tv Late Night With Seth Meyers NBC February 4, 2016 12:37am-1:37am EST
eers and applause ] >> announcer: from 30 rockefeller plaza in new york, it's "late night with seth meyers." tonight --ng, from the new york mets matt harvey, author alexander chee. band with russell simins. [ cheers and applause ] ladies and gentlemen, seth meyers! ening! i'm seth meyers, this is "late night." how is everybody doing tonight? [ cheers and applause ]. in that case, let's get to the news. ted cruz and hillary clinton were named the winners of monday's iowa caucuses.by giving a speech to his supporters, and
stuff into the white house. [ laughter ]ublican side in the iowa caucuses, ted cruz came in first. donald trump came in second. and jeb bush is still lost in a corn maze. [ laughter ] hampshire!"pporters that his win in iowa on monday should hillary clinton told supporters on monday that after her close win in iowa, she breathed a big sigh of relief. unfortunately, when she did, she burned down an old barn. [ laughter ]thes through her nose. president obama today made his first visit to a mosque while in office. he visited a mosque.s he's officially entered the phase of his presidency known as "come at me, bro!" [ laughter ]ld trump finished second in the iowa caucuses, an
the internet, in which he quoted golfer walter hagen as saying, in second." and that's not the only old trump tweet that looks embarrassing now. for instance last year he tweeted, "'star wars: the force huge box office dud." [ laughter ] and the year before that, he tweeted, "nothing quenches my thirst like a tall glass of flint water." [ laughter ] back in 2012, he tweeted, "'the cosby show' is great and will endure forever." [ laughter ] got to be careful. they come back to haunt you.tweets. recently released documents show that former new york governor eliot spitzer donated $50,000 to martin o'malley's presidential campaign.he first time spitzer spent that much on something that only lasted an hour. [ laughter ]. now i know. i didn't know before i told it. i had to tell it to find out.
public education officials in san francisco are considering a distribute condoms to middle schoolers to promote safe sex. or as it's known to middle schoolers, balloon day! [ laughter ] a police officer in the u.k. said over the weekend that he was mistaken for a male stripper after accidentally walking in on a 50th birthday party.s town, a male stripper had to dance his way out of a hostage situation. [ laughter ]y, according to a new report, americans spent more money last year on legal marijuana than they did on doritos and cheetos combined. or as pot smokers call that, a salad. ] ladies and gentlemen, we have a fantastic show for you tonight! [ cheers and applause ] stars on cbs' "the good wife." guests, alan cumming is on the show tonight. [ cheers and applause ]rk mets fans in the
[ cheers and applause ] pitcher matt harvey is joining us! [ cheers and applause ]to talking to him. and we have with us tonight author of the new novel, "the queen of the night," alexander chee is on "late night" this evening.lause ] a fantastic show. but before we get to that, with the iowa caucuses behind them, the g.o.p. candidates have movedire, and they're facing a whole new campaign due to ted cruz's victory and donald trump's second-place finish. ime for "a closer look." [ applause ] >> seth: so despite polls that showed him ahead, trump did not cus, which was good news for republicans hoping to coalesce around a strong trump challenger. and now the question is, who will that challenger be?e guy who won the iowa caucus, ted cruz, and then the guy who acted like he won the iowa caucus, third-place finisher, marco rubio. e moment they said would never happen.
sent a very clear message. after seven years of are not waiting any longer to take our country back! >> seth: that's right. not a single registered republican in iowa voted for barack obama! [ laughter ]don't worry, the media was more than happy to jump on board with the rubio surge. >> it was a big night for marco rubio. >> it's obviously big momentum for marco rubio. word for your political vocabulary. it is marcomentum. >> seth: no. [ laughter ]"marcomentum" to my vocabulary. i just learned bae and i'm pretty sure i'm using it wrong. [ laughter ]or "maybe," right? nonetheless, the media's desperate for a rubio surge to counter trump, and rubio getting more attention also means he'll from his rivals, rivals like chris christie, who has criticized rubio for not taking questions from the press and has a new nickname for rubio that he to make stick.
