Political monologues, celebrity interviews, and engineered viral bits may be the preferred late night currency these days. But every few months, something so delightfully weird happens in the wee hours of the broadcast schedule that it feels worthy of celebrating.
The latest in a distinct “Late Night with Seth Meyers” tradition of all-encompassing, chaos-embracing segments is “Late Night Casserole,” a collection of jokes and premises that might not necessarily work if presented on their own. But when smushed together over the span of a dozen minutes of insanity, it’s one of the best examples of what can happen when a late night show removes all its restraints.
“Late Night Casserole” is a spiritual sibling of “Joke Bucket,” whose praises we’ve sung in the past. One thing that connects the two is Meyers’ demeanor, the preemptory, apologetic nature of the way he introduces each successive part of the whole thing. Even he’s not quite sure what’s going to happen next, and there’s something thrilling about that.
It once again gives the show’s writers a chance to shine, this time featuring Ben Warheit in a convoluted bit too pure to spoil before seeing it. This “Late Night Casserole” even gives the camera crew a chance to shine — the zoom-ins on the piece of moving machinery are punchlines all their own.
Tragically, the handful of previous versions of “Late Night Casserole” have not survived the turgid waters of late night video clearances, but with this kind of segment, the thumbnails of what transpired are pretty good indications of the sheer absurdity that those brought too. Yes, a large part of this is delivered inside a “Game of Thrones” spoof Trojan Horse. But even that has a level of execution that makes Meyers’ utter bewilderment seem totally earned.
For all the success that a “Carpool Karaoke” or a retro pop sensation might mean for a late night show, it’s so rare that you see something so spontaneous. It’s what made “The Chris Gethard Show” so essential. It’s what makes Colbert bloopers so euphoric. And it’s the thing that will make you never hear the word “tingle” the same way again.
Embrace the madness below: