tv Late Night With Seth Meyers NBC August 4, 2016 12:37am-1:38am PDT
[ cheers and applause ] ♪ >> announcer: from 30 rockefeller plaza in new york, it's "late night with seth meyers." tonight -- jonah hill, author, jonathan franzen, music from gallant, featuring the 8g band with fred armisen and mary timony. ♪ [ cheers and applause ] ladies and gentlemen, seth meyers. >> seth: good evening, everybody. i'm seth meyers, this is "late night." how's everybody doing tonight? [ cheers and applause ] oh, yeah. that's good to hear. in that case, let's get to the news. in the last 24 hours, donald trump has refused to endorse republican leaders up for re-election, accused
john mccain of failing veterans, suggested americans pull their 401(k)s out of the stock market, threw out a crying baby at a rally, fought with the father of a dead soldier and suggested president obama was responsible for the death of troops during george w. bush's time in office. [ light laughter ] said voters, "yeah, but i'm not sure i trust hillary clinton." [ laughter ] in response to donald trump's controversial rhetoric, one trump adviser said, "the problem is that trump is always watching tv and then gets angry at what he sees and reacts on twitter." well i guess that explains this tweet. [ laughter ] [ applause ] he had to say something. top republican fund-raiser and hewlett-packard executive meg whitman released a statement saying that she will break with her party and support hillary clinton. she wanted to release the statement three days ago, but her printer kept jamming. [ laughter ] come on, come on.
ah! republican vice presidential candidate mike pence campaigned in colorado today, or as coloradans put it, "oh, no, one of my lego dudes came to life. [ laughter ] are you looking for your lego house, little dude?" [ light laughter ] pundits are saying that donald trump's latest attacks on a veteran's family and refusal to endorse party leaders has moved republicans into "break glass mode," which sounds great until you remember who's behind the glass. [ laughter ] "it's an emergency! oh, never mind." [ laughter ] with donald trump's campaign in turmoil after his recent remarks attacking the family of a fallen soldier, president obama yesterday asked republican leaders, "why are you still endorsing him?" and hillary clinton said, "i don't know where the bottom is." this brings us to a segment called "stay out of it." ♪ [ cheers and applause ]
>> seth: obama, hillary, don't comment on trump right now, stay out of it. trump is digging his own grave. don't grab the shovel. let him keep digging until the hole is too deep to climb out of. just stay out of it. leave it to the republicans like paul ryan and mitch mcconnell to comment on trump, because right now those guys have to be feeling like dr. frankenstein. "oh, he did what? he threw a little girl down a well? no, no, no, we still endorse him." [ laughter ] this is all happening without you, democrats, stay out of it. do as little as possible. if for some reason trump actually does debate hillary, she should just say, "hi, i'm hillary clinton," and then she should turn off her microphone, open a big bag of skinny pop and watch him slowly unravel. [ laughter ] and then -- [ cheers and applause ] and then every ten minutes during the debate, she should just shoot the camera a jim halpert look. [ laughter ] that's it! stay out of it! of course, this is -- this is partly our faults. we as a society have become way more interested in the sideshow
than we are in the show. we don't want trains pulling safely into stations, we want train wrecks. we don't watch "the bachelor" to see two people find love. we watch it to see a walleyed pharmaceutical sales rep get fully hammered on box wine and cry her mascara right into her bra. [ laughter ] if donald trump wants to implode, just let it happen. when life gives you lemonades -- lemons, you make lemonade. when life gives your opponent lemons, stay out of it. this has been "stay out of it." ♪ [ cheers and applause ] after first finding success in london and tokyo, a new naked restaurant is soon opening in paris. "wait. it hasn't opened yet?" asked this guy. [ light laughter ] a new study has come out analyzing the role of the female orgasm in reproduction. but the male scientists fell asleep before it was done and the female scientists had to finish writing it themselves. [ laughter ] [ cheers and applause ]
and finally, a man in sweden is complaining that a mouth guard prescribed to help him stop grinding his teeth has made his penis smaller. though if you could grind your teeth on it, it was probably pretty big to begin with. [ laughter ] ladies and gentlemen, we have a great show for you tonight. [ cheers and applause ] from the new film "war dogs," our friend, jonah hill is back on the show. [ cheers and applause ] he's a personal favorite. i'm so glad he's here. also, his latest novel, "purity" is now available in paperback. a fantastic writer, jonathan franzen is here tonight. [ cheers and applause ] and we will have music from singer/songwriter gallant. it's gonna be a great show tonight on "late night." now, before we get to all that, i'm getting older. and as i get older, one of my biggest fears is falling out of touch. and one way that happens is when you realize you don't understand the slang terms that teenagers are using. so we here at "late night" decided to give you a little primer, in a segment we call, "seth explains teen slang."
♪ [ cheers and applause ] >> seth: now, there are lots of teen slang terms you might have heard before, like "thirsty," which teens use to describe someone who is too desperate for romantic attention. like if a guy's hitting on everyone at a party, someone might say, "that boy hella thirsty." [ light laughter ] so now you've got that one. well it turns out there are new slang terms. brand new slang terms that are just starting to become popular. we want to fill you in on some of them tonight. let's start with this one. "skymall." let's see what it means. "when you get high and buy a bunch of worthless junk online." [ laughter ] for example, "dude, i shouldn't have had that brownie at jeff's. apparently when i got home i skymalled seven neck cushions and a life-sized ceramic dalmatian." [ laughter ] our next term is "mike pence." you guys all know mike pence. he's donald trump's running mate. well, he's also a new teen slang term. here's the definition. "someone who always has to defend his best friend's terrible behavior." [ laughter ] let's see it in a sentence. [ cheers and applause ]
"dan cheated on his girlfriend, stole the canned food donation box, and threw a cat in the river, but tyler still says he's a good guy once you get to know him. #mikepence." [ applause ] up next, i find this one to be very useful. up next, "dickipedia." so what does this mean? it's "a jerk who's always correcting everything you say." let's see it in a sentence. "i told jack that i couldn't eat the cookies because they have nuts in them, and that dickipedia said, 'actually, peanuts are legumes.'" [ laughter ] [ applause ] moving on, our next slang term is "bernie bro." let's see what it means. "someone who has a disproportionately negative reaction to bad news." here it is in a sentence. "devin didn't get into harvard, so instead of going to yale, he straight up joined a biker gang. #berniebro." up next, "breyer's remorse." here is the definition for "breyer's remorse." "when you feel regret after eating an entire tub of ice cream." [ light laughter ] let's see it in a sentence. "i got so blazed that i snarfed
a whole gallon of rocky road. now i've got breyer's remorse and i'm stuck with seven neck cushions and a ceramic dalmatian. #skymall." [ cheers and applause ] next up, this is a great one. happened to me before. "spock block." let's see what it means. "when you're about to go home with a girl, but your friend walks up and outs you as a trekkie." here it is in a sentence. "i was about to seal the deal with tonya last night until matt showed up and started explaining the differences between vulcans and klingons, and next thing i knew, tonya had beamed out of there. #spockblock." [ applause ] moving on. our next term is "rio olympics." here's the definition. "when you have a deadline approaching and you haven't even started working on it." [ laughter ] let's see it in a sentence. "my poli sci paper is a total rio olympics. it's due tomorrow and i haven't even done any research. i might have to call the professor and tell him i came down with zika." [ laughter ] [ applause ] all right. our last slang term is "pringle." let's see what "pringle" means. it's "when you keep hooking up
with someone, even though you know you should end it." for example, "i know brendan is a total douchebag, but i end up at his place pringling him every friday night. [ laughter ] #onceyoupopyoucantstop." that was "seth explains teen slang." [ cheers and applause ] we'll be right back with our friend, jonah hill. [ cheers and applause ] ♪ has more high-speed data nowthan ever before.reless... we're talking double the data for just 10 bucks more. that's 10 gigs of high-speed data... to stream more video... and more music... more whatever you want! all on america's largest and most dependable 4g lte networks. choose from two great plans: our unlimited plan with 5gb of high-speed data.
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♪ [ cheers and applause ] >> seth: welcome back, everybody. and please give it up for the 8g band right over there. [ cheers and applause ] also sitting in with the 8g band this week, she's the guitarist and songwriter from the washington d.c. based band, ex hex. mary timony, everybody. [ cheers and applause ] be sure to check out the incredible debut album from ex hex, "rips," available now. and thank you so much for being here, mary. we're so happy to have you. >> thanks, seth. [ cheers and applause ] >> seth: also, everybody, fred armisen is here tonight! so exciting to have fred back with us this week. [ cheers and applause ] and, you know, i love doing this when fred's here because we always talk about -- there's so many great tv shows. so hard to watch all the great tv shows that are on except for fred who -- fred, you claim you've seen every episode of every television show. is that -- >> fred: everything, everything. >> seth: you stand by it? >> fred: yes. >> seth: because it seems physically impossible that you would watch every hour of every television show there is. >> fred: i love it all.
>> seth: okay. so, that means it's time once again for "fred armisen's extremely accurate tv recaps." ♪ [ cheers and applause ] >> seth: all right. you know how this works, fred. i'm gonna give you the title of the show. you're going to tell us what it's about because you will know what it's about because you claim you've watched everything. >> fred: right. >> seth: okay. the show is "tyrant" on fx. >> fred: "tyrant" on fx? >> seth: yeah. >> fred: i love "tyrant." >> seth: great. >> fred: do you know "tyrant"? >> seth: i don't. >> fred: you haven't seen it? >> seth: i never know the shows i ask you about. [ laughter ] >> fred: but, i don't know. but you haven't seen the pilot or anything? >> seth: i haven't -- i've seen zero minutes of "tyrant." >> fred: okay. all right. "tyrant" is great. it's about a sort of tire resale shop. [ laughter ] and it's a sort of "antiques roadshow" type, like, old tires. but the catch with this one is it's total chaos. like, it's not organized. there's, like, 50 cameras. [ laughter ] and there's no director. and they just go into this room with all these salesmen, with all these old tires, and it's complete chaos. there's no rhyme or reason to it.
people are screaming they're sort of trying to steal tires. [ laughter ] >> seth: oh, so it's "tire-rant"? is that -- >> fred: yeah. >> seth: they're ranting? >> fred: so they're ranting about the tires, yes. [ laughter ] >> seth: okay. >> fred: thank you for that. [ laughter ] so, yeah, it's just, like -- and it's about an hour and a half of that. >> seth: and hour and a half? >> fred: and sometimes like -- >> seth: that's such a weird -- that is a weird length for a show. >> fred: i said the same thing. >> seth: okay. >> fred: but, when you watch it, it does makes sense in a way. [ laughter ] just because it's insane. the world of tire sales is insane. >> seth: and, so, what are the tire salesmen saying? are they just, like, screaming at different cameras? >> fred: the sound quality is so bad that all you hear is the cameramen. [ laughter ] >> seth: really? >> fred: you just hear their own, sort of, they're talking to each other, then the sound goes out for half an hour. it's complete -- it's a mess, but i love it. it's so good. >> seth: that's great. >> fred: yes. >> seth: well, thank you so much for that. now, i will say that tv guide says it's the story of the son of middle eastern tyrant who becomes an american pediatrician until he's dragged back into the politics of his home country. >> fred: that's one of the salesmen there, yes. [ laughter ] >> seth: okay. >> fred: that's correct. >> seth: give it up for fred armisen, everybody. [ cheers and applause ] thank you.
you thanked me. within that, you thanked me. our first guest is a two-time academy award nominated actor who you know from films like "21 jump street" and "the wolf of wall street." his latest film, "war dogs," opens everywhere august 19th. let's take a look. >> we're talking exclusive access to a stockpile of soviet-blocked nonstandard weapons and ammo. that's gonna win this deal for us. he's on a terrorist watch list. >> whatever! people end up on that list for bringing scissors onto an airplane! >> that's not why he's on the list. look, the pentagon wants 100 million rounds of ak-47 ammo in the middle of a worldwide shortage. where do you think they think that's gonna come from? a bunch of shady [ bleep ] like that guy. this is the job to do business with the people in places the u.s. government can't do business with directly. >> seth: please welcome back to the show our friend, jonah hill. [ cheers and applause ]
