Giant, happy tree-man Joe Manganiello might technically have been on last night’s Late Show to talk about his upcoming quest to save the floundering Justice League franchise (sorry about that pun, Aquaman) as kickass, one-eyed assassin Deathstroke, but that all went out the studio window once Stephen Colbert whipped out the dice-bag. Actually, their interview never actually got on the track that Manganiello’s DC overlords would have no doubt liked, as the pair instead just geeked out for the entire segment about their mutual love of Dungeons & Dragons.
And before you roll your eyes at the notoriously buff Magic Mike star co-opting geek culture for some talk-show anecdote fodder, let it be known that Manganiello is the real fucking deal. At least that’s what the pictures Colbert showed of Manganiello’s “Gary Gygax memorial dungeon” (also known as the basement of the Beverly Hills home he shares with wife Sofía Vergara) suggested, complete with life-sized mounted mind-flayer head and lovingly sculpted floating beholder model. (Manganiello told Colbert that he scuttled Vergara’s plans for a pilates dance space in favor of his dice-littered dungeon once they started renovating.) And, again, lest you think that the strapping Manganiello’s proud nerdery is the PR equivalent of a waif-like actress’ unconvincing claim that she just loves big, sloppy cheeseburgers, Manganiello threw some shade at the other burly Hollywood self-proclaimed geek on the block. (He and Colbert also dropped some Michael Moorcock deep cuts into conversation, with Colbert proclaiming happily, “This might alienate some audience members, but I don’t care.”)
Asked by Colbert if he’s ever played with vocal D&D enthusiast Vin Diesel, Manganiello cast doubt on the Fast & Furious star’s geek cred. “I don’t know anybody who plays with him,” teased Manganiello, who should know, as he calls his home dungeon the “L.A. hub” of out-and-proud celebrity D&D fans. He also told the envious Colbert that his usual adventuring party includes the likes of Taran Killam and Paul Wight (better know as WWE wrestler Big Show), which prompted Colbert to angle for an invitation. Manganiello—sporting a windbreaker from his new D&D-inspired clothing line—happily extended one, with tentative plans being made for a big, no-doubt hilariously serious campaign in September at Joe and Sofía’s place. (If there is a god—Manganiello’s half-dragon character worships Tiamat—there will be cameras rolling.) And, just to cement his brand of towering geek coolness, Manganiello proceeded to roll an improbable 20 on Colbert’s 20-sided die to conclude the interview.