tv The Late Show With Stephen Colbert CBS September 14, 2021 11:35pm-12:37am PDT
day after special. >> stephen colbert is next. >> thank you for watching our election coverage tonight and the captioning sponsored by cbs >> rapper nicki minaj says that her cousin's friend-- and she put this on social media. she has 22 million followers. she said he has swollen testicles after taking the vaccine. she cited that actually as one of the reasons that she has yet to be vaccinated. >> and she goes on to say, "his friend was weeks away from getting married. now the girl called off the wedding." ( laughter )
and now, live on tape from the ed sullivan theater in new york city, it's stephen colbert! ( cheers and applause ) ♪ ♪ ♪ >> stephen: hey! ( cheers and applause ). ♪ ♪ ♪ >> stephen: oh! got to gather up the energy. good to see you. hello, louis. welcome, welcome, benghazi, everybody, in here out there, to "the late show." i am your host, stephen colbert. ( cheers and applause ) hey, remember how anxious you were in the final days of the previous presidency? well, turns out, now that we're through it, i think we can say,
in hindsight, that maybe we should have been a little more terrified, because we're getting new details about the last days of the last administration of "the lardfather," in the new tell-all from bob woodward and robert costa, "peril." turns out, two days after the january 6th insurrection, joint chiefs chairman, mark milley feared the former president would launch a nuclear war. that's a bombshell revelation a bombshell about a bombshell that would bring about the revelation. but going nuclear makes sense for the former president. after all, he is a fat man who acts like a little boy. apparently-- ( cheers and applause ) apparently-- ( cheers and applause ) true story. true story. apparently, general milley believed the then-president had gone into a serious mental decline in the aftermath of the election. that is pretty frightening, but not surprising.
we all know the former president has problems with declines. ( laughter ) ( cheers and applause ) so, general milley-- a little nervous? >> jon: yeah, yeah. >> stephen: general milley singlehandedly took top-secret action to limit the former president from potentially ordering a dangerous military strike or launching nuclear weapons. what he did was, he changed the nuclear codes into something the president would never be able to figure out: his children's birthdays. ( laughter ) ( applause ) it wasn't just our generals who were convinced the president was going to start a war. the chinese government believed the united states was preparing to attack, based on tensions over military exercises in the south china sea, and deepened by the president's belligerent rhetoric toward china. that's how serious it was. china was afraid the former president was going to bomb his daughter's purse factories. ( laughter )
( applause ) it was-- it was so-- ( cheers and applause ) lovely-- oh, quality. it's the quality. it was so plausible, that general milley felt compelled to call the chinese and say, "i want to assure you that the american government is stable, and everything is going to be okay. we are not going to attack." that's not reassuring! ( laughter ) it's like a babysitter calling while you're at dinner to say, "i want to assure you that the twins are stable and everything is going to be okay. they are not going to set the garage on fire or do anything else with the matches i let them play with. how attached were you to the dog?" ( laughter ) the book also talks about how muchpressure was put on mike pence by ol' bone spurs n' harmony. on january 5th, pence told the then-president that vice presidents don't have the power to overturn an election. as magaheads were cheering outside, the president turned to
pence and said, "if these people say you had the power, wouldn't you want to?" pence replied,"i wouldn't want any one person to have that authority," to which the former president said, "but wouldn't it be almost cool to have that power?" ( laughter ) always nice to hear words like "cool" attached to flagrant abuses of power, like when nixon said, "hey, henry, wouldn't it be groovy if we secretly bombed cambodia? cowabunga, dude!" the v.p. would not budge, which infuriated the sad-itionist, who screamed, "you don't understand, mike. you can do this. i don't want to be your friend anymore if you don't do this." i gotta say, that must have been tough to hear, but the next day, at the capitol riot, mike pence found some new friends to hang with. bob woodward-- ( applause ) so sad.