♪ >> seth: hi, friend! how are you? >> how are you? >> seth: isn't it great? >> what's up, buddy? how you doin'? >> seth: i think it's so nice to be here on the night that fred's here. it's always great to see you. >> great to see you. >> seth: can't help but noticing in the film, in the clip we saw, a pretty severe spray tan. >> yeah, yeah. >> seth: yeah. really deep, dark -- >> tropical. >> seth: tropical. >> yeah. >> seth: but, in real life, you've had traumatic experiences with real suntans. >> yeah, i don't -- i don't tan anymore because i went on a vacation, and i forgot to put on sunscreen and i was flying back. i was in anguilla. and then, i was transferring in atlanta. >> seth: okay. >> and a gentleman came up to me, who was a fan, and smacked me in the back, and i fainted. [ laughter ]
>> seth: because your sunburn was so painful? >> i woke up, i had no idea what happened, and i had a second-degree burn on my back. >> seth: oh, my god. >> and i lived by myself in los angeles at this time, and it was the most depressing day of my life. i had to go to cvs, buy aloe vera, and purchase a swiffer to ply it on my back. [ laughter ] >> seth: you self-applied aloe -- >> i laid facedown on my deck, and i swiffered aloe vera onto my own back. [ laughter ] that is what we call the last sentence of a suicide note, seth. [ laughter ] that is the darkest thing that's ever happened to me. >> seth: that is so dark. also, i feel so bad. some guy sees you in atlanta, huge jonah hill fan, so psyched -- >> yeah. >> seth: walks over, smacks you on the back -- >> boom. >> seth: maybe thought he killed you. >> yeah. >> seth: yeah. >> yeah. yeah. >> seth: very traumatic. >> i never thought about it from his perspective, man. >> seth: yeah. [ laughter ] >> yeah. very thoughtful. >> seth: he's like, "i met jonah hill." they go, "how did it go?" "i don't know, you know." [ laughter ] >> "he didn't want to take a picture." >> seth: he probably for all we know he has a picture of you. >> yeah. he took a selfie. [ laughter ]
>> seth: so this -- you've played real people before, which you do in this film. >> yeah. >> seth: and, but, you did not meet the gentleman that you play in this film. >> no. the guy i played wanted -- didn't want me to play him and didn't want the movie to be made. and i've played a handful of real people in my career so far, and what i've learned is, is that if they don't want me to play them, then, that's really good sign. >> seth: oh, good. >> yeah, so, like, in "moneyball" and "wolf of wall street," they were adamantly against me playing them, and they turned out to be pretty good movies. >> seth: yeah, they're great. >> right? >> seth: yeah. >> and i think the reason for this is 'cause, like, for those films, you know, you have, like, you know, they're like, "who's playing the other guy?" they're like, "leonardo dicaprio." "who's playing me? that's awesome!" "jonah hill." [ laughter ] "[ bleep ] that, man. no way." you know? >> seth: no, you're right. >> "who's playing the other guy?" "oh, brad pitt." "oh, great! who's playing me?" "jonah hill." [ laughter ] you know? i'm gonna go buy a swiffer and put some aloe vera on my back.
>> seth: that's a swiffer moment. >> yeah, that's their swiffer moment. >> seth: that's their swiffer moment. >> yeah. >> seth: so you're a co-star in this film is miles teller. >> yes. >> seth: and there was a lot of press that during filming, he saved a pregnant woman from drowning. >> yeah, yeah. >> seth: yeah. >> he walked a pregnant woman casually to the shore -- >> seth: okay. >> because there was a shark, and it made it look like he was, like, this big hero. he's a great guy, great actor. >> seth: but this is not -- this is not jaws of a shark. >> no, no. and it wasn't that the shark wasn't big. it just wasn't, like, an emergency type of situation. >> seth: got it. >> right. but, you know, i've talked about that, but that's not the first time that i've been kind of embarrassed by a co-star at the beach, basically. >> seth: okay. so what -- this is -- >> i went to australia with channing tatum. >> seth: okay. >> right? you already see where this is going, but it's actually going in a different direction than you think it's going. [ laughter ] but basically, we got off the plane, and we were very inebriated and jet lagged. >> seth: gotcha.
