tv Late Night With Seth Meyers NBC November 8, 2017 12:37am-1:38am EST
[ cheers and applause ] ♪ >> announcer: from 30 rockefeller plaza in new york, it's "late night with seth meyers." tonight -- john lithgow, star of "mindhunter" actor jonathan groff, author michael lewis, featuring the 8g band with gunnery sergeant nathan davilmar. ♪ [ cheers and applause ] ladies and gentlemen, seth meyers. >> seth: good evening, i'm seth meyers. this is "late night." how's everybody doing tonight? [ cheers and applause ] great to hear. in that case, let's get to the news. after his visit to japan yesterday, president trump praised prime minister abe and tweeted quote "massive military and energy orders happening, plus plus plus --" what? it sounds like massive stroke happening plus, plus, plus.
you know you're not supposed to eat the whole puffer fish, right? [ light laughter ] president trump today met with south korean president moon jae-in where the two participated in a friendship walk which was incidentally what melania thought this was. [ laughter ] wait, what's happening? why is my family here? [ applause ] former white house chief strategist steve bannon said this weekend that he tries to be bad cop to president trump's good cop. wow. imagine what a bad cop you have to be for donald trump to be your good cop. [ light laughter ] according to a cnn poll, president trump's approval rating has reached a new low of 36%. he's so unpopular pretty soon it's just going to be fox & friend. [ laughter and applause ] commerce secretary wilbur ross reportedly overstated his wealth
by 2 billion dollars to gain a spot on forbes's magazines annual list of richest americans. i'm just glad he finally gave up on sexiest man alive! [ laughter ] the fashion retailer zara is in the midst of a dispute after shoppers found notes from unpaid employees asking for help hidden inside clothing. said one woman, "i've already tried that. it doesn't work." [ laughter ] [ applause ] he said it was a friendship walk. [ light laughter ] george clooney said recently the democrats need to find a presidential candidate to compete with president trump's outlandish personality saying we don't have anybody who lights up a room. said bernie sanders, "light up a whole room? that's expensive and a waste of electricity." [ applause ] a woman recently launched a new app that let users know when their locally mcdonald's ice
cream machine is broken. kind of sounds like there's a story behind that one, doesn't it? "no, ma'am, it's still not working and can you please stop calling us? i don't know, why don't you develop an app?" and finally, a japanese zoo is currently selling notebooks made from recycled animal manure to celebrate its 50th anniversary. and this is cool, it comes with a complimentary number 2 pencil. ladies and gentlemen, we have a fantastic show for you tonight. [ cheers and applause ] he is the star of "daddy's home 2." he's one of our favorites. john lithgow is back on the show, everybody. [ cheers and applause ] you know him from the fantastic new series, "mindhunter," on netflix, jonathan groff is joining us -- [ cheers and applause ] and so happy he's back. his fascinating book, "the undoing project" was just released on paperback, michael lewis rejoins us here on "late night." [ cheers and applause ] before we get to all that, the amazing thing about the trump
administration is not just all the stories we hear, it's also the number of stories we missed due to the insanity of the stories we hear. for example last week, president trump's nominee for chief scientist at the department of agricultural, sam clovis, withdrew his nomination after reports surfaced that he had alleged ties to the ongoing russia investigation. so who is sam clovis and why is he still working for this administration? it's time for the "check-in." ♪ [ applause ] >> seth: sam clovis was trump's national co-chairman during the presidential campaign. of course you may know him as the security guy in every syfy film who sees a spaceship and drops his flashlight. [ light laughter ] he's also been serving as the white house liaison to the department of agricultural while awaiting his hearing to be chief scientist at the usda. that hearing was scheduled for this thursday, but then last week this happened. >> a former trump advisor has withdrawn his name from consideration for a top position at the agricultural department. >> sam clovis, who admits he's not even a scientist, took
himself out of the running due to his reported relationship with george papadopoulos. that's the former trump campaign foreign policy advisor who pleaded guilty to making a false statement to the fbi about his interactions with russian officials. >> the government claims that clovis actually encouraged papadopoulos to go to russia to meet with russian officials. >> seth: so clovis withdrew his name for consideration and that's a good thing. because while sam clovis may be many things, a former air force fighter pilot, a conservative talk show host, southern sheriff who gets outsmarted by them rascally duke boys, he is not a scientist. clovis himself confirmed that it in a letter obtained by the "washington post." here are his answers to some questions he had submitted ahead of his now cancelled hearing. please list all graduate level courses you have taken in natural science? none, clovis replied. please list all membership and leadership roles you have held with any agricultural scientific, agricultural education or agricultural economic organizations?
