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tv   Late Night With Seth Meyers  NBC  September 29, 2021 12:37am-1:37am PDT

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♪ >> announcer: tonight on "late night with seth meyers," ray liotta "what we do in the shadows," actress natasia demetriou, author spencer ackerman, featuring the 8g band with nick baglio, and now seth meyers. >> seth: good evening, i'm seth meyers and this is "late night. we hope you're doing well. and let's get to the news. president biden received his coronavirus vaccine booster shot yesterday, or as fox news reported, heroin [ laughter ] while receiving his coronavirus vaccine booster shot,
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president biden told reporters, quote, "i know it doesn't look like it, but i am over 65. i don't know what's worse, how corny that joke is or the fact that he's been using it for 13 years senate minority leader, mitch mcconnell, yesterday, also received the coronavirus vaccine booster shot mcconnell received the shot in his hand because, of course, he tried to block it. "i -- that's not - [ laughter ] "i don't know why. [ laughter ] defense secretary, lloyd austin, and joints -- joint chiefs of staff chairman general, mark milley, appeared publicly today before the senate for the first time since the u.s. withdrawal from afghanistan. and they immeidately had to be evacuated. "go, go, o we didn't think it would be this bad. according to a new book by ex-white house press secretary, stephanie grisham, former president trump cuts his own hair with a huge pair of scissors that would, quote, "cut a ribbon at an opening of one of his properties." and now two years later, the bank owns his hair
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[ laughter ] after the adult film star, stormy daniels, described former president trump's penis in an interview, trump reportedly called then white house staffer, stephanie grisham, and assured her that daniels' description was incorrect. i can't imagine exactly what he said, but probably something like - >> i was in the pool [ laughter ] [ laughter and applause i was in a pool! [ laughter ] >> seth: at least something like that president biden is reportedly annoyed at the white house press corps for asking off topic questions. at a string of recent meetings with foreign leaders, besides, he has no idea why samantha's not coming back. the annual congressional baseball game is set for tomorrow, pitting democrats against republicans. so hurry up and pick a team, joe. french president, emmanuel macron, was hit by an egg yesterday while touring an international food trade fair. said macron, "that's - [ speaking in french ] [ laughter ] karen chee submitted that joke and in her submission said to alex baze, "i believe that this joke is perfect. [ laughter ]
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is that accurate, baze so do please go to see captain poles, where you'll be given the option, voting yes, "that was a perfect joke," or "karen." and finally, c-span recently unveiled a new app called "c-span now," also available on most white noise apps. and that was a monologue we got a great show for you tonight. you know him from films like, "goodfellas," and "field of dreams." "karen," right callback he's in "the many saints of newark," which i've seen he is absolutely incredible in it it's out this week ray liotta will be here in studio she's a really funny and talented actress you know from "what we do in the shadows." natasia demetriou will be here and he is a pulitzer prize winning journalist his book, "reign of terror: how the 9/11 era destabilized america and produced trump," is out now. spencer ackerman will be joining me, but before we get to all of that, here at "late night," every night, i write a monologue, made up of jokes written by a diverse team of writers.
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as a result, a lot of jokes come across my desk that due to my being a straight white male would be difficult for me to deliver, but we don't stop -- we don't think that should stop you from enjoying them so we'd like to share them with you now in a segment called, "jokes seth can't tell." ♪ >> seth: hey, everybody. these are two of our writers, amber and jenny. >> i'm black >> and i'm gay >> and we're both women. >> seth: and i'm not, so i'll read the set up for these jokes, and amber and jenny will read the punchlines here we go according to "men's journal," the best dating app for gay men is eharmony. >> while the best dating apps for lesbians is taskrabbit >> seth: the city of birmingham, alabama has seen a population growth recently in white neighborhoods. >> white neighborhoods, or as they're more commonly known, "former black neighborhoods. >> seth: a new, viral tiktok trend features users posting checklists to help women figure out if they're lesbians. >> the checklist has one question are your keys on one of these?
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>> seth: is that really where you keep your keys >> yes, and then i hang this from the belt loop of my pants >> seth: and what if you're wearing a skirt? [ laughter ] >> seth: could you imagine what that would look like >> i don't know. >> good one, bud >> seth: serena williams was recently spotted taking a carriage ride through central park >> even crazier, the chair umpire gave her a penalty for it >> seth: amber, have you ever taken a carriage ride in central park >> no, i'm not going to pay $60 to smell horse [ bleep ] when the subway is only $2.75. [ laughter ] >> seth: two teammates on the wnba's connecticut suns recently got engaged to each other. >> they met at the start of the first quarter. >> seth: okay, so now, jenny, this comes up a lot in this segment. do lesbians really commit that fast >> let me put it this way. if you were a lesbian, we would have gotten married halfway through my first day >> seth: jenny >> ooh >> seth: so nice >> yeah. >> seth: a park in texas will be named after the city's first black police officer it's called, "mixed feelings park." [ laughter ]
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>> seth: the huffington post recently published an article about the dangers of wearing a ponytail holder around your wrist. >> a ponytail holder around your wrist or as lesbians call it, "fine jewelry. >> seth: jenny, do you keep a spare ponytail holder on your wrist? >> absolutely not. i keep it on my key chain. >> seth: oh, there we go the met is opening its first opera written by a black person. >> which explains why it starts with a skit. [ laughter ] seth, did you get that joke? >> seth: i did >> jenny, did you get that joke? >> i did not >> well, it's a better hit rate than it will have in the real world. [ laughter ] >> seth: i like that it went exactly as well as if we had a full audi -- [ bleep ]. [ laughter ] two queer women have broke but have launched a new craft beer called, "dyke beer." >> because the name, "busch," was already taken. [ beer opening ] >> seth: sorry, what was that? >> that's a lesbian mating call. >> seth: huh according to cbs news, there's a trend of black americans leaving the u.s. and moving to ghana >> "just a suggestion," said my landlord
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[ laughter ] >> hey, seth, why don't you tell one? >> seth: oh, guys, i don't think i could. >> buddy, you've got to. just tell one. >> seth: all right, but i don't feel like this is going to end well >> oh, come on do it. >> seth: okay, okay. after being fired as the host of "the bachelor," chris harrison recently received an eight figure settlement, but it's "the bachelor," so even though it was an eight figure, it only had a four face. [ laughter ] >> seth, no! >> seth: amber, yes. >> no. >> seth: jenny, yes. >> seth, no! >> seth: i will die on that hill >> seth, no. >> seth: all right, i'll try again. a big cat sanctuary in england recently announced the birth of a rare black jaguar cub. "what a shame for the families," said prince charles. [ laughter ] >> how dare you! >> seth: you told me it would be okay >> you should be ashamed [ laughter ] the audience would be ashamed if they were here, but they're not. >> seth: black women and lesbians are liars ♪ we'll be right back with ray liotta ♪
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but we believed we could make something worthy of their spirit. ♪ >> seth: our first guest tonight is an emmy award-winning actor, you know from films such as, "field of dreams," "goodfellas," and "no sudden move. he stars in the highly
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anticipated "sopranos" prequel, "the many saints of newark," which will be released simultaneously in theaters and on hbo max on october 1st. let's take a look. >> i'll tell you, dick, it's paradise over there. on the one hand, you can't believe the beauty on the other hand, they don't even have toilets. i told you, 'seppina, that you're going to live the life of a proud american lady. and i'm going to have my second set of children with you and they'll be deluged with the life that they could never even imagine over there like you were, dick, as a kid. these will be your brothers and sisters. >> seth: please welcome to the show, ray liotta ♪ [ laughter ] >> seth: hey >> how are you, man? >> seth: nice to see you, again. how you doing? >> it's been awhile. >> seth: it has been a long, long time. come on up >> and we're supposed to fake that there's people here
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>> seth: we're -- no, no, no we're not going to -- we're just going to be honest and say there's nobody here. >> i like it without >> seth: you do? interesting. >> yeah. >> seth: what do -- what do you like about it? >> i don't know. less pressure, less -- you know, if you're saying something, there's a joke there is no joke if they're not laugh -- i don't know i don't know >> seth: i do -- it is a far more natural conversation without an audience. >> totally that -- yeah let's me adjust. >> seth: this is -- i want to -- i want to ask, i'm so excited about this movie i've heard great things. have you seen it yet >> i have. >> seth: you have. and are you happy with it. >> i -- i am it takes me a while, though, when i -- to watch a movie that i'm in, 'cause i'm just looking at so many different things. >> seth: are you very hard on yourself >> i don't -- i usually don't watch. >> seth: you don't like to watch yourself >> yeah, no. there's certain movies -- this i really wanted to see there's other directors that i worked with, that, obviously i wanted to see. but, in general, i probably only see less than half >> seth: now, later on, if you're in a movie that you don't see and you run into, say, the