>> and we decided -- >> seth: which is a terrible combo. >> it's an awful combination. >> seth: yeah. it's an awful combination to make the decision, "let's hit the beach." >> yeah. [ light laughter ] we get off the plane and we landed, and we were like, "let's go jump in the ocean at bondi beach." so we went straight from the airport. now, bondi beach in australia, there is a reality show called "bondi rescue" about moron tourists who go jump into the ocean and don't understand that there's a massive riptide. [ laughter ] so -- so, i go swimming, and a minute later i look where i am, and channing and everyone else is one mile away from me. [ laughter ] i'm completely in the middle of the ocean in australia by myself drunk. okay? >> seth: oh, no. [ laughter ] >> now, i have to get rescued, okay? [ laughter ] which is [ bleep ] on its own, right? >> seth: yeah. >> you know, like, that's just, that's just awful. and apparently there was paparazzi there who took a picture of me trying to swim back to safety. >> seth: now, you make it sound bad, but i got to be honest, the photo -- [ laughter ] you look pretty noble. i feel like you've got --
>> pretty in control. >> seth: you've got -- you're really in control right here. there you go. [ laughter and applause ] and again, like no -- none of us, none of us should go to the beach with channing tatum. >> no. >> seth: none of us. >> never. >> seth: because on this -- this is the same day the paparazzi get this. that's just not fair. that's -- >> yeah. [ laughter ] yeah. he literally looks like he's, like, half dolphin. >> seth: yeah, exactly. >> and like half -- >> seth: the sea, it welcomes him back. >> yeah. >> seth: like, "hello, channing!" >> he's like poseidon. >> seth: yeah. "hello, our boy." you have had -- it seems like this bad vacation and the beach going wrong for you is maybe has some historical precedence. >> well why do you say that? >> seth: we have a photo -- well, we have a photo of you -- how old are you in this? >> well, i don't know what photo you're talking about. >> seth: well, i have a question. i have a question of what's happening with your hair. and my second question is, are you crying in this photo? [ laughter ] what? i can't -- that is -- i've seen braided hair before, but that's, like --
>> yeah. >> seth: did you stop after five, or did you -- were you like, "five's good?" >> that's called being swept up in the island lifestyle. [ laughter ] >> seth: yeah. >> yeah. that was me on island time. it's pretty heartbreaking to look at that, honestly. >> seth: yeah. >> it's -- you really question a lot of your decisions. >> seth: yeah. >> yeah. >> seth: that's awesome. >> yeah. >> seth: i'm just glad that photo exists. >> yeah. we should go get our hair braided together after the show. [ laughter ] >> seth: we should. that would be a great thing to do as an adult just, like, after -- i should just take two weeks off and come back. >> dude, i haven't seen you in, like, a month. we should go get our hair braided jamaican style. >> seth: yeah! >> yeah. >> seth: that's a great call. >> just three, like, three, four beads on the end. >> seth: just, like, three or four. i don't want to go crazy. >> on the tip. yeah, yeah, yeah. >> seth: well, that was always nice about you. that was a very reserved, "just do five, please." >> it was a conservative -- >> seth: yeah. >> a conservative look. >> seth: you're like, "i'm still jonah, so i don't want to go crazy." >> "i can take a meeting, even though i'm eight. but i can also order a pina colada at the same time." >> seth: there you go. >> yeah. >> seth: now, i've heard you are
doing a new thing to bring yourself enjoyment, which is you are taking family members phones, and then sending off texts as if you're them. >> yeah. yeah. this, okay, this is something i'm a little embarrassed of. like, it's been a thing in my family where, like, we grab each other's phones and text people that we don't know from other relatives' phones. >> seth: okay. so you just randomly pick a name? >> my mom asked me to fix something on her phone, and i had her phone. and saw she was texting a family friend of ours. and i texted him, "i can't poop." [ laughter ] and he's, like, a guy around, like, our age, right? >> seth: yeah. >> and so, this guy just is like, you know, talks to my mom probably like on their birthdays or something. and he gets this text and he writes back, "have a coffee" with a smiley face. [ laughter ] >> seth: that's very sweet. >> it is very sweet. >> seth: it's very sweet that he actually tried to provide a solution. >> that's exactly what i thought. his name's danny. he's a really sweet guy. >> seth: that's a nice -- >> and i was like, "what a cool
guy. i would have been so weirded out and not written back or anything." [ laughter ] you know? like, did not leave her hanging, you know? >> seth: is your mom good with the phone? is this a thing that people -- >> no. she's, like, a disaster. she -- she -- she doesn't read her texts, and she just fires them off. >> seth: oh, i see. >> so she was at my house the other day -- >> seth: she doesn't proofread? >> no, no, no. she just fires off stream of consciousness -- >> seth: yeah. >> like, disaster. and she was at my house the other day and she couldn't find my sister for, like, four hours, and she's a crazy neurotic jewish mother, so she figured she was dead or kidnapped. >> seth: yeah. >> right? and she's like, "i can't get a hold of your sister." i'm like, "she's fine. just leave her alone. like, just, like, you know, don't do anything." and she's like, "no, i'm going to text her roommate." i'm like, "don't text her roommate." she's like, "i'm doing it." she texts her roommate, and then she, like, chills for a second, and she's like, "oh, no, something got messed up." and i'm like, "what?" and she's like, i wrote her roommate, "have you seen beanie? don't rat me out." [ laughter ]
but it auto corrected to "have you seen beanie? don't eat me out." [ laughter ] so this poor girl just got a text. how disturbing is that? [ laughter ] like, that is so crazy. >> seth: what were you gonna say? like, "i haven't seen her and i won't." [ laughter ] >> i just -- >> seth: "and i'm not going to." >> was that an ever even an option. yeah. >> seth: i can't tell you how in the clear you are on this, yeah. >> yeah. >> seth: that's fantastic. >> what a weird day i'm having, huh? >> seth: yeah. [ laughter ] well, i'm glad we found something that's weirder than, "i can't poop." i can't poop's a jackpot compared to that one. >> yeah. >> seth: yeah. >> that's literally like winning the lottery compared to "don't eat me out." >> seth: yeah, there you go. >> yeah. >> seth: so great to have you here as always, buddy. >> you're the best. >> seth: such a pleasure. >> great to see you. >> seth: jonah hill, everybody. [ cheers and applause ] "war dogs" opens everywhere august 19th. we'll be right back with more "late night." [ cheers and applause ] ♪ this is my body of proof.