none, clovis replied. please describe any awards designations or academic recognition you received specifically related to agricultural science? none, clovis replied. have you ever visited the produce section of your grocery store? [ laughter ] of course, trump was probably impressed by that. "he filled out his questionnaire in like a minute. [ light laughter ] i think i picked a real winner with this guy." seriously based on that clovis' interview with trump probably went as well as this interview. >> how do you do it? what's your secret? [ light laughter ] >> seth: grimace may actually have been more qualified than clovis. at least grimace doesn't have any alleged ties to a criminal conspiracy. oh, no -- even you, grimace. but besides -- [ cheers and applause ] besides being unqualified, clovis also has some dangerous theories and political beliefs that should have been red flag even before the russian revelations came to light.
for his example his views on the science behind climate change. >> i'm extremely skeptical. i take a look at the -- i've looked at the science and i have enough of a science background to know when i'm being boofed. >> seth: you're not a scientist and i can tell because scientists almost never used the word "boofed." [ light laughter ] albert einstein never said e equals 'm' c-cubed -- oh, wait, i boofed it. [ light laughter ] einstein, you're always boofing it. now clovis was also very critical of the obama administration. in fact, one of the biggest problems he had with president obama was obama's attempt to protect members of the lgbtq community from being discriminated against. listen to clovis' take on that. >> we have 4% of the population that claim to be lesbian, gay, bi-sexual or transgender. we have more people who are left-handed, we have more people who are blue eye'd, we have more people that suffer other issues associated with their lives that
they don't receive these kind of protections. >> seth: yeah. why would anybody talk about the historically oppressed blue eye'd members of society? hasn't this man suffered enough? justice for ryan, you guys. [ cheers and applause ] [ laughter ] and if you're wondering how clovis won trump over. here's an example from one of his television appearances during the campaign. >> the leadership of the republican party needs to figure out what they want. either they want to get behind the presumptive nominee, who will be the nominee of this party and make sure that we do everything we can to win in november, or we're just asking them if they can't do that, then just shut the hell up. that's what we're asking them to do. >> seth: trump saw that and thought he'd be perfect for the chief scientist of the usda. sir, i don't think this chicken meets the safety standards, just package it and shut the hell up.
[ light laughter ] but sir, the beak is still on shut-up! [ light laughter ] but clovis is one example of what seems to be a pattern in the type of people trump nominates and hires. the only qualification necessary is loyalty to trump himself. and nowhere is that perhaps more blatantly obvious than at the usda. according to reports, the trump team has brought in to the agency a long haul truck driver, a clerk at at&t, a gas company meter reader, a country club cabana attendant, a republican national committee intern and the owner of a scented candle company. [ light laughter ] that doesn't sound like the leadership of a government agency. it sounds like the cast of "survivor." [ laughter ] or like you're assembling a team for a [ bleep ] bank heist. murph, you're on candles, you, read the gas meter. [ light laughter ] how is this gonna help us rob a bank? i don't smell any candles. the trump administration is also making some worrisome changes to nutrition policies to the schools. but we shouldn't be surprised trump doesn't care about nutrition.