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director, do you admit to them that you have not ever seen the movie? >> no. [ laughter ] well, i would -- see, we would have gotten a good laugh >> seth: yeah. right there you go >> that's when you need them there. >> seth: there you go. we'll -- we'll make it sound good later >> put it in i would probably avoid seeing the director, or just say, "nah, i haven't seen it yet. i'm not sure >> seth: gotcha, gotcha. this has been -- you have, kind of, been dancing around "the sopranos" world for a while. like, a lot of -- i think, part of it is people always wanted to see you in it, because, you know, "goodfellas" is this iconic, you know, film that's in the same world i think, maybe, 27 actors in "goodfellas" then went on to be in "the sopranos." [ laughter ] it's some crazy number and david chase did approach you about a part in "the sopranos," back when the show was on tv >> yeah. i was -- i was in virginia doing "hannibal," and he came -- he took a train out we had lunch, and they start telling me about the part. and i said, "nah, i'm not sure i don't know i'll let you know.
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and for -- who's the guy that got it >> seth: joey pants? yeah >> yeah, yeah, yeah. joey pants got it and won an emmy so, i made the good move for him. [ laughter ] and the right move for me. [ laughter ] >> seth: and now, you find your way -- you find your way into the film what -- david chase. i love watching david chase do interviews i'm fascinated to watch him talk seems very serious is he -- is he fun to work with? >> huh [ laughter ] i don't know if fun's the word but, you know you're in really good hands >> seth: yeah. >> if things are going south >> seth: right he's just -- what i really liked about him, he's just very intense and knows what he wants, knows what he likes and is not afraid to say it >> seth: i'm assuming "the sopranos" was a show that you watched. and, like everybody who was involved in the show, and now who's involved in the movie, like, you know, you want to be careful with something that has, you know, so well respected and so well loved. do you feel like everybody on set knew they were -- they were,
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sort of, messing -- not messing with, but, like, had to be delicate with this beloved show? >> i never really watched it >> seth: you didn't watch "the sopranos?" >> syour honorh. >> seth: okay, go on [ laughter ] >> no. the few episodes in the beginning. but at that time, i just wasn't into sitting home and watching television >> seth: yeah. >> you were out doing stuff. so, i mean, i -- i saw episodes. and, i said, "wow, this is really good. every now and then, you're flicking and -- you know, there's an episode that's on but no, i'm not -- i will. i will, eventually >> seth: okay. [ laughter ] well, now, the good news is, since this is a prequel, you can watch it in order. >> well, that's the other thing. >> seth: yeah. [ light laughter ] >> it didn't matter. and i didn't have to sound like anybody, because - >> seth: yes >> -- for some people, some of the audience, some of the people in our show go on to be on on the series >> seth: so, in the clip, we saw alessandro -- how do you say his last name? >> nivola. >> seth: nivola. you know, i heard there's a -- there's a fight in the film. and, obviously, when actors fight, you try very careful -- you try to be very careful, not to actually make contact
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>> you'd think somebody would want to be very careful. >> seth: yeah. but, i heard -- i heard alessandro clipped you a little bit. >> he did. he -- he did and i understand exactly where he was coming from this is like a nice shot for him. and he wants to make it as real as possible, but he got a little sloppy [ light laughter ] >> seth: so he hits you. and then, i heard you -- you didn't let him off the hook. you made him -- you made him sweat it a little bit. [ laughter ] >> so, he called -- found out how -- see how i was doing and i answer the phone, and i said, "not very good, jimmy. so what -- i said, "you broke my jaw. and he really thought that i -- i kept it going. and, he, "oh, my god, ray, i'm so sorry i'm so sorry." but, he didn't break it. but it was good to make him sweat a little [ laughter ] >> seth: yeah. i think that's absolutely right. hey, so we -- we last worked together -- i think this may be the time i saw you, 2003 >> that's what -- yeah >> seth: 2003, in this building, you hosted "snl. and, i was actually texting with my friend, rachel dratch, today. which is why it's funny to see you. because, this was, maybe, for me, the most memorable sketch you did in the show.