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"that guy" actors. now, what do i mean when i'm saying "that guy" actors? those are character actors who's names you may not know but instantly recognize their faces. and when you see them, you say "oh, that's so great! that's that guy from that tv show or movie. well i'd like to celebrate that guy actors in a new segment we're calling, "who's that guy?" ♪ [ cheers and applause ] >> seth: here's our first "that guy." this is john hawkes, you definitely know that face. he's that guy from "lincoln," that guy from "deadwood," and that guy from your family reunion who showed up trashed. [ light laughter ] next up is john carroll lynch, you definitely know that face. john typically plays creepy, unnerving characters. he was that guy from "american horror story" who played john wayne gacy. he was that guy from "zodiac" who played the zodiac killer. and john was also that guy from -- >> hello, seth. >> seth: i'm sorry? what was that?
>> i said hello, seth. [ laughter ] >> seth: oh. oh, my god. it's john carroll lynch, everybody. yeah. [ cheers and applause ] john, we were just talking about you. >> i know. i was sitting right here. [ light laughter ] >> seth: so, what are you doing here, john? >> i'm a huge jonah hill fan. [ light laughter ] >> seth: oh. cool. cool. >> i love "21 jump street" as well as its sequel, "22 jump street." >> seth: okay. [ light laughter ] >> what was it you were saying about me being creepy and unnerving? >> seth: oh, no. no. no, no, no. i was just saying the parts you play are sometimes creepy and unnerving. >> okay. [ light laughter ] because in real life, i think i'm a very relaxed, cool dude. [ light laughter ] >> seth: and this is real life right now, right? [ light laughter ]
>> i suppose so. >> seth: well john, thanks for coming. and that concludes our new segment -- >> weren't you about to make a joke about what i look like before i interrupted you? >> seth: we're actually out of time now, so -- [ laughter ] >> i enjoy comedy. i would be very upset if i didn't get to hear your joke. >> seth: okay. yeah, yeah. so, john is that guy from "zodiac." that guy from "american horror story." and, oh, boy, that guy from the wall who had a great fall. [ laughter ] [ applause ] [ laughter ] oh, thank god. i'm so glad you liked it. what a relief.
well, let's move on with the segment then. our next "that guy" is david paymer. now you probably know david from his oscar nominated performance in "mr. saturday night." he was also in the film -- >> hi, seth. >> seth: oh! whoa! [ laughter ] >> what's wrong? >> seth: you scared me. >> i would never want to scare you, seth. may i tell a joke now? >> seth: sure. >> knock knock. >> seth: who's there? >> the interrupting cow. >> seth: the interrupting cow -- >> mooooo. [ laughter ] did you like my joke, seth? >> seth: i did. >> be honest. i really want to improve my comedy. >> seth: okay. well, if i'm being totally honest, john -- did you just pull out a knife? [ laughter ] >> this? oh, he come with me everywhere. ♪ killing him softly with this knife ♪ ♪ killing him softly with this knife ♪
♪ killing him softly in his dressing room after the show ♪ [ laughter ] ♪ and by him i mean seth meyers with this knii-iii-iii-iii-ife ♪ [ laughter ] that was "killing me softly" by roberta flack and more recently ms. lauryn hill and the fugees. >> seth: yeah. >> i changed the lyrics to be about you, seth. it's a parody song. >> seth: that's really good. now i can officially say we've run out of time. >> all of us have less time than we think. [ laughter ] >> seth: okay. we'll be right back with jonathan franzen. [ cheers and applause ] ♪ what if i told you there was a car companyawards. that received all of these awards?