so sad. bob woodward and robert costa will be my guests one week from tonight. sitting right over there. and i-- ( cheers and applause ) it will be a great show, great show. i will ask them how close we were to nuclear armageddon, and then ask them to rock me gently in their arms while i openly weep. hey, in more hopeful news, after an 18-month shutdown, today the biggest broadway shows reopened ( cheers and applause ) i'm talkin' "hamilton," "wicked," "the lion king." ( cheers and applause ) broadway! ♪ ♪ ♪ "the late show" is celebrating broadway's return. check out the dome! there it is, times square, all the splendor of broadway! ( applause ) that will be $280.
productions are still taking precautions. just like our theater, masks are now required for broadway audiences. that means full coverage of mouth and nose. lookin' at you, phantom. ( laughter ) jimmy, can we help him out? thank you. reopening is going more smoothly than expected. producers say, "there were actually fewer rodents than feared in the theater buildings." now, that's what you put up on the marquee. come see "waitress: with fewer rodents than feared!" ( laughter ) ( applause ) we don't have any, right? no rodent. no rode ents here. >> jon: michelangelo, leonardo, donatello, nothing. >> stephen: in other dazzling news, last night was the annual met gala. this year's theme was an homage to america. some folks took that literally, like soccer player megan rapinoe and rocker debbie harry, while others made statements, like a.o.c.'s dress that read "tax the rich." ( cheers and applause )
yes, by all means. absolutely. strong statement. and a lovely tribute to bernie's "raise the minimum wage" tank top. ( laughter ) ( applause ) good. looks good. a little midriff, a little daring. rapper lil nas x had multiple looks, including this cape, which he shed to reveal a golden suit of armor. unfortunately, he had to leave early to help r2d2 get han, luke, and leia out of a trash compactor. ( applause ) of course-- ♪ ♪ ♪ i know the question on everyone's mind. they're saying, "stephen, did you attend the met gala?" and the answer is, "yes, i did!" and there i am. that's me. there i am. you can't prove it isn't me.
one met gala invitee who didn't show up was rapper nicki minaj, seen here after being upholstered. minaj tweeted that the reason she didn't go to the met gala was because of her young child, but she also tweeted, "they want you to get vaccinated for the met. if i get vaccinated, it won't be for the met. it'll be once i feel i've done enough research. i'm working on that now." ( booing ) no, i am not surprised. she's known for her extensive research on what anacondas want, if and when you've got buns, hun. ( applause ) deep dive. deep dive on that subject? a. deep dive on that one, but i. >> stephen: her next tweet showed how deeply she's delved into the vaccine science, saying, "my cousin in trinidad won't get the vaccine cuz his friend got it and became impotent. his testicles became swollen." see, that's why i made sure to get my shot in the shoulder. ( laughter ) ( cheers and applause ) i can't-- so important. ♪ ♪ ♪ so important.
you all right. >.>> jon: yeah, i'm good on that. >> stephen: all right. i can't believe i have to say this, but doctors agree that covid vaccines do not cause swollen testicles. but to be fair to dr. minaj, everyone knows there's no source more reliable than your extended family's acquaintances in another country. her report comes straight from "the new england journal of my cousin's friend in trinidad. ( applause ) just-- check out this week's study: i heard his girlfriend got pregnant from a hot tub. ( laughter ) oh, today in california, voters headed to the polls for the recall election of california governor and matthew mcconaughey playing mitt romney in a biopic, gavin newsom. now, at the time of this taping, we don't know the winners or the losers, but we know at least one
loser who claims he was the winner-- republican front-runner and man noticing a squirrel carrying a whole waffle, larry elder. yesterday, before a single vote was counted, elder was already conceding defeat and preparing to blame his loss on baseless claims of widespread voter fraud, going live-- ( booing ) going live with a website begging voters to "investigate and ameliorate the twisted results of this 2021 recall election of governor gavin newsom." and he put that up before a single result could have been twisted. it's like sending an email to your boss at 5:00 p.m. saying, "hey, tomorrow morning, my alarm isn't going to go off. i'll be very late, but you're going to be cool with it. see you at happy hour!" ( laughter ) ( applause ) elder's web site-- >> jon: yeah, baby. >> stephen: it's a journey. elder's website says he's got pre-proof of the future fraud, thanks to statistical analyses
used to detect fraud in elections held in third-world nations, such as russia, venezuela, and iran, adding: "my cousin in trinidad told me his friend's balls voted twice." ( cheers and applause ) we've got a great show for you tonight. my guest is supreme court justice stephen breyer. but when we come back, "meanwhile!" stick around. ♪ ♪ ♪