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this was a kids' show. and over the course of the summer, rachel dratch was a kid who became, maybe, a little bit more of a woman. [ laughter ] and you were -- there was a lot of dancing in the sketch >> yeah. >> seth: you were -- you were a -- >> a kid show. >> seth: it was a kid show >> it was a kid show >> seth: you were the guy who played the dinosaur, and you were not - you would not stand for it >> well, i -- i got the cigarette in my mouth now and a drink. so, we taking a break. i think jimmy was the director and i'm upset. "look at her." i go, "how could you have her, like, dancing like that? [ laughter ] because when she danced, things just - >> seth: yeah. things happen. >> -- go >> seth: yeah. [ laughter ] >> and they went it was a really good - >> seth: i thought it was a -- >> tina fey wrote that were you part of that? >> seth: i was only -- only just to watch and enjoy but, i thought it was an excellent use of -- of ray liotta [ laughter ] hey, congrats on the movie >> thank you >> seth: i'm so excited to see it there have been very few movies i've been anticipating this much and it's just great to see you again. >> oh, good. i hope we don't disappoint you [ laughter ] >> seth: "the many saints of newark" is in theaters and on hbo max on october 1st we'll be right back with more "late night.
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♪ >> seth: back tonight with the 8g band, he's an incredible session touring musician and educator from raleigh, north carolina he's the drummer for grammy-nominated artist the foreign exchange and power trio, the hot at nights. for more information, go to his instagram page @nickybagzz nick baglio is here. thanks so much for being with us, nick our next guest stars -- is a talented actress who stars in "what we do in the shadows," which airs thursdays at 10:00 p.m. on fx let's take a look. >> how is this my fault? >> because i said to you that you're the one to be responsible for feeding the sire >> what have i done?
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>> i was meaning to. i even wrote it on a sticky note, "ask nandor feed sire. but i never actually got around to giving him the message. so, you know, i think it's very difficult to say who's at fault, really >> seth: please welcome to the show, natasia demetriou. how are you natasia? >> i'm good. hello. we're finally -- we're finally zooming. >> seth: this is so exciting to have you here. i'm such a huge fan. and thank you very much. you've taken zoom very seriously. you look absolutely stunning >> yes, thank you. i didn't make make -- this just -- i didn't make an effort. i was just wearing this. >> seth: oh, really? >> yeah. >> seth: that's just your hanging around the house clothes? >> yeah. i just got an email saying you wanted to chat so, i was just like, "okay." [ laughter ] this is a fantastic show, for those who don't watch it, about vampires and it has a giant fan base of comedy fans. but, i'm wondering if vampire fans also enjoy the show >> oh, yeah.
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yeah big-time vampires, themselves, aren't a huge fan, 'cause we're, kind of, exposing them. >> seth: right >> but and we're quite -- it's quite a secret community but, yeah, vampire fans love it. and, when i -- when i had instagram, i get a lot of very delicious dms asking me, you know, if i wanted to swap blood or send articles of clothing that may be covered in blood >> seth: is that maybe why it's a former instagram account, as opposed to an active >> no. that was the only reason why i kept it. [ laughter ] so, i miss that. i miss it. >> seth: so this is -- it must be -- you know, there was -- i feel like we're at the end of this, like, huge vampire boom. it was, like, very serious for a while. and this is the really nice, like, sort of, taking the piss out of vampires. were you -- did you read any of the vampire books? did you see any of the movies? >> i was -- i mean, i -- "twilight" was my jam.