in the bubble. >> let's get the boy in the bubble out of the bubble. >> the boy in the bubble's gotta get out of the bubble. ubble gets here -- >> let's get the boy in the bubble out of the bubble. >> i'm not the boy in the bubble, okay? we know who the boy in the bubble is up here. >> seth: this comes from , "the bubble." [ laughter ] also, someone should tell chris christie that the boy in the bubble is a sympathetic character who needs to stay in the bubble to live.the best analogy. that's like saying, "marco is like a beloved grandmother on life support and i'm thinking it's time we pulled the plug! who's with me?" [ laughter ] now christie and rubio are both fighting for what pundits call the establishment lane in the primary -- a battle that also includes candidates like john kasich, and unfortunately b bush. [ laughter ] jeb limped into new hampshire after getting just 2.8% of the vote in iowa. but don't worry, according to jeb, that's actually a victory. ning in the back of the pack here, still clings to hope.
story here on caucus night?e expectations are so low. >> well, you have succeeded there, governor. >> mission accomplished.ission accomplished. even worse for his victory speech, he tried to parachute onto an aircraft carrier, but missed and landed in the ocean. [ laughter ]a bush, don't of course, the big story in iowa is trump finishing a disappointed second. and in describing trump's second-place finish, the media use one word in particular. >> donald trump left iowa last night with a title that he is not used to holding -- loser. >> as for donald trump, he has a new title tonight, loser.oday's headlines now calling trump a loser. >> donald trump is a loser! [ laughter ] >> seth: oh, man. you could tell everybody has t one in for months. [ laughter ] still, it's not as sweet as hearing it from the original, which is why the entire nation assumed trump would take the stage monday night and burn it to the ground. shed second, and i want to tell you something. i'm just honored.
>> seth: what? [ laughter ] what a huge disappointment.onal. trump immediately reached acceptance, which doesn't make sense. the five stages of grief are denial, anger, bargaining, hen acceptance. but we forget, trump isn't like the rest of us, he plays by his own rules. he grieves in reverse. [ laughter ]rst stage was acceptance. he came on stage humbled and gracious, but for trump, acceptance is followed by depression. how do we know trump was depressed?ing. according to "the hill," he didn't tweet for an unprecedented 15 hours. [ laughter ] can you imagine a trump so sad he energy to tweet negative thoughts? [ laughter ] i'm sure melania was talking to him through the door, "do you want to tweet about how jeb bush has low energy? [ laughter ]how ted cruz has no friends? do you tweet mean things to rosie o'donnell? that always makes you smile." [ laughter ]t came to stage three, bargaining, that's when trump
>> one reason many trump supporters here don't feel badly about his loss to ted cruz, is that they don't thin caucuses. >> i just don't like it. i think that you can talk people out of things. you may have, like -- you might ting to vote for trump and then someone can change your mind at the last minute. >> seth: how unfair is that? [ laughter ] nd. by talking to you. [ light laughter ] which explains trump's new campaign slogan, "cover your ears and vote trump." [ laughter ]mp, bargaining is, of course, followed by anger. and today trump's anger was back. >> donald trump unleashed. >> started off his rant with this.ald trump. quote, "ted cruz didn't win in iowa, he stole it. that's why all of the polls were so wrong." everybody! [ laughter ]urse, after anger came denial. and what clearer expression of denial is there than refusing to accept the results of the election?