presence, and today justice stephen breyer, sitting supreme court justice, is on the show tonight. he's got a new book-- he's got a new book, talk about some stuff. and i'm going to hit him with some hard questions. the hardest which is, obviously, is a hot dog a sandwich. >> jon: wow. >> stephen: and i don't believe i've asked him that before. >> jon: that's a tough one. >> stephen: i just hope that answer doesn't break down along ideological lines, you know. because he doesn't want the court to seem political. >> jon: right. >> stephen: and this will tell us. >> jon: i know. >> stephen: this will tell us. this is the litmus test right here. jon, i don't know if you know this, but this afternoon, shortly before we came in here to rehearse the show, we found out that comedy great norm macdonald died today after a long battle with cancer. and i can't say that norm and i were close. i wrote for "saturday night live" for one month, for three
shows, a guest writer. it's hard to find your spot over there if you're just in for a short period of time. and norm goes, "come sit with us. come sit with us." and i ended up writing for "weekend update" the whole time there i was. and he is, in my opinion, greatest host of "weekend update" they have had. not to take away from anybody else, but he was my cup of tea. i liked that he told jokes, in the nicest possible way, didn't seem to care if the audience liked them. but he liked the joke. they were sometimes dark, sometimes even too dark for me. but they were dark and strange and he had a wonderful presence. and, again, took me in. >> jon: yeah. >> stephen: and that's all i wanted to say. and i wish i were a good enough comedian to come up with a joke right now about norm macdonald having died. but the only comedian i know who could get away with a "norm
macdonald is dead joke," is norm macdonald. and i'm going to miss the fact that there's noblest on the planet who can do that. and the comedy world is poorer for it today. so i hope somewhere up there, or wherever... ( laughter ) he'd figure that joke out. ( laughter ) y'know, i spend a lot of time right over there, pulling together the finest, newsiest limestone, chiseling in the most delicate and topical of bas-reliefs, and the most ornate arches, making sure there's nary a bad seat in the house, then assembling the most fearsome news warriors the arena has ever seen to construct for you the roman colosseum that is my nightly monologue. but sometimes, i wake up my neighbor at 3:00 in the morning, drag him into my shed, where i've set up a kiddie pool i bought 20 years ago and filled with expired jell-o and lukewarm beer, huff some acetone out of a price chopper bag, then challenge him to join me in the old man wrestling league of
news that is my segment: "meanwhile!" ( cheers and applause ) right there. it's going to make all the pain go away. meanwhile, it's a great time to be in the market for a used car, because "mad max: fury road's iconic fleet of post-apocalyptic war rigs are up for auction." and there are some great choices for families here. some of them come with extra seating. right up front. ( laughter ) and if one of your kids is in band, there's also plenty of room for bryson to practice flamethrower guitar. ( laughter ) meanwhile, last week, portland named its newest bridge after iconic "simpsons" character, ned flanders. ( cheers and applause ) there you go. it is the greatest infrastructure honor for a cartoon character since arizona's wile e. coyote tunnel.
( laughter ) ( applause ) meanwhile, the "usa today" is advising non-jewish people, "don't say 'happy yom kippur' on the day of atonement. other things not to say to jews on yom kippur: "merry christmas," and "l'shana toyotathon." the proper thing to say is "g'mar cha-timah to-vah," or "may you be sealed in the book of life," because yom kippur is solemn. as one celebrant put it, "this isn't a day of raucousness and partying." that's right. yom kippur is not for raucousness and partying. purim is the one where you break out the beer yarmulke. ( laughter ) ( applause ) meanwhile, sometimes we here at "meanwhile" media solutions and second-hand goods emporium find so many stories about the ice age that we have to cover it in our special "meanwhile" sub-segment: "pleistocene-while." ( laughter )
pleistocene-while, a team of scientists and entrepreneurs have started a new company to genetically resurrect the woolly mammoth by editing elephant d.n.a. and adding genes for mammoth traits like dense hair and thick fat-- a process known to humans as "quarantining." ( laughter ) ( applause ) but-- but the company is already facing ethical issues, with some asking, is it humane to produce an animal whose biology we know so little about? yes, science. the last time we tried to mess with the natural order of things we went too far and ended up with apple pie oreos. ( laughter ) they make the angels cry. ( applause ) pleistocene-while, scientists have located the likely origin for the dinosaur-killing asteroid. is it space? because i think it's space.