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♪ [ cheers and applause ] >> seth: our next guest is a bestselling author of books like "the corrections" and "freedom." his fantastic novel, "purity," is now available in paperback. please welcome to the show jonathan franzen. ♪ [ cheers and applause ] >> seth: so happy to have you here. >> hi. it's good to be here. >> seth: i was thinking about this today, knowing you were coming on. "the corrections" is obviously a book i think a lot of people own. you must know that. >> yes. i see it in people's apartments. >> seth: well, that was what i was gonna say. because my wife and i when we moved in together, we each had a copy of "the corrections." so we had to decide do you keep two on the bookshelves or do just keep one?
but i was wondering when you come into apartments do you check the bookshelves, do you try to see do they have "the corrections?" >> yes. >> seth: yeah. >> yes. [ laughter ] yes. and if they don't, then i wonder if i need to go there again. >> seth: oh, that's true. >> yeah. >> seth: or do you just send it ahead of your next visit. you'd say, "i'd love to have this on the bookshelf." >> no, no, i make permanent, lasting judgments about that person's taste in fiction. >> seth: that's wonderful. >> yeah. >> seth: that's good to know. >> yeah, exactly. >> seth: that's how it works. so this movie sort of -- i'm sorry, this book -- >> let's not get ahead of ourselves. >> seth: yeah, exactly. so this book spans continents, it spans different time periods. when you sit down with something that jumps around like this, do you have to do a lot of outlining or does it sort of find itself as you start writing? >> it's good to find my way to some kind of outrageous place i'm trying to get. but if i have too careful a map of how to get there, the whole thing goes dead.
so it's, like, you set yourself some impossible goal and then try to make up a story to get the reader from point "a" to point "b." and so it becomes an adventure every morning. like, how am i going to get over the next hill to this impossible place? >> seth: does it feel impossible doing it? or -- >> no, it feels like a pleasant challenge. >> seth: oh, that's nice. >> it's what keeps work interesting. >> seth: this book, you know, a lot of people have obviously drawn, or asked you this question, but the main character joins sort of like a wikileaks type organization and she works for sort of a julian assange type character. but you weren't drawn to the idea of sort of talking about wikileaks. is that true? >> no, i'm not very interested in wikileaks. >> seth: yeah. but it's a huge part of the book. >> no. well, it's a part of the book. >> seth: yeah. >> yeah. no, it's -- but the other main character in the book, andreas wolf, he kind of blunders into that line of work by accident. he's trying to steal some files from the stasi archives in east berlin. he walks out, there are tv cameras and he says, "oh, hey, i'm going to be mr. sunlight."
and the next thing you know, he becomes kind of sort of the rival of julian assange. yeah. >> seth: there was a very specific detail that i immediately thought there must be someone in your life that this was true of. there's a character who you write did a very -- did an impression of a backup denver broncos quarterback named norris weese. >> right. >> seth: now i read that, that was such a piece of specificity. i did not know if norris weese is a real person. i looked it up. he is. you can't just write that apropos of nothing. did you know somebody in your life who did an impression of a backup denver broncos quarterback? >> no, but i knew somebody like that minor character, and he and i roomed together in college. >> seth: all right. >> and we were socially unsuccessful. [ laughter ] and so we picked on people even weaker than ourselves. like a second string quarterback for the -- [ laughter ] the then not really going anyplace denver broncos. but, yeah. it was kind of the stock and trade. it is what we would do on a friday night while everyone was having a good time.
