and for you, i know you're watching it. it's about to be over. you've got start to start watching "tiny secret whispers," because it is just -- last night, and i don't want to give too much away because i know you're not watching it but the previous episode ended with detective delgado chasing who we thought was the killer over the rooftops, and it ends with his gun, you know, drops his gun, and it goes off twice and you're like, detective delgado's dead, right? he's not, but the gun, the two shots -- i guess they each went by his ears, so now he can't -- he doesn't know how loud he is so like, this episode, you're so happy he's alive, but he shows up at their door and he's like, "sorry to bother you so late!" [ laughter ] and he suspects the twins, which is, you know, shocking, obviously. and so, the twins take a dna test
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and i mean, it's very -- i mean, imagine being a mother and hearing this, but they come back and they tell her based on the dna, one of the twins isn't hers [ laughter ] and i mean, that's the kind of twist. it's just so good because it's real because then you start thinking, what if you were a parent who found out one of your identical twins wasn't yours i mean, "wandavision's" great, but it's like, she's a witch, she's a witch, and it's, like, not real our next -- just watch it. our next guest is an award-winning writer and pulitzer prize finalist. his sixth novel, "my year abroad," was published in february and was an instant best-seller. please welcome to the show chang-rae lee. thank you so much for being here >> hey, great to be here, seth >> seth: so, this is a book -- i want to make sure i clarify the title. you actually finished this before the pandemic, is that correct? >> yes and the final little edits were before, too. and then crossed over into when, you know, we all got locked down >> seth: so, actually, i feel
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deeply for you, because i think for a writer, the pandemic would have been very nice, but this was actually going to be the year that you would have been able to go out and promote the book, and that was just basically stolen from you. >> seth: yeah. >> i'd have been with -- i would have gotten to see regina king, who i loved in "southland," and kathryn hahn and learned words like fartorium in person [ laughter ] >> seth: you would have gotten a coffee mug we would have gotten you a t-shirt. these are all things we're going to try to rectify for your next book >> i know, i know. so, i got to see your green room catering, which i'm always fascinated by. >> seth: we're going to send you two granola bars to make up for this terrible crime. so, this -- you know, obviously, you couldn't have known this when you wrote this, but this is a book about people who have the freedom of travel and someone who travels around the world now, it seems incredibly fortunate now to write the kind
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of book that i think a lot of people -- the kind of story that a lot of people want to escape into right now >> yeah, it's an adventure tale, in a sense, kind of a business adventure where this young guy gets hooked up with a chinese businessman, and the businessman takes him basically to asia, and they have all kinds of escapades, some gruesome, some startling, all kind of eye-opening for the young fellow so, the book is strange to read now because it seems like they can do anything they want. they can be in small karaoke the other part of the story is actually a kind of cloistered story where people are trapped they're actually in witness protection and kind of in the aftermath of this trip, kind of reckoning with everything that's happened >> seth: it's a very dangerous book to talk about insofar as i don't want to give anything away because it's so wonderful, but you mentioned a karaoke bar and you mentioned as well that that
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is the sort of thing that a lot of people are longing for. i'm not, because i don't care for karaoke. but i'm wondering if that's something that you enjoy doing >> no, i -- i'm a karaoke watcher. i sit in the corner of the room with my little glass of whiskey. and i'm really good at clapping. because i know, you know, i'm korean heritage, so i know that koreans have a very, very high-end karaoke game. so i know not to open my mouth and there is a scene in the book in which the hero does -- is coaxed to sing, and suddenly, of course, he's an amazing singer and the scene's sort of a wish fulfillment for me >> seth: that's interesting to know that there's a high bar in korean culture, because my take on being in a group of americans in karaoke bars is that everybody thinks they have just as equal right to the microphone as everybody else. so >> yeah. >> seth: i think you're --
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>> well, in korean culture, everyone has to have his or her turn, which is terrible for me, and i butcher it and, you know, get off stage pretty quickly but people are pretty, like, you know, you should -- they tell you afterwards, you should practice more. you should practice the song >> seth: you're a teacher at stanford university as well, and i'm wondering how that experience has been during the pandemic >> well, i only had to teach one graduate class via zoom, which i didn't really enjoy. i think it was fine for the students, but you know, to me, it's all about being in the room together, sitting there, letting the pauses happen. actually, you know, reading people's faces, because it's kind of a studio workshop, you know, an arts workshop so, it's -- without being there, it just feels a little, i don't know, a little deadened. and i always -- people ask me how it is, and i always say it's as if, you know, it's the difference between jarred spaghetti sauce and regular sauce.
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like, the jarred sauce is fine you can have it. it's serviceable but you never would make it your choice, if, you know, if it weren't that way >> seth: i've always felt this way about my college education, which is, i wish i could do it again because i appreciate now how it's the last time that you do have those moments to sort of sit and listen and learn without the world kind of coming down on you and those responsibilities do you think there is -- to be optimistic, to be hopeful about what happens next, do you think students who have been sort of kept out of classrooms for a year will sort of enjoy and appreciate it more once they're allowed back in? >> right i mean, this has been -- even though they're sort of going to school, it's been essentially a gap year for them, too and i know, for sure, that they're going to be in class and they're going to think, dang, it's really nice to be here, even if this teacher's annoying, even if he seems like he's, you know, making my life miserable i think it's going to be wonderful for the kids to be
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back and i even talked to students who can't wait to actually be there, and maybe, maybe, you know, they'll be listening >> seth: you have two college-aged children. how has the year been for them >> well, the one is out of college, so she's working. and you know, she's been here half the time. my other daughter -- they're 20 and 23 -- she's -- you know, she's a happy, social kid, but she's had a lot of trouble with this zoom stuff and the remote kind of learning, and you know, the hybrid model, where they're kind of on campus but kind of locked away. it's like this really expensive prison and she's, you know -- they're just barely getting through it, i think. >> seth: do you ever say to her, like, "hey, your dad's a professor, we could do this not on zoom? >> yeah. we just do -- we would just do text, you know i'd be texting her assignments and she'd be texting back. and in the end, it would just be gifs it wouldn't even be language
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>> seth: no final essays, just final gifs >> yeah, oh, good gif. >> seth: hey, congratulations on the book it's really wonderful. i do hope next time we can get you here so you can see exactly how resplendent that green room situation is, because you will dig it >> i can't wait. thanks, seth >> seth: "my year abroad" is on sale now wherever books are sold, but please support local and independent book stores. we'll be right back with more "late night. ♪ if you're 55 and up, t- mobile has plans built just for you. switch today and get 2 lines of unlimited and 2 free smartphones. plus you'll now get netflix on us. all this for up to 50% off vs. verizon. it's all included. 2 lines of unlimited for only $70 bucks. and this rate is fixed. you'll pay exactly $70 bucks total. this month and every month. only at t-mobile.
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