( laughter ) okay. did i win science? now, i'm going to pause here for a second, because that sound you're hearing is a bunch of dorks pointing out that the asteroid that killed the dinosaurs was in the cretaceous, more than 60 million years before the pleistocene epoch began and, therefore, this story has no place in pleistocene-while, and they are correct. which-- ( applause ) in all fairness, they are correct. which brings me to my pleistocene-while subsegment, "suck my ass-while. +j
>> nice have to you on. >> nice to be here. >> it has been six years, just about six years, exactly, since you have been on the show. how are you been? >> i've been fine. >> i love having a supreme court justice on. it feels like i'm doing the jack par show or something like that. 1961 or something. we don't get to see you normally doing your job, because there are no cameras inside the supreme court of the united states. how do you feel about that? i know that the rules against it, but would you be open to the idea of cameras in the court? >> at the moment, i don't have to think about it, and the truth of the matter-- >> i'm asking you to think about it. >> we don't know. >> i'm asking you to think about it. you have to think about it. it's my show. >> okay. >> court is in session, all rise, mr. justice! what do you mean you don't have to think about it right now? >> because immediately there would have to be majority in favor upon it. and the problem is this: on the one hand, people would see it's
a very serious, very serious institution. difficult questions, people are grappling with these questions. that would be a major plus for the united states, i think, if we could be seen. on the other hand, we don't know the extent to which people would become too self-centered, the lawyers or the judges, and be too worried about how they look on television. >> what if i got you a stylist? what if i got all of you, you know, a little work, a little freshen up like that, and a really nice robe or something like that. is that the worry? >> that's exactly part of what we're worried about. ( laughter ). >> are you worried about guys like me making fun of the footage that we see on a daily basis? >> well, you wouldn't. >> no, obviously not, no >> i would never make a joke about-- on a mildly serious tack here, what about in federal court? because we have these attacks, the attack on the capitol on january 6. wouldn't it be good to be able
to see these serious charges of violence, sedition, rebellion, that are being charged against these people in federal court so we can see the justice being done for the people who created this most horrible day? >> there are some that have them. what we really don't know-- and it's unknown in our court, actually-- is the extent to which-- well, let me put it this way. when i write an opinion, or my colleagues do, it isn't for the people independent courtroom entirely. it's for 330 million people who weren't there. and human beings, as you well know, like to focus on somebody they see. and there's the good one, and there's the bad one. we don't know the extent that would get across it isn't for these two people so much as it
is for the 330 million who aren't there. so there are worries. there are worries. >> big news is the court's refusal to block the texas abortion ban law, even before they ruled on the constitutionality of it. not to put some sort of hold on the law. by trt was very, vy,dec very wrong. why only three veries? ( applause ) why only three? why such constraint? >> you want to know the truth? >> yes? >> you missed one. >> you did four varies? okay, i'll talk to our research department. >> one was sort of quiet putting aside of the tacit
endorms of overturning "roe" have you seen citizens being deputized as the people to enforce it, which is happening in texas. >> texas you know used to have posses. and if you have seen western movies, as you have, you will know any 10 people can get together, and they can in certain circumstances be a posse that goes out and captures the outlaws. well, you scheduled me for an example. >> is that the same example, mr. justice. because those people are being deputized to be part of the government, essentially, to be government agents. whereas these people are staying citizens, which is now the texas lawmakers are trying to do an end run around judicial review. isn't that a different situation? >> yes. ( applause ) ( cheering ) >> excuse me. checkmate! so i'm sorry. i interrupted you congratulating me for being right.