just listened to how he expressed his admiration for fast-food during the campaign trail. he gave a more passionate answer about wendy's and mcdonald's than he did about any actual policy. >> the big macs are great. the quarter pounder with cheese -- but i'm a person that -- i like cleanliness, i like clean. and the one thing about the big franchises, you have to have a certain -- you know because of the importance, one bad hamburger can destroy at mcdonald's, one bad hamburger, you take wendy's and all these other places and they're out of business. >> seth: it's funny because one bad hamburger would be a good nickname for every single person trump has ever hired. [ light laughter ] paul manafort, that guy is one bad hamburger. [ light laughter ] but here's the thing, had these russia connections with clovis and the trump campaign not come to light, it's very possible he would still have made it to the hearing process, probably doing even more damage to the usda. and there's no reason to believe trump will change course and nominate someone who is actually qualified. it is really come to the point where we should pray for this as his replacement. >> together, grimace, we could own this town. >> seth: this has been the "check in."
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honor of veterans week and all of our active and retired armed service members, we have a very special drummer sitting in. he is the united states marine corps musician of the year and currently plays for marine corps band new orleans, gunnery sergeant nathan davilmar, everybody! [ cheers and applause ] thank you for being here. >> thank you. >> seth: and to further honor veterans week, i like to bring light to some charities that benefit veterans. starting with homes for our troops, they build and donate especially adaptive custom homes for severely injured post 9/11 vets to enable them to rebuild their lives. check out their ebay auction going on now where you can bid for great things including tickets to this show. and thank you so much for checking that out. [ applause ] our first guest tonight is an emmy, tony, and golden globe award winning actor you know from "3rd rock and the sun," "dexter," and "the crown." he stars as will ferrell's father in "daddy's home 2" which is in theaters friday. let's take a look. >> did you touch our thermostat? did you turn it up? >> oh, of course not. did somebody fiddle with the thermostat? >> yes, it's 85 degrees.
>> 85? >> 85. >> do you have any idea how much even a few degrees can impact the gas bill? >> of course i do. it's unthinkable. >> dad, kurt, what's going on in here? why is it so hot? >> someone fiddled with the thermostat. >> what? who would do that? >> seth: please welcome back to the show, john lithgow, everybody! [ cheers and applause ] ♪ ♪ >> seth: welcome back, john! >> yeah, it's great to be back. >> seth: so happy to see you. since you were last here, you had a wonderful portrayal of winston churchill in "the crown." >> yes. >> seth: deservedly won an emmy for it. >> yes, i did. [ cheers and applause ] >> seth: that -- obviously you're approaching a character so many actors have played.
and you are an american so you have to do the british accent. i heard you had a way of approaching your winston churchill voice that is just very unique. >> well, he was a unique man in every way including the way he talked. i sort of -- i knew i had to develop exactly the right winston churchill. he had a very jowly face. >> seth: yes. >> and i remembered marlon brando in "the godfather" and i thought, "well, i'll stick something in my jowls." i practiced this at home before i went to england to join them. with a melon baller i created these little apple balls and stuck them in -- [ laughter ] and i just stared at the mirror. "i have nothing to offer." you know i thought, "i've got it!" >> seth: wow! >> i actually took a melon baller with me to england. >> seth: wow. >> and arrived -- >> seth: and you got right through customs, they had no issue with it. [ laughter ] >> exactly. i was not stopped. and took an apple to rehearsal one day and i said, "i just want to experiment with this." and i dug out two apple balls
and put them in my jowls. [ light laughter ] >> seth: sure. >> and spoke a scene with it. about 40 seconds in, my mouth -- it sounded great. it sound very churchilian but my mouth was full of apple juice. >> seth: yeah. [ laughter ] >> turns out that was churchilian, too. >> seth: yeah, exactly. winston churchill famously spit out apple juice every 40 seconds. [ laughter ] >> that's what i said. nickname. >> seth: so you're playing will ferrell's father, perfect casting. >> yes, it was so great. >> seth: and you are, of the two fathers in this film, you are the more emotional father. >> that's right. >> seth: yeah. >> mel gibson plays mark wahlberg's dad. >> seth: yeah, less emotional. >> yeah. he's the sort of tough love kind of severe hard-ass partner and i'm just sloppy sentimental, bursting with emotion. and will and i, as father and son, we completely adore each other. [ laughter ] >> seth: that's fantastic. i know you shot in boston. you actually got to spend a week together as a cast at a resort. is that nice? >> oh, yeah. >> seth: because i know often you actually do movies and you don't get to spend that much