a twitter storm this morning. he is even calling for a new election in iowa, or the results to be nullified. >> seth: a new election? [ laughter ]re's going to be another iowa caucus? no one wants to go back to [ bleep ] iowa! [ laughter ] and no one in iowa wants you back! people had to watch campaign ads for months, they had to stand in a high school gym and argue with their neighbors!o a starbucks one town over because chris christie was holding court in theirs. and you think they're going to stand for another election? corn, and no one will ever find the bodies! you'll be out there with those dead baseball players. [ laughter ] it's iowa. in the end, trump's grief of finishing second can be blamed on those who raised his expectations.er make it seem like second was less than an accomplishment. people, i guess, like this. >> unless i wier
by the way, very expensive waste >> seth: this has been "a closer look." nd applause ] we'll be right back with alan cumming! [ cheers and applause ] performance... ...reimagined. style... ...reinvented. sophistication... ...redefined. introducing the all-new lexus rx and rx hybrid. agile handling.lable 12.3-inch navigation screen and panorama glass roof. never has luxury been this expressive.
there has got to be a way to redeem our hotel points. i just want to take a vacation. this seems crazy. oh really? captain obvious.m, when you collect 10 oh. so you only need to know how to count to 10 to earn a free night at places like that nudist resort.how that got there. because you stayed there, took a selfie and hung it prominently on the wall. hm?they won't judge
lause ] >> seth: welcome back, everybody! and please, give it up for the [ cheers and applause ] always happy to have them. and very happy this week, we're big fans of drummers here at d sitting in with us all week from the john spencer blues explosion, russell simins is here! [ cheers and applause ] thank you so much for joining us, russell. >> thank you.y to have you. >> thank you. anytime. >> seth: our first guest tonight is one of the stars of the hit show "the good wife," which airs sunday nights on cbs.alan cumming sings sappy songs," will be available on february 5th. and he will be performing at carnegie hall on monday, february 8th. please welcome back to the show, cumming! [ cheers and applause ] how are you?
dollars, as always. >> oh, thanks. >> seth: and this is very exciting. carnegie hall, this is a big deal for people.s a big deal for me. >> seth: are you excited? >> i am very excited. actually it's more like when people say, you know, "you're playing carnegie hall?" that makes you more scared.lly looking forward to it, 'cause i have played, like, i've been a guest on other people's things before, so it's a really beautiful room to play. and also, it's like -- it's a great thing this show that i've p, i'm actually doing at carnegie hall. it's a pretty big deal. >> seth: that's exciting. >> yeah. >> seth: so you, that's interesting, you get some -- people make you more nervous than you are. in this instance. like, you know, like, remember when i hosted "saturday night live," actually. >> seth: yeah. >> i remember thinking, you know, oh, i'm doing this, i didn't really know, i didn't mportance of -- the portent of it. until i was -- and everybody is like, "you're hosting "saturday night live," holy sh -- sugar. [ laughter ]ah. but i still get nervous in real life. if i'm not -- i'm not prepared for things, you know. >> seth: but you must feel very prepared for this. >> i've done this show, i've nd i've got -- it's a little different.
but, yeah, i've kind of worked it. >> seth: so i want to talk about this album. so, i'm going to show the cover in a second.ngs sappy songs." first tell me about the album a little bit. how did you come to this idea? >> well, the show is called "alan cumming sings," it's like f my show. and i -- it was like songs i've always -- i've realized that people in this country, especially, always want to know s before they make a judgment about it. music. and i thought that was really weird. and often a lot of songs i really connect to are really sa it is, i was like, "who?" and so -- >> seth: you mean, who sings it, or? >> yeah. >> seth: gotcha. >> or who wrote it. you know, so, for example, cyrus song on my record, that i've got, "the climb." i love the song. i think it's such a beautiful song. and so i just thought, "i'm going to sing that in my show.t at carnegie hall on monday night. and i'm gonna -- [ laughter ] and i'm going to put it on my record." >> seth: that's fantastic. >> and so it's all songs like that, that i have this kind of connection to. and a lot of them are songs i ught i would sing. and some of them are scottish ones, a french one, all over the
stylistically, but -- >> seth: and so, this is a show you originalrlisle, is that correct? >> and the cafe carlisle, yeah. >> seth: okay. >> yeah, i did it last june i did it. >> seth: so your album cover is -- you took it outside the carlisle. >> yeah.s was not planned, right? so we have to post it. [ laughter ] there's -- these not only are you fully-- [ cheers and applause ] i am --nd that's not the magnum, you know, that's -- >> seth: i've checked with the censors, i am allowed, i am allowed to do that. so there you go. [ light laughter ] >> that looks worse.something hanging out. >> seth: that does look worse. so how did this come about? >> right, it's a crazy story. >> seth: so you are fully naked outside the carlisle? >> i'm fully naked. and that is not a magnum, it's a jeroboam. [ laughter ] >> which is bigger. thank you. [ light laughter ] so there's this really good photographer called jordan matter and he takes s, and they're really beautiful pictures. and he asked -- he was doing this thing called "dancers after dark" where he was going to take pictures of dancers after dark, but naked around new york city.to do it.