go ahead. thank you very much. ( laughter ) so there is no other example you can think of, other than the posse, which isn't the actual example? >> well-- >> but that is one of the most shocking things about it to me, because it is so flagrantly an attempt to do an end run around judicial review. >> the truth is in that matter, what they had before us, it was a procedural question. we didn't get to the merits of the law. and one of my objections, which was pretty strong-- it counts for one of the "verries--" is when we have an important case like, that even if it is procedural, we should have a full proceeding and not decide it just on the basis of an emergency motion, which that was. ( applause ). >> you also-- you also-- you and sotomayor said i dissent ininstead of the traditional i respectfully dissent. is that a supreme court mic drop? what is that? is that like a dis? >> it could be.
it needn't be. it could be that i just forget to put in-- ( applause ). >> could be, could be. we have to take a quick break. but when we return, we'll be back wor with more justice stepn breyer. stick around, everybody. ♪ music playing. ♪ there's an america we build ♪ ♪ and one we explore one that's been paved and one that's forever wild but freedom
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peril of politics," justice stephen breyer. your new book outlines the dangers of the justices being perceived as political figures as opposed to judges. you've served for 27 years. why do you think this is a subject that needs to be addressed now? >> because i think that people, particularly younger people and the future of this country is in their hands, i'm afraid, not mine. it's up to the high school students, the college students. and i think that they look at many of our institutions and they feel a lack of confidence. i can understand that. there are reasons. but if there's too much distrust of the institutions, people can't live together in society. so they have to work out ways, ways where they can improve the institution, ways where they can talk to other people, ways where they can make their argument in a civil manner and gradually bring this country together.
and i have a little-- a little sort of window on some of that. >> stephen: tiny little book. >> it is a tiny book. >> stephen: tiny little book. >> it's not as tiny as the constitution. >> stephen: no, no, but just as good, just as good. ( applause ) do you have-- i'm curious, you say that people need to work to improve the institutions, the supreme court being one of the institutions. what would you change to improve it? >> in the court? >> stephen: your court, the supreme court. >> of course i'm tempt told say, which is a frivolous remark, but i'm tempted to say people could agree with me all the time, but that is a frivolous remark. and the answer is, gradually, over time, over quite a long time, i've come to realize-- and it's sort of i should have realized it from day one, but, i mean, you internal it-- this is a big country. there are 331 million people. there's every race, every
religion, every point of view. and somehow, through a miracle, they've come together and learned how to live together in one country, and we see all those people in front of us working out their major differences under law and not with guns or other things that are really inappropriate and dangerous. >> stephen: but-- ( applause ) i guess what i thought of when you were saying that is, i think those 330 million people, many of them would say they do not see the court as being representative, because many of the people on the court, mostly those who lean more toward to the right wing of the court-- if there is such a wing in your mind-- were appointed by presidents who did not have a majority of the vote when they were elected, by a senate, republican senate confirmed, that represents 41 million fewer americans than the democrats in the senate. and while you yourself may not
be political-- and i accept that-- the court itself is created through a political system that no longer represents will the majority of the american people. ( applause ) >> i two-- one is a not-direct response. i mean, it's been a long time since the founders wrote this document, the constitution. and a letter from george washington says it's an experiment. if you read the gettysburg address-- and my wife paid of my grandchildren $20 to memorize it, and they did. and you'll see what lincoln, i think, is really saying is this is an experiment. well, you put your hand on-- your fingers on some flaws. and you can say they're major or
minor. you have a young audience here, and so i'm very sorry to do this, but i say the thing to do is for them to work out how you can make this improvement or that improvement or the other improvement, and we have a first amendment that allows for free speech-- indeed, insists on it. we have a democratic system of government, and if i've learned anything, if i've learned anything in the last 27, 28 years, it's that there are people who disagree with me. and the way to deal with them, in my opinion, listen to what they say. and if they talk enough, you will find some areas where you agree. and then you work with those, and you work with those for a positive outcome. i mean, in cambridge, massachusetts, when going through covid, people formed neighborhood committees, and they went to see old people, see if they have enough food. that didn't just happen in cambridge. it happened in new york. it happened in st. louis.