time together. >> yeah, it was good because we were all nervous. i mean, we had -- we knew we had to turn into a four-person ensemble very quick. it was wonderful. we were in the berkshires for a week. we had to get as much snow as we could before the spring came. and it was just a great bonding week. >> seth: you had a great bonding -- it sounds like the entire time on the set when you did the film "footloose." you actually all hung out together. and that seems like a place -- you filmed that in utah? >> we filmed it in provo, utah. >> seth: mm-hmm. >> a very conservative little community. >> seth: very "footloose"-ian. >> very "footloose" -- footlution, i think. >> seth: yeah, footlution, you're right, i apologize. [ laughter ] >> and dianne wiest and i were the oldsters. we were about 25 years younger than we are now. but we were the old folks. and all these fabulous young kids, kevin bacon and laurie singer and sarah jessica parker. somehow or other, we as a sort
of compensation for that, we became the wild ones. >> seth: oh, you and diane -- >> yes. >> seth: had to be cool to show to the young people. >> yeah, yeah. we all stayed in the motor court. and i was sort of the venerable older star so i was given two rooms with an adjoining door. >> seth: oh, wow! >> so i threw the parties. >> seth: uh-huh. [ laughter ] >> we had, like, "soul train," you know it was crazy. and these young kids thought we were nuts. >> seth: yeah. but you had a good time. did you ever get in trouble with the provo authorities? >> yes! >> seth: oh, wow! >> yeah, we flung off our clothes and leaped into the swimming pool one night. >> seth: oh, that's not -- i don't think that's supposed to happen at the provo motor court. [ light laughter ] >> we got a very stern addressing down from our producer the next morning. >> seth: yeah. >> dan melnick, so -- but that happened. >> seth: hopefully you learned your lesson, john. [ light laughter ] >> but it was odd because in "footloose" i was the guy who wouldn't let anybody dance. >> seth: yeah, but turns out that not -- you're too busy doing other stuff, skinny dipping, to dance. yeah. [ laughter ] dancing's for lame-os. [ laughter ] >> right.
>> seth: you are also going to play wilson's father in in "pitch perfect 3." >> that's right. >> seth: that's also very exciting. >> yeah. [ cheers and applause ] >> seth: so -- how was your -- how was your process? had you done an australian accent before in a film? >> i had done a new zealand accent years ago. >> seth: okay. >> never australian but i had an excellent dialect coach, rebel wilson. >> seth: oh, that -- oh, gotcha. [ laughter ] >> that's right. >> seth: so just on the fly she would help you out. >> yeah, yes. it was great part and the accent suited it perfectly. he was a real scoundrel conman. >> seth: okay. >> you'll see it. >> seth: okay. >> you're also doing a one-man show on broadway that you've done, is it safe to say, hundreds of times at this point? >> i've probably done it about 90 times. >> seth: okay. >> i developed it in new york at lincoln center years ago. and it's been my trunk show. i take it out to cities and to do one night stands, like old time vaudeville, i do it in these wonderful old opera houses in small cities and the stage hands all brag about how harry houdini performed here,
you know? >> seth: uh-huh. >> it's been just fantastic. >> seth: and it's a show inspired by your father, yes? >> mostly. yeah, a lot of it is about him. it's called "stories by heart." and it's a two-act evening. each of the acts is anchored with a great short story that i do as a sort of one-man performance. what they have in common is they're both contained in an old book that my dad use to read to me and my siblings when we were kids. and i used it to read to him when he was an old man and near death. >> seth: oh. >> so it's about -- it's very personal but it's also about stories and storytelling. >> seth: and it must be wonderful to take a show like that outside of this city, to other places and connect with an audience maybe in a city you don't know with a story like that to mean so much to you? >> it's been fantastic. i've been to 35 cities so far and places is had never been and probably would never have been. like galveston and lexington and oklahoma city and st. louis.
