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Stephen Colbert and John Krasinski take their comedy guy fight to action guy town

Stephen Colbert, John Krasinski
Screenshot: The Late Show

After catching up of everything that happened in Trump World since he was on vacation—a president under multiple criminal investigations is trying to stick a puppet justice on the Supreme Court, by the way—Stephen Colbert welcomed his first guest, amiable, boy-next-door “comedy guy” John Krasinski. The Late Show host, still sporting his vacation beard (for now), settled in for a nice, funny chat with the former Jim Halpert, but soon—dramatic music sting—things got tense.

Playing a clip of Krasinski getting punched and stabbed all over the place from the actor’s new gig as the eighth or ninth onscreen Jack Ryan, Colbert patronizingly applauded the “sweet” and “adorable” Krasinski’s turn as Amazon action guy. Colbert claimed that, back in 1998, he, too, learned the lesson about comedians trying to do action when he was passed over for the lead in Blade. (“You do not utter his name in this house!,” Colbert raged when Krasinski questioned the idea that Colbert and Wesley Snipes were ever in the same weight class.) Even some pushups and a shirtless photo from that army movie where Krasinski defended his comrades against Hillary Clinton or whatever couldn’t sway the taunting Colbert that John “make funny faces into the camera” Krasinski could pull off an action lead.


Well, those are fighting words, especially after Colbert’s mention of “real Jack Ryan” Harrison Ford bought him a quickly apologized-for sock in the kisser from Krasinski. Taking their escalating brawl backstage, Colbert continued to goad his guest into the sort of hallway free-for-all generally reserved for your Daredevils or your Old Boys. Plus, as Krasinski warned, “fight scenes are highly choreographed and edited and, let’s be honest, you don’t have the budget for that.” Fighting words again, as the pair (and Colbert’s stunt double) battled up to the roof of the Ed Sullivan Theater (with a brief time out for a friendly chat with Krasinski’s Office costar Ellie Kemper), where Colbert went full-on action movie villain. “Us comedy guys will never be like them,” sneered the desperate Colbert.We can’t be heroes. Were not allowed to be sexy!” Revealing his Jack Ryan abs in rebuttal, Krasinski finished off his nemesis, John McClane-style, even if Colbert got the last laugh at Krasinski’s final, comedy-guy line—delivered straight into the camera. Damn you Colbert!

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Dennis Perkins

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