it happened in san diego. we're not too bad in this country. when we disagree-- oh, sometimes it can be terrible-- but if we work at it, we can figure out ways of working together, listening, working together, trying to find ways of building things that are positive. we have a long history of that happening. we have some bad downs, but we also have some pretty good ups. why do i say that? because you have a young audience. because i say to my grandchildren, "hey, it's up to you, my friend. you've got to take this experiment from washington, from lincoln, from our past, of ups and downs, and you've knot to see that it's going to turn out positive." and i want people to really-- i really want them to better understand the court as part of that-- filled with flaws. there was "please versus ferguson," there was segregation, but there was also
"brown versus board of segregation" which said there will be no more legal segregation. the tasks are difficult, the tasks are difficult, put we do have institutions, in my opinion, and we have a constitution that can help us deal with them and live together democratically for another 250 years. ( applause ) >> stephen: we have to take another break, but don't go anywhere. when we come back we'll get to the bottom of is a hot dog a sandwich with justice stephen breyer. ♪ ♪ ♪ ( applause ) gotta learn to take it ♪ ♪ try to believe though the going gets rough ♪ ♪ that you gotta hang tough to make it ♪ ♪ you're the best! around! ♪ ♪ nothing's gonna ever keep you down ♪ [triumphantly yells] ♪ you're the best! around! ♪ [ding]
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( applause ) >> and now, a mole gets whacked every time another crack appears in democracy. >> you'll never whack me. >> i do not believe whatsoever what you're saying. >> do you take any responsibility for this disastrous withdrawal? >> i believe you, circ should resign. that would be leadership. i absolutely wonder if you were compliceit in this as well. >> how long does this go on for? okay. >> let me finish, please. >> usually the mallet is padded.
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we're back with the author of "the authority of the court and the peril of politics," justice stephen breyer. the last question is, are you going to retire? >> am i going to retire? >> stephen: eventually you said there are so many factors involved in it, and i trust that there are. how does it feel-- george r.r. martin gets mad when people ask him to write "the winds of winter," essentially when people say when are you going to retire, they're afraid you'll die when a republican is office and they won't replace someone more in keeping with your judicial philosophy. how do you feel about the speculation? >> i, myself, would prefer not to die period. >> stephen: if you could rule on it. >> right, right. ( applause ) and george r. martin, did he write "game of thrones."
>> stephen: he hasn't finished it yet. that's why they're eager for him to not retire from the scene. >> i have thought when seeing that, if only i could write "the game of thrones." but i can't do it. >> stephen: but if you could you would retire? >> no. >> stephen: there are some people out there who would find you a ghost writer. what would do you if you did retire? if you could retire, or if this was the right time, what would your plans be? >> i'm not sure. >> stephen: what's fun for you? >> i'm not sure. >> stephen: hiking, woodworking. >> cooking. >> stephen: cooking? >> yeah. >> stephen: okay. you're going to get a lot of really nice pots and pans after this interview. ( applause ) and if i retire, you can accept them. i have-- i have to ask you the most important question i have ever asked any supreme court justice, and i have asked several ( applause ). i have asked several supreme court justices this question: justice stephen breyer, in your considered opinion, is a hot dog a sandwich?
>> well, you know, when i grew up-- i won't say when-- but a hot dog, among other things, was a teenager who was what we called "with it." ( laughter ) >> stephen: so someone who was a hot do was with a with it teenager? >> it could be. so the truthful answer to your question is sometimes yes, and sometimes no. ( applause ) that's it for "the late show." tune in tomorrow when my guests will be jessica chastain and stephen sondheim. james corden is next. good night. captioning sponsored by cbs captioned by media access group at wgbh access.wgbh.org >> would you throw away 200 bucks on a fake vaccination card? the real vaccine is totally free and it gives you giant balls. nothing ladies like more than a big sack. oh, they love it.