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i was -- i would -- i inhaled those books. and, by that, i didn't even read them [ laughter ] and then, they just became part of me. >> seth: did you -- are they good do you feel like i would enjoy the "twilight" books >> do you love really good things >> seth: yeah. [ light laughter ] >> then, i think you'd absolutely love them [ laughter ] 'cause they're just like -- because i know you're, sort of, a brooding teenage girl. i think that you -- for me, it was just like that state of, like, just being so horny, and so wanting a boyfriend, and so wanting to - i didn't -- and then you could just, like, i would just read them and then just sit but, like, the reality is, it was just me being a teenager like, sat staring at a wall, thinking that the whole world revolved around me but that's what those books, like, evoked they're heaven >> seth: well, it seems to tick all my boxes so i will be running out to the nearest open book store i can find
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is it fun for you, playing an immortal character, to work on things, like your character's backstory? and have you brought any of your personal life into the character? >> it is so fun. itveo worry about, like, storyline or narrative or anything, 'cause you're like, "eh, she's been alive for 700 years, so sure." but yeah, i -- yeah, i've been -- when i first got the part, jemaine was very -- and taika were very, like, "you should channel your cypriot, you know, heritage like my dad's from cyprus. and yeah, i channel that it's basically cypriot people are essentially just vampires. 'cause they are -- they just care about, like, sex, and like gold coins, fire, and like death. [ laughter ] if that is -- and that's -- you know, like, and it's such a rich - it's like, the, sort of, culture, that just, like, my dad lived in the uk for most of his
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life he came over when he was, like, 11 but, yeah, his accent gets stronger every year. and his -- but the greek culture. it's just like -- you know, he -- like, just stinks of olive oil. [ light laughter ] like, he has olives coming out of his ears. [ laughter ] and like - [ laughter ] >> seth: now, i -- you, obviously, find a lot of humor in your parents, but i've heard your family -- very serious people, other than you and your brother. >> oh, yeah, no. they don't like that -- that humor is not a big deal. it's like, "i went to the shop today and the milk was more expensive than i had hoped." [ laughter ] and, you know, everything is very dramatic. 'cause they're greek it's the ancient greeks. you know, they're just, like, everything is so unbelievably serious. like, my -- my - [ speaking in greek my aunty, she has had problems with her foot for as long as i can remember and it's just, like, she's just got, like, a bunion or something. but it's like, "my foot is very, very, very gentle with this" -
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and, you know, like -- like, hold her foot in her hand. it's like, "touch it with your young skin please." [ laughter ] >> seth: do they -- are they -- are they happy that you are -- you have a thriving career in comedy does that mean anything to them? >> i mean -- i mean, they know that, like, me and my brother are on tv and we do stuff. but, i think for them, that -- that the thing that would really light them up, you know, they're just like, "so is it 'the x factor?' and you're like, "no it's not 'x factor.' it's a -- it's a mockumentary, written by jemaine clement, taika waititi, paul simms, stefani robinson." you know, like your -- your -- and they're like, "yeah, but what about simon cowell. and, you know, they -- i think to them tv is like "x factor," "britain's got talent," "america's got talent. you know that. or like -- or like the equivalent of, like, "the bold and beautiful" in the uk would be like "coronation street" or something. and -- i think if i was on that, they'd be like, "bloody hell,
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wow! [ light laughter ] but, for this, they're just, like, "it's something about dinosaurs, something, an old -- they're playing some -- an old thing. >> seth: your -- your brother jamie's been on the show he's incredibly talented you are both in a wonderful show called, "stath lets flats" -- sorry. it's a tongue -- it's a tongue twister. >> yeah. >> seth: do you enjoy -- i've been lucky enough, over the years, to work with my brother do you guys enjoy working together is it more or less stressful >> oh, it's, i mean, it's -- i mean, you must know, it's just so lovely. 'cause, like, i think in this industry you can sometimes, maybe, i don't know if anyone's heard of this before, but people can be a little bit fake in this industry and it's so lovely to be, like, on-set with someone that you're like, "god, i actually really love you 'cause you're my family." that's so lovely and then, you know, we -- it's great to network with him at christmas. you know, in front of my parents. [ laughter ]