>> seth: yeah. >> we would do mean impressions of the people who were having a good time. >> seth: oh, that's great. it seems to me, like, if you could do a good impression of a backup quarterback, you would meet tons of ladies. they're so drawn to that. it's such a great cocktail party move. >> yeah. >> seth: yeah. [ laughter ] you've mentioned, you know, as you write longer in your career, you sort of pared down your language a bit. can you explain what brought you to that? >> possibly justification of my failing powers as i get older. >> seth: oh, okay, got you. >> thought i'd invent a rationale for why the language is getting a little plainer. i'm not in my 30s anymore. you know, things slow down a little bit. but seriously, i -- "the corrections" is a very written book. and i felt, i'm not going to write better than that and i started to think that in some places the language called too much attention to itself. and the last thing i want to do
is take a reader out of the dream by calling attention to what they're reading. once you become aware of the words on the page, you're taken a little bit out of the dream. so trying to make the language very efficient about telling a story and focusing just on the story and finding, you know, finding the richness in the thought rather than in the language expressing the thought. >> seth: you mentioned you're not going to write better than that. is that -- having that point of view, does that give you a freedom to write in a different way, to sort of not try to outdo yourself, but rather try to write whatever it is that you want to write at any given time? >> the next book i wrote was called "freedom." >> seth: there you go. [ light laughter ] i should have made the connection. you were telling us all. >> but seriously, yeah, it was kind of -- i did feel a sense of liberation that i didn't have to show off. i'd already, you know, it's like after a couple of books i finally amazingly hit it big with "the corrections." i didn't need to prove myself anymore. >> seth: that must be the greatest feeling as an artist. >> it's not bad. >> seth: yeah. [ laughter ] >> yeah. no.
consider the alternative. >> seth: it's true. so, this is being adapted into a 20 episode tv show on showtime. >> that's right. >> seth: how -- does your relationship with your work change as you watch somebody else adapting it to a different medium? >> well, i'm a co-conspirator in that adaptation. >> seth: gotcha. >> so, and i've been very fortunate because we have had daniel craig attached to the project from the beginning. and he wanted to do something cool, different, great. and then todd field came aboard, the director, todd field, of "little children" and "in the bedroom," and he said let's just do the book. and so what's not to like for the writer and a director who says, "let's just do the book"? >> seth: that's great. >> yeah. >> seth: also it must be nice to think back to being inside on friday nights making fun of a backup quarterback and now you're hanging out with daniel craig. that is a very nice -- that's a
very nice advancement. >> but i'm still doing mean impressions of him. [ laughter ] >> seth: well, there you go. well you can't not be jonathan franzen. >> no, no. i can't. and i do them to his face. >> seth: well there you go. that's progress. >> yeah. >> seth: because you probably never met norris weese in person. so -- >> no, it's something to look forward to. [ laughter ] >> seth: thank you so much for being here. such a pleasure. >> great to be here. thanks. [ cheers and applause ] such a big fan. jonathan franzen, everybody. "purity" is in stores now. we'll be right back with music from gallant. [ cheers and applause ] ♪ ♪ just when you think you know what a computer is. you see a keyboard that can just, get out of the way. and a screen you can touch. and even write on. when you see a computer that can do all that, it might just make you wonder...
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call me anxious call me broke ♪ ♪ but i can't lift this on my own ♪ ♪ oh no no baby ♪ we dreamt like martyrs baby i never thought i was bold enough ♪ ♪ you pushed me further babe ooh and i take the blame for the both of us ♪ ♪ but i'm pulling my weight in gold call me anxious call me broke ♪ ♪ but i can't lift this on my own ♪
♪ i'm pulling my weight in gold ooh call me anxious call me broke ♪ ♪ but i can't lift this on my own ♪ ♪ ooh ooh oh universe hold me up ♪ ♪ you tried your best is it ever enough when it's already dragging me down down ♪ ♪ i'm pulling my weight in gold call me anxious call me broke ♪ ♪ but i can't lift this on my own ♪ ♪ i'm pulling my weight in gold
sorry so sorry so sorry babe ♪ ♪ call me anxious call me broke ♪ ♪ but i can't lift this on my own ♪ ♪ when it's already dragging me down down ♪ ♪ [ cheers and applause ] >> seth: gallant, everyone! the album, "ology," is out now! we'll be right back. [ cheers and applause ] >> announcer: the "late night music experience is sponsored by redd's apple ale. a crisper take on beer thats anything but ordinary. redd's apple ale. pick different. and for even more music, check out latenightseth.com.
[ cheers and applause ] >> seth: my thanks to jonah hill, jonathan franzen, john carroll lynch, gallant. [ cheers and applause ] special thanks to redd's apple ale, who sponsored tonight's music. mary timony, fred armisen, and of course, the 8g band. stay tuned for "carson daly." we'll see you tomorrow. [ cheers and applause ] ♪