thinks i'm a dancer." so i said i would do it. [ light laughter ] >> seth: i can't believe that's the part that made you say "oh, my god." [ laughter ]e with being naked outside in new york. it was like, "a dancer? me?" [ laughter ] >> i know. i feel like it was very good insight into my character. to go down -- i was doing my show at the carlisle, and i was forced to go back down to east village and take it there. but it -- some unexpected guests in my room you know, drinking. and time had gone by, and i said, "oh, jordan, can you just come up here and do it?" and he came up, and they were still there. and i sa outside the door of the carlisle hotel." and he said, "ah," and he saw, because i'd hosted the tony's, my agents gave me -- managers rather, gave me that big huge >> seth: your jeroboam. >> my jeroboam. and, so he said, "why don't we get two dancers to hold that in front of your -- junk." can i say juer ] >> junk. [ laughter ] and -- and then -- >> seth: not only can you say junk, but i'm going to show this >> ew! [ cheers ] isn't it fantastic?hey'll have to blur it later. [ light laughter ] >> seth: because people at home,
"oh, my god." >> but like people right now, right as they're watching this could google alan cumming's album and you would see that image. >> seth: yeah. >> but you can't see it on tv. isn't that weird? >> seth: it's very weird. especially, like, butt crack.on at like 1:00 in the morning. like, who cares? >> i know. [ laughter ] who has not seen a butt crack by now? >> seth: exactly. if it's 1:00 in the morning and a butt crack today, you're doing it wrong! >> what's wrong with you life? [ laughter ] so anyway, so jordan said, "let's get two dancers to pose this." >> seth: what time is it? >> it's 2:00 in the morning. >> seth: okay. >> and so we start texting people. and the next morning, i got all going, "i got this text asking me to come to the carlisle and get naked and take a photo in front, on the street." [ light laughter ] anyway, these two dancers, ravenr, and we did it. and i'm a little drunk, and we went down and we kind of practiced with our clothes on and the security man from the and i was like, "i'm just saying goodbye to my friends." >> seth: right. because you had no permission to do this. >> zero.
[ laughter ] >> and then, and then we sort ofnow, the pose, and got all ready. and you know, it's that funny thing when you're about to go skinny dipping or something, first one to do it?" and we're standing there waiting and i thought, "oh, screw it, i'm gonna just --" so i just took my pants off, and then, of course, once i'd done it, eir clothes off. >> seth: now, this is interesting. and i don't want to belabor this. you go pants-first? [ laughter ] about your character than the other thing because -- [ laughter ] i would definitely do -- i would pants last. [ laughter ] i guess i've never -- you had a u. so, okay -- >> so we did that. and once i had done it, everyone -- the other two did. and we didn't -- we weren't ong. like a minute or so. but i was actually thinking, you know, we're on the street in new york city. luckily, it was pretty safe up after 10:00, but -- [ laughter ] but it was quite scary, someone could have come out any second.