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>> seth: that's probably why -- i heard that some people resent the fact that you, maybe, networked your way into the part [ laughter ] >> yeah. yeah, that -- that, i do get that but, yeah, so no it's so heavenly and i just -- i just -- i really do, i love him too much. like, that's the only stressful thing, is that sometimes i want to cradle him like the tiny baby boy he is, in my eyes. but, you know, he's doing a job, and it's really unhelpful when i'm trying to cradle him and he's trying to film a scene. >> seth: so, it -- because i -- i have read him say, over the years -- because you're the older sibling, that, one, you guys made each other laugh a lot. but two, that he was, just, sort of, desperate to be around you, which i think is true of most younger siblings >> yeah, most people are desperate to be around me, to be honest >> seth: yeah. i'm getting that i will say, on this first meeting, i'm getting that. >> no. yeah it was -- everyone always says that they think he's older, so let's not forget that i am, unfortunately, older yeah, he -- it -- it was -- we did just -- i guess, he is the only other person to live the
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way we've lived. i don't -- you know, like, with the, sort of, like, weird stuff your parents do in your upbringing and so, it's just, like, this frame of reference is, like, i can just be like, "do that thing that uncle tony did in, like, 1996." and he's like, "yeah, okay yeah, i'll do that." [ laughter ] and then gets his -- but no [ laughter ] >> seth: sophie, your character on the show, is, both, very sweet and perhaps not the brightest of character do you enjoy that combination of, like, a very good soul who, maybe, lacks intelligence? >> oh, yeah. i think playing -- playing people who are, maybe, stupid or a little bit, like, you know, people who are like not -- who are, like, don't have self-awareness and who aren't ashamed of it, who just own it you know, sophie's just like, "look here look i want to dance now, so i'm going to have a dance. and, like, i just think that
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is -- that is the funny stuff to play because being someone who's, like, got all their [ bleep ] together, you know, is know it all, has all the answers, they're boring [ laughter ] so, and you're just like, "oh, great, this guy. so, i think to play someone who's just, like, "i'm really stupid, and i don't care," is, like, heaven 'cause it just -- i can just empty my brain and just be, like, "what would a slug do? and then, that's how i do that character. >> seth: well, it's heaven to watch as well. and thank you so much for being here both shows are so fantastic, and i'm really happy we got a chance to meet. >> aw. thanks so much >> seth: hopefully next time in person "what we do in the shadows" airs thursdays at 10:00 p.m. on fx. we'll be right back with more "late night. ♪
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♪ >> seth: welcome back to "late night. now more than ever, people are taking to the streets, to the tweets and to the sheets to voice all kind of hot takes. sometimes you'll hear someone's opinion and say, "that's a good take." sometimes you'll say, "i don't think that's right, but it's an interesting take." and sometimes, you'll hear an opinion and right away think, "no. this person is wrong." that is the wrong take well, we collected all of those people in one segment. this is "the wrong take. ♪ ♪ the wrong take ♪ >> i don't think transgender people should openly serve in the military, or cisgender people, for that matter. anyone who serves in the military should keep that [ bleep ] to themselves. >> the wrong take. >> i thought bill gates was hot before the epstein stuff >> the wrong take. >> covid-19 was created in a lab. specifically, it was created in this yellow lab named "brewster. anyway, that's what i tell my kids when they ask why i put them down.
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>> the wrong take. [ laughter ] >> israel and palestine need to just bang all ready. >> the wrong take. >> uh, a 5g phone? no i'm not gonna get a 5g phone i'm pretty sure the word, "phone," doesn't even have one "g" in it, right p-h-o-n-g-e. oh, wait, it does. it does. >> the wrong take. >> we need more marjorie taylor greene news. >> bro take. >> i don't think that amazon should be out there buying movie studios like mgm, when regular folks like me, we can't even afford lesser studios like tristar or touchstone. >> the wrong take. >> i think vaccinated people should still have to wear a mask how else am i supposed to silently "[ bleep ] yourself, [ bleep ] yourself, [ bleep ] yourself" to my boss every time he talks to me >> it's the wrong take >> you say cicadas, i say cicadas.
