With pigskin in hand, Stephen Colbert ran onto the stage at the Ed Sullivan Theater Sunday night for his live post-Super Bowl show, and the nimble comic pulled out all the stops from the get-go. The Late Show host played a game of catch with astronaut Mark Kelly, Chewbacca, and President Barack Obama, who each weighed in on the big game.
Asked about his favorite moment of the Super Bowl, Obama told Colbert, “Probably when the winning team sealed the deal with a touchdown thanks to the guy who’s really good,” before revealing that at least this part of the show was pre-taped.
The rest of the special broadcast really was live and included some last-minute jokes from the Late Show team, which spent the game furiously writing topical one-liners. “The Broncos defense was such an impenetrable wall that Donald Trump is asking Mexico to pay for it,” Colbert said from his desk.
Before long, Colbert had welcomed his first two guests, stars of the upcoming Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, Tina Fey and Margot Robbie, neither of whom seemed invested in the outcome of the big game. The host had more success when he conducted an interview via satellite with Super Bowl MVP Von Miller, who was relatively gracious when asked if it was “sweet payback” to beat Cam Newton in a Super Bowl after being picked just after him in the NFL draft.
As much fun as a discussion about war reporting in Afghanistan was after watching Manning’s Broncos vanquish Newton’s Panthers, things picked up a bit when Will Ferrell entered in full-on safari attire.
The star of Zoolander 2, who said he had opted to watch three hours of Downton Abbey instead of the Super Bowl, volunteered himself to be the Late Show’s new animal expert in the tradition of Letterman regular Jack Hanna. Ferrell showed off Mulan, a “short-spined Peruvian mongoose” that looked a lot like a small kitten and Kayak, a “Mongolian bush tiger” that may have been a guinea pig. Then there was Cilantro, an extremely rare “duck-bodied platypus” from Chinatown. As always, Ferrell’s commitment to the bit was absolute.
Even better, Colbert premiered a brand new sketch from Keegan Michael-Key and Jordan Peele that chronicled NFL stars Hingle McCringleberry and Kimble Mathias, whose touchdown dances are even more infamous than Cam Newton’s.
But ultimately, Colbert saved the best for last when he brought out Fox News’s Megyn Kelly for the show’s final segment. Following her surprisingly polite appearance on the Tonight Show this past week, Kelly faced similar questions about her war with Donald Trump on the Late Show.
“Why is Fox News feuding with Donald Trump?” Colbert asked Kelly. “He’s just a billionaire who wants the nuclear launch codes.”
The Fox host insisted her network had no feud with the candidate, but said there is one thing she wants to ask him: When he said he could shoot someone in the middle of 5th Avenue and not lose any support, Kelly wondered, “Were you talking about me?”
After a break, Kelly acknowledged her role in the culture as a “reluctant feminist icon,” telling Colbert, “I don’t like that word ‘feminist.’” Instead, she said she tries to embrace the motto put forward by comedian Steve Martin: “Be so good they can’t ignore you.” But at the same time, she has fought for issues like paid maternity leave, saying, “You should never have to choose between your baby and your job.”