that photo, when i was coming toion of my show, i went back to the carlisle, purely to have that photo on the cover of the album. >> seth: that's fantastic. >> thank you. the other thing -- [ cheers and applause ] i like -- i like to think that when this came out, they called ard into the office and the manager said, "hey, gary, can you explain how this happened?" [ laughter ] how three people got fully naked ou >> the carlisle has been very, very nice about, like, you know. i actually think it's a good thing for the carlisle. >> seth: absolutely. >> and also i think in a way it so a venue the carlisle which is quite, you know, kind of, you know, traditional. and then there's me with my clothes off. [ laughter ] >> says it all. >> seth: you recently had a birthday. happy birthday, belated. >> thank you very much. 75. [ laughter ] >> seth: you look fantastic.you got a tattoo for your birthday. >> i did. >> seth: not your first tattoo. >> no, seth, thank you for bringing that up. >> seth: your first tattoo, please. >> seth: everyone needs to know
>> it's a terrible story. >> seth: it's a cautionary tale. >> i'll say. so about 16 years ago, i met this boy, and he and i had this relationship. and two weeks after knowing each other -- two weeks -- we had our names tattooed on each other's bodies. by area. [ light laughter ] and i thought that was the most sensible thing i'd ever done in my entire life. [ light laughter ]nth after that it was over. we just repelled each other away. and i had -- his name was raven, and i had "raven" written on my groin. and, so all my friends who though i was crazy were saying, -u-s on the end to make it ravenous." >> seth: oh, that's smart. [ light laughter ] >> or c to make it craven. or once somebody said take the n off an make it and make it raver.. but i didn't. i kept it and then eventually i got it removed, and everything. by laser. it was horribly painful but then about a year after that i met up and he was like, "still have your tattoo?" and i was like, "no, i had it wrenched from my body." and then i said, "do you have yours?" and he pulled his pants down and say alan, it
[ laughter and applause ] >> seth: he couldn't he couldn't get rid of you. >> no.inging balance to raven. >> seth: there you go. >> that's the beautiful thing. >> seth: there you go. "alan cumming sings sappy songs" will be available on february 5th.lause ] "the good wife" airs sunday nights on cbs. and you're going to stick around, right? >> i'll be here. >> seth: we'll be right back with more alan cumming. [ cheers and applause ] made it, dad. you have to experience this city. that's what you always say. about the food. hi john. hey kevin. spent the day with an astronaut. one more. it's beautiful, isn't it? baseball game next time? done! done. around the globe with... ...your world mastercard.
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[ cheers and applause ] >> seth: welcome back to the show. i'm here with alan cumming. and alan, you have been in y productions over the year. and this is very exciting. i hear that you are working on a new musical. >> yeah, i am, actually. it's this one i've been work and it's a new musical. it's called "hoover dam: the musical." >> seth: "hoover dam: the musical." that's fantastic. well, tell us a little bit about it. >> well, i play the hoover dam's alled john l. savage. and he's a very tormented soul, and he's full of self doubt. because, you know, he compares himself to beavers, which, as turally the best dam makers. [ laughter ] >> seth: he compares himself to beavers like the animal the beaver. >> uh-huh. [ laughter ]they're pretty
building dams. and my character is very worried that by going forward with designing the hoover dam, his work will be compared to what ve done. [ light laughter ] >> seth: so -- so he's in a tough spot. >> yeah, you know, he's absolutely, he really is. an is called "damned if i do, damned if i don't." [ laughter ] and i think it really perfectly encapsulates, you know, how he's wrestling with all the pressure and, you know.ell, that's fantastic. and i'm very excited about this. and everybody here should be very excited, because i hear you're going to preview it for us tonight. >> yeah, that's right. >> seth: you wrote it? >> absolutely. >> seth: ladies and gentlemen, here is, for the very first time, alan cumming singing "damned if i do, damned if i over dam: the musical." [ cheers and applause ] here i am a mere mortal man