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either way, you'll never guess how many of those things i have up my ass right now. >> the wrong take. [ laughter ] >> cancel culture, more like cancer crusher that's right, i beat cancer twice. americans. >> the wrong take. >> i don't think pringles should be selling wendy's spicy chicken sandwich-flavored chips. the only flavor of pringles i want people to try is this mystery flavor i brought down here. [ laughter ] go ahead, give it a try. >> hey, it's fred. i told you to get out of here, you creep. >> the wrong take. >> i just don't understand all this caitlyn jenner stuff. i've been in a coma for 20 years can somebody fill me in? >> bro take. >> pelotons are stupid let me get this straight you want me to spend thousands of dollars on a bicycle that doesn't even suck me off >> the wrong take. ♪ >> seth: this has been "the wrong take." i'm seth meyers and i'm the only person you can trust we'll be right back with spencer ackerman ♪
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♪ >> seth: our next guest is a pulitzer prize winning journalist whose book, "reign of terror: how the 9/11-era destabilized america and produced trump" is out now please welcome to the show spencer ackerman [ applause ] ♪ >> seth: thanks for being here, spencer. really appreciate it come on up thank you so much for being here i want to start, you're a national security reporter i think oftentimes when we see those of your profession on television shows, or in films, it seems very fast paced, very
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cinematic job. is that true in real life? >> so usually when you're in the movies watching national security films, things like that, there's this section in the middle that's, you know, this montage of the reporter, like, on the phone, or digging through documents, and things like that. like, entirely un-filmble stuff. that's where i live. i'm in the montage >> seth: you're just in the montage. >> that's right. >> seth: no actually exciting scenes, but tiny moments that have cut together to music look interesting. >> yeah, and, like, if you're lucky you stay in the montage. other times, you're, like, sweeping on the floor in, you know, in make shift bases in a rock in afghanistan in the middle of the morning waiting for a flight out somewhere >> seth: so, this came out the timing of this was -- i don't know what you would call the timing, but it came out two days before kabul fell to the taliban. it does seem like one of the risks here is looking at the tiny snapshot of the withdrawal of american troops when we have this sort of, you know, 20-year war in this country.
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what is your take, insofar, as what happened in the days after your book was published? >> so obviously, this is a human disaster, first and foremost and before any of us get up on our soapboxes, that's the most important thing to recognize this has really impact on real people's lives what i had a little bit of trouble with watching a lot of the coverage of it as someone who, you know, not as much as some of my colleagues, but has been to afghanistan and reported from there, it was treated as if the end of this phase of the war was divorced from the 20-years that came before it. and from, you know, being there, and reporting on it throughout, it has been very clear for a very long time that the best time to leave afghanistan is always yesterday the second best time is always today. and the worst time is always tomorrow and that's what we saw the accumulation of all of this rot, and failure, and deceit
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ultimately became what we saw on television through this searing experience >> seth: so there were hearings today. we saw senators from both sides of the aisle question military leadership and, you know, because this was 20-years, you had a situation where both parties have a great deal of blame in regards to how this went. did you feel like both parties were trying to set their own narratives in their questions today? what was your take-away? >> yeah. very much so one of the things that i deal with in the book, is the interplay between democrats, republicans, and the security services and we really saw it, sort of, three phases of delusions from each of them from the republicans today in testimony, we saw this fixation, as has happened throughout the war on terror, on a conditions based withdrawal. and constantly attacking the guests who were there to testify from the military, and the pentagon, about that
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when in fact, this was never going to be a conditions based withdrawal because the agreement that former president trump made with the taliban stipulated that as the end of the war. without looking at that agreement, you can't really understand everything that came after it similarly, from the democratic perspective, you had this delusion -- tim kaine mentioned it, that america's turning a page on the forever war. we're no longer going to be constantly at war, and that is just simply untrue not only does the united states keep 2,500 troops in iraq. we just bombed somalia we just bombed syria without rolling back all of the operations of the war on terror, it is entirely deceitful to describe the u.s. as no longer being at war and then from the military side, we saw a delusion that we've seen, not just throughout the afghanistan war, but throughout the wars in general. which is that the generals who were testifying talked about how last fall they were recommending it,
