Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

On The Late Show, H. Jon Benjamin succeeds in cracking up Stephen Colbert with his failed threesome

Jon Benjamin, Stephen Colbert
Screenshot: The Late Show With Stephen Colbert

Whether playing Sterling Archer, Bob Belcher, Ben Katz, Coach John McGuirk, or the most unexpectedly soulful can of mixed vegetables in movie and TV history, H. Jon Benjamin just makes failure funny. On Friday’s Late Show to promote Archer’s latest narrative left turn (the super-spy is basically Rip Riley as Indiana Jones now), Benjamin, instead, regaled a cry-laughing Stephen Colbert with some of his biggest real-life failures, as related in his new memoir, appropriately titled, Failure Is An Option.

“The book didn’t go so well,” Benjamin told Colbert of the book’s subtitle, “An Attempted Memoir,” calling his writing (and living) process, “If you fail… fail again, then fail again, then fail again, and then write a book.” Living what he preaches, Benjamin has also released a jazz album called Well, I Should Have* (Learned How To Play Piano), and even sat in on the melodica (which he also does not know how to play) with Late Show bandleader Jon Batiste to close out the segment. But it was Benjamin’s story of his one, abortive college threesome that had Colbert and Colbert’s audience roaring. (Always a good sign when the host uses your humorous memoir’s book jacket to wipe away tears during your bit.) Sure, Archer has had more—and undoubtedly funnier—threesomes than James Bond, but none of them could have been as satisfying as providing The Late Show with one of its most hilarious interviews in ages. Well, that’s what failure teaches us to believe, anyway.


Share This Story

Get our newsletter

About the author

Dennis Perkins

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