and i'm scared scared out of my mindthat i will find that i'm not as good as the beaverseavers will take me to school how could i outdam the beavers building dams they carry mud and stone with their beaver forepaws heir mouths with their beaver strong jaws then there's meeak arms i can't carry a thing in my mouth they ask me for a dam i can't mask who i amn figure it out i'm damned if i do
elievers compare me to beavers there's no chance they won't no chance they won'ton't eat us you will never beat us stop it beavers stop this torment you can't beat us you will never beat us my head you're not even real we are real so very real you're shattering my damn dam confidence hell to hell damn you to hell to hell >> no! i see something in you john savage something quite beaver-y you may notelf
is wood. you're going to need it when you build that dam. >> well, thanks. s going to be built out of concrete, not wood. complex than anything you guys could ever do. your dams don't harness eas as this one will be an arched gravity dam that produces 4.2 billion kilowatts of electricity each day for the greater las vegas area.ill be a marvel of human engineering. so, i don't need your little piece of wood. >> okay. then. [ laughter ] i'm damned if i don't because i'm destined to dot to stay dry then just look toward the sky
>> seth: how are you? >> good, how are you doing? >> seth: good. you look like a million dollars. >> thanks. >> seth: and it's tough to look that way when you follow alan cumming, 'cause he looks great too. >> i know, seriously.shion week, and so have you been going to any of these fashion shows? >> yeah, we went to a couple. we went to a couple. >> seth: now, do you -- i will say, i've gone to some fashion dels walk out -- the male models, for men's fashion week. and i will say it's very rare that i see a piece of clothing that i think i could pull off. it was that, and i was wondering if they hadn't been eating in the last couple months. >> seth: they're on the thinner side of man. >> yeah. >> seth: yeah.f that you thought, "i'm gonna rock that look"? >> yeah, there was a couple. >> seth: all right, that's good. i'm glad to hear it. how's your off season been? now you obviously -- congratulations on making the world series.out the way you want. how much time do you give yourself after that before you start working out again? >> we probably took about a f. played a little golf. >> seth: that's nice. >> went to the bahamas a little
but no, it actually came quick. it's february 2nd, and -- >> seth: you report fairly soon, right? >> spring training is in ten days, so -- >> seth: do you completely check for baseball? like, do you -- are you thinking about it all of the time? >> no, i mean, obviously we were disappointed with what we did, so --t a bummer i brought it up? >> yeah, a little bit. >> seth: i'm sorry. [ laughter ] that was super bad form by me. >> ruined the rest of my week. [ laughter ] >> seth: you have one of the great nicknames. "dark knight."m very enthusiastic about this in new york city. you have some relatives, some family, some younger family -- >> yeah, yeah. >> seth: -- that actually show up to the game, is thi >> yeah, my nieces and nephews really got a kick of it. so -- >> seth: gotcha. >> for me, everybody asks how do i feel about the name and this and that.like it, my nieces and nephews go along with it, then i'm happy with it. >> seth: now, if you're the dark knight, which hitter in the national league is your bane? >> oh -- [ laughter ]ike, who has got your number? >> so i was actually not even in
and i went to spring training, and jayson werth of the biggest, longest home runs i've ever seen and still has not landed yet. [ laughter ] so i would probably say that my bane and i really buckle down to face him every time. >> seth: now when something like that happens in spring training, do your teammates --, the stakes are lower, it doesn't actually count for the season. do you hear about it constantly? like, when you get back to the dugout, are people like, "wow"? >> yeah. [ laughter ] that one -- that one literally is one that time. >> seth: there you go. now, you live in new york city. this is a fantastic --night life here. obviously, you're into fashion. there are beautiful people in new york city. versus the other cities, like, in gossip columns. if you go on a date, people notice. has that been distracting or has it been the best? up? [ laughter ] >> seth: because i'm married and i want to hear all about it.