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and this january were recommending residual force to stay in afghanistan. well, the trouble with that is there was this agreement with the taliban to keep u.s. forces in afghanistan would have been violating the most important aspect of that agreement for a government that the united states could not sustain. and in violation of that agreement, the taliban would have made a withdrawal from afghanistan, even a drawdown of it happening, one that would occur under fire putting everyone, including u.s. service members and afghan civilians, at greater risk and for what none of them were even inclined to articulate how keeping a residual force in afghanistan would have done anything other than keep the u.s., at best, perhaps, away from the precipice of the disaster that we've seen. and that has been a consistent feature of the war on terror for most of the last 20 years. >> seth: i want to get to former
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president trump, but you also talk about former president obama's missed opportunity after the assassination of osama bin laden. where do you feel like his missteps were? >> so first, it's obama who really makes the forever wars forever. by entrenching them in a less conspicuous, less ground war intensive campaign that still remains as global, in fact, expands to more battlefields than it was under the bush administration without any plausible theory of how this knits up into anything that can be successful, the measurement of the war on terror is it became less conspicuous and more technocratic was that it continued to be waged not that it be won or successfully concluded the best time that anyone was ever going to have to say, "here is a natural point at which the job the united states set out to
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do after 9/11 is completed," is in may 2011 with the assassignation of osama bin laden. instead, obama and his deputy for counter terrorism, john brennan, who goes on to be a cia director, and presides over a tremendous amount of the drone war that obama starts, is to say that this is one milestone among many and the job of the war on terror, although now it's no longer called that, continues. and at that point we're unmoored from any real way that makes any kind of sense of concluding this we have been in that position in the war on terror longer than before the united states killed osama bin laden. >> seth: you talk about how this war on terror, you know, basically american foreign policy after 9/11 sort of planted the seeds that lead to donald trump what is -- what are those seeds, and how do they take root? >> yeah. so 9/11, and the u.s. response to it, is this doorway into the ugliest, the most nativist
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aspects of american history. it's been a lot of talk about how united america was after 9/11 in fact, it was marshalled by political elites, primarily in the republican party, but with a quick acquiescence of the democratic party against a definably non-white enemy that is both at home and abroad and the apparatus of repression that gets created and gets expanded, all of which takes the form of loosening restraints, legal restraints, cultural restrains, bureaucratic restraints against surveillance. against brutality, like torture. against indefinite detention against watchlists that you can't ever get off all of that becomes entrenched, institutionalized, and marshalled against this enemy that the politics of it has as an internal foe that you're not
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really if you're, frankly a white american, able to trust. all of that is marshalled against our muslim-american neighbors. and once that is unleashed, once that is normalized, once that is sustained, once that's shown that the political system will accommodate that kind of repression against this is non-white internal enemy that spreads like wildfire the war on terror isn't the only reason that donald trump becomes president, but the war on terror is a pathway to power under conditions of national patriotic emergency that allows all that other racism and nativism to unite under this rubric of emergency. >> seth: i want to end on something a little more up beat, which is you are going to be writing a d.c. comic this is very exciting. i love when people, from a world like yours, take that knowledge and experience, and bring it in to the comic book world. and i have to say it's a pretty
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good match what are you writing >> well, thanks very much. i'm really pleased to announce it on your show. i'm going to be writing a "suicide squad" comic for d.c. with my friend evan narcisse who wrote an amazing book for marvel, "rise of the black panther. we're going to be taking on a character, amanda waller, who viewers of the show may know as the viola davis character in the movies she is the big intelligence figure in the dc universe. a character i absolutely love. and next year, if you're wondering, you know, "how does this guy's critique work, perhaps, in a superhero universe?" >> seth: right/ >> we'll be answering that question for you. >> seth: all right, but i do think people should read this one first, and enjoy the comic book as a treat. thank you so much for being here it's a wonderful book, and i really appreciate you spending time with us "reign of terror" is out now we will be right back. ♪
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♪ >> seth: i want to thank my guests ray liotta, natasia demetriou, and spencer ackerman i want to thank nick baglio and the 8g band. stay safe. get vaccinated we love you. ♪ tonight, out of options after the covid crisis pushed hospitals in our home state to the brink. >> yes, it's been probably an extra week and it's the w


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