Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

It's Election Day, so here's John Mulaney and Seth Meyers being funny and sweet for 20 minutes

John Mulaney, Seth Meyers
John Mulaney, Seth Meyers
Screenshot: Late Night With Seth Meyers

Deep, steadying breath, everyone. It’s Election Day in America. And not just Election Day, but the biggest, scariest, most potentially disastrous and republic-ending Election Day since—nope, this is it. This is the one. And late-night hosts, who’ve spent the last four-plus years finding ways to be funny while soul-vomiting at the daily reality of a Donald Trump presidency, spent their last pre-election shows making their final pitches for sanity and booking guests doing the same. Stephen Colbert summed up the oddly calming futility of worrying about what to do at this point, quoting Apollo 13’s Jim Lovell by saying of our careening-into-the-possible-void nation, “Isaac Newton is in the driver’s seat now.” (Colbert’s zen attitude aside, there’s plenty you can still do, even if you’ve already voted. Like charging up your cell phone to watch out for any of Trump’s self-ordained white supremacist militia of “poll watchers” harassing voters at your local polling place. Just spitballing.)

But Maybe Seth Meyers had the best idea of all, inviting pal, fellow SNL alum, stand-up star, recent Saturday Night Live host, and all-around guy who never seems to get too high or low about anything, John Mulaney. With his friend and former SNL coworker (or, as Mulaney was quick to correct, “employee”) safely distanced on the Late Night couch, and without an audience to play to, the two basically just shot the shit for a while. And with Mulaney, that’s essentially the sort of comfort viewing we could all use about now. Especially as the two spent an extended (unedited video below) segment just chatting about their relationship, their time on SNL, and Mulaney’s “remarkably effective, terrible” go-to icebreaker question, “Have you ever seen a ghost?” (Meyers says no, while Mulaney is hilariously on-the-record on the topic.)

The duo spent a while riffing on Mulaney’s wardrobe, a far-too-hip jacket given to Mulaney by Julian Casablancas, frontman of Saturday’s musical guest, The Strokes. Mulaney, putting on the sunglasses Casablancas left in the pocket, did, as he admitted, look like the nerd in the 1980s teen movie trying too hard to be cool at a party. (Think the stoned Anthony Michael Hall in The Breakfast Club. That’s the idea.) But most of the time was spent with Meyers answering real, genuinely sort-of touching questions from Mulaney’s notebook, like “Who do you wish you’d been closer to that you weren’t?,” and “Have I ever hurt your feelings?” On the latter, Mulaney claims head writer boss Meyers never did, with any aloofness at bad news stemming from being “mad at the system.” (Meaning Lorne, essentially.) Still, Mulaney was sincere in thanking Meyers for being the one who initially went to bat in suggesting Mulaney try out for SNL, with Mulaney saying of the life-changing experience, “It was like picking up rocks off the ground, and you were like, ‘You wanna go to the moon?’”

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Basically, Meyers, who did book Tracy Chapman as well to sing an unsurprisingly stirring rendition of “Talkin’ ’Bout A Revolution,” knew we’d all need a solid 20 minutes with a funny friend to at least block out some entertainingly sweet time away from our phones today. (Colbert, in his monologue, aptly predicted most people’s Election Day as, “hope-dreading while laugh-screaming at our doomscrolling.”) So vote if you haven’t already, stay hydrated, take walks, keep your cell camera ready, and, like Meyers and Mulaney, give yourself permission to just be human for a little while.

Contributor, The A.V. Club. Danny Peary's Cult Movies books are mostly to blame.

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