>> you and it's literally, like every married guy on my team or out with, stories. let's go." [ laughter ] >> seth: "come to my locker. i've made tea. tell me everything about last night."? i pitch once every five days. what happened the other four days? [ laughter ] no, i mean, i enjoy new york.reat city, and, you know, i'm young. i'm 26 years old. so i'm having fun. >> seth: yeah. you left out everything i cared about, but that was -- yeah. [ laughter ] now, you obviously -- women are in locker rooms now, as they the people who cover baseball -- reporters should be allowed, no matter their sex. but you have a player on the team that sometimes -- jacob degrom --from behind, you will sometimes think that there is a lady sitting at a locker? [ laughter ] >> yeah, when he actually first got called up, i -- we were locker mates. into the locker, and people are allowed
but walking into my locker and thinking that i can kind of do o. and then seeing just hair over the back of the chair, i was getting a little concerned there was a lady sitting next to my --my locker. but, no, he's got good flow. >> seth: and he's sticking with it, it seems like. >> he said he was going to cut k he has. we'll see what happens. >> seth: i think it's great. if i could do it, trust me. i'm always curious about music in the locker room, who is in charge of it.play by you, letting people know that you are -- you are fully in charge of it? >> yeah. [ laughter ] no, we actually -- i love music.omething i've listened to my entire life. my sisters are a couple years older than i am -- >> seth: i like that you had to say you have listened to music your entire life. [ laughter ]n like, "have you heard about music? [ laughter ] i'm just 26, so i just heard about it." [ laughter ]saw the music that i listened to, i would be the discovering factor. >> seth: gotcha. now, your off games are you in
or are you out in the bull pen?your time in the regular dugout. so you can chill out and be cool. and i'm excited you guys re-signed cespedes. >> yep. >> seth: who was a key, obviously, to your second-half surge.that i also need some explanation. this is him with cra -- he's eating crabs. i shouldn't say -- he's eating crabs. [ laughter ] he eat all of those? [ laughter ] >> well, that's actually why we re-signed him, because we're not going back to baltimore. so we didn't have to worng all the crabs. >> seth: that's true. you don't have to play them anymore. >> no, but i was actually definitely a part of that. >> seth: oh, you are a part of eating. do y where you have the little hammer? >> i do. is that the little hammer? i don't think anybody wants to say the little hammer. >> seth: well it's not like -- lly go -- i guess that's a regular size hammer. look, i use really big hammers, matt! [ laughter ] thank you so much for being here.on last year. can't wait for this next one. [ cheers and applause ] matt harvey, everybody! we'll be right back with alexander chee!
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[ cheers and applause ] >> seth: welcome back to "late night," everybody. our next guest is a talented author whose highly anticipated he queen of the night," is available in bookstores now. please welcome to the show, alexander chee! [ cheers and appeth: how are you? >> good, thank you. >> seth: congratulations. your book just came out. i have never written a book. i'm always impressed that anyone can. second book. your first book came out in 2002. >> yes. >> seth: why has it taken so long?
i -- i'm curious of your process. >> i wish i could say i was a slow writer. >> seth: okay, but you're not. >> no. i turned in the manuscript, it was november, and it was "nanowrimo." and i thought, what the hell?be that works. and i wrote 100 pages in a month. >> seth: you wrote 100 pages in a month? >> of a new novel. >> seth: so you're already 100 ew one? >> a little more than that now. >> seth: oh, my god. so what did you do from 2002 to two-thousand-now?a great question. [ laughter ] >> seth: yeah. >> i mean, i -- there was a lot of research. >> seth: now, that's -- so this is about a 19th century opera . >> correct. >> seth: and was this a world you knew? >> i knew nothing about it. i didn't. >> seth: okay.rst mistake you made, when you picked that. [ laughter ] >> that was also my thought, actually.
a woman then. [ laughter ] i didn't know anything about france at the time. i didn't know -- i knew some about opera singers. but i also knew that, you know, op intense fans in the world. >> seth: right. >> and it's part of what makes them really interesting. but it's also part of what makes to write anything for them. >> seth: i would imagine. because they're going to comb through whatever you write. like i -- if i wrote about opera say "and then she sang the loud part. [ laughter ] and then she got quieter but you could still understand the words, and the crowd was entranced." >> exactly.nd that would be bad. >> and that would be really bad. [ laughter ] >> seth: and not only opera. but i've heard you say when you talk about paris, like, you were ite a book about that either. so -- >> correct. >> seth: now, what -- why did you put this pressure on yourself? i mean, i'm very impressed that you chose to do this.found the
on my part, i would say. [ laughter ] to use a french word. >> seth: yeah, very well done.ur research! [ laughter ] >> no, i just looked at the period and i thought, well, the singer at this time would be in paris. if she was famous. if she was going to be, you know, a celebrity of the kind i was creating. and, you know, it is one of the most popular settings for a novel.also, for example, why my french rights haven't sold. because when -- >> seth: interesting. about france, the french are just like, "really?" [ laughter ] >> seth: "we'd love to hear what you think." [ laughter ]iously read from our attitude that we're just desperate to hear your opinion." >> pretty much. [ laughter ] >> seth: pretty much? yeah.
s the idea of an opera singer as celebrity. and there was a real opera is that -- >> jenny lind, correct.s is sort of loosely based on the idea of someone who is that famous for their voice, yes? >> yes. >> seth: and explain -- like, at the time, there were people ra singers were celebrities, and a lot of people hadn't even heard them sing. >> i think that -- so the out jenny lind is that, you know, even now she has what an opera -- what you would call a "clack."nse fans who believe that she was amazing. she ended her career before the age of recording.heard her sing who's alive now. but it is true that when she retired, the house of lords in london ceased business for two days.ally think of a contemporary entertainer that would cause a government to shut
>> seth: yeah.ascinating to me. to think about, like -- that level of passion and devotion. >> seth: i was thinking beyonce.ht of our congress and i think a lot of guys probably aren't beyonce fans. [ light laughter ] they'd probably still go to work. >> it would be so much better if they were. >> seth: true.er. congratulations on the book. i want to talk about something else that i'm very impressed with, which is, you started a --that this is true. but a writer's residency program on amtrak. the train. >> yes. >> seth: howout? >> i -- in an interview, i said, you know -- the question was something like "where are you most productive?" and i'm incredibly productive on trains.so i said something to the effect of, "amtrak should have a writers' residency" in the interview. and that sentence got picked up on twitter, and was put out first by my friend
literary twitter presence, writer, who i love quite a bit.nd of went haywire. and then three days later, amtrak sent me a little message on twitter. "we would like to try your idea, send us an e-mail." [ light laughter ] and i thought, what is going on? so then, now it's a real program.nd so how does it work? you basically get on the train and write? [ laughter ]. for me. like, yeah. >> seth: you don't get -- a residency implies you live somewhere, but -- >> a little bit. you get a cabinette. >> seth: okay.s a sort of compartment. >> seth: yep. >> with a bed and little desk. there's one plug with a shaver next to it. [ light laughter ]tic. you know, i think what i love about it, though, is also the way in which you're just -- you
>> seth: yes.hich sounds like hell, but actually it's this incredible education in what's going on in america now that i think f writers could do well by. >> seth: what's your longest train trip you've taken here in the states? >> oh, it was that amtrak trip i nd, oregon. >> seth: and how long did that take? >> it took about three-and-a-half days. >> seth: wow. think i would get a lot of work done is i bet for huge swaths of that, there's no internet. >> correct. >> seth: yeah. and might as well do some work. [ laughter ] >> sure. that is true. i was of a little shocked to learn th only on the northeast corridor. >> seth: yeah. >> yeah. >> seth: that's right. in the middle of the country, they haven't even heard of google. [ laughter ] they still use encyclopedias for everything.ogle to find google. >> seth: thank you so much for being here. congratulations so much on the book. >> thank you.