i always head right for the museum, right for whatever they consider the place you have to see before you leave town. this often involves barbecue. >> seth: yeah, i was going to say. [ laughter ] at least three of the places you mentioned it's barbecue. >> right. >> seth: yeah. >> exactly. but it's great. it's kind of like what bill maher does. you know, you just get out there and actually connect with audiences across the country. >> seth: well, that's fantastic. i'm so glad you're doing that. i'm so -- but you're going to stick around, all right? >> yeah, i will. >> seth: we'll be right back with more from john lithgow, everybody. [ cheers and applause ] ♪ teamed up on the pixel 2. it's a match made in tech heaven. it's like verizon is the oil and google is the balsamic. no, actually they separate into a suspension. it's more like the google pixel 2 is the unlimited storage. and verizon is the best unlimited plan. what if it's like h2 and o? yeah. that's right. i had a feeling that would score with you guys. good meeting.
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we're getting a little older, and sometimes i look around and i -- [ cheers and applause ] well, i don't even recognize the world i'm living in anymore. things are changing everyday, and not always for the better. [ light laughter ] it's times like these i like to sit down and think about how things were just a bit more simple back in my day. [ cheers and applause ] ♪ >> seth: back in my day, we didn't have no fancy iphone x costing us $1,000. horse feathers! back in my day, if you want to shell out a $1,000 for a phone you had to buy an iphone 6, get a little bit of water on it and have to buy it again. [ laughter ] >> back in my day, taco bell wasn't serving crazy items like the naked egg taco, no, sir! [ light laughter ] back in my day, if you wanted to enjoy a naked egg taco in a taco bell, they'd say, "put your
pants back on, mr. lithgow." [ laughter and applause ] >> seth: back in my day, we didn't watch pornography on virtual reality headsets. >> oh, no. >> seth: back then we just held the phone real close to our face. [ laughter ] made sure the sound was low because we were in the bathroom at work. [ laughter and applause ] >> you know, back in my day, we didn't have ben affleck as batman. >> seth: no, sir. >> we had george clooney as batman. [ light laughter ] and for some reason his suit had nipples. [ laughter ] and much like an actual man's nipples, they were made more for decoration than anything else. [ light laughter ] but clear as day, i remember they were hard. [ laughter and applause ] mine, not his. [ laughter ] i just really, really like batman. >> seth: really like batman.
>> i really like batman. >> seth: back in my day, messaging apps like whatsapp didn't let you unsend messages you'd already sent. >> oh, no. >> seth: back then, if you wanted to delete a text you'd already sent someone you had to do it the old-fashioned way, by going to your ex-girlfriend's place of work swatting the phone out of her hands, and then smashing it with a hammer because you thought you saw a bee on it. >> a bee on it. [ dog barking ] >> seth: oh, you're right, rusty. she is better off without me. [ light laughter ] [ dog growling ] >> you know, back in my day, we didn't have alternative energy sources like wind farms. oh, no. back in my day, if you wanted to harness the power of wind you'd have to head back to taco bell for a second naked egg taco. [ laughter and applause ] >> seth: back in my day, we didn't have no "stranger things" on netflix. we'd have strange things all right, things like planking. [ light laughter ] >> like how ryan seacrest never ages. >> seth: oh, and things like aol instant messenger. >> what was your screen name,
seth? >> seth: sethdog2000. [ light laughter ] what was yours? >> captainsparklepuss. >> seth: oh, that's a good one. [ light laughter ] >> yeah, sparklepuss. >> seth: very good one. >> back in my day, there was no domino's pizza tracker app. no, sir. if you wanted to know where your domino's was you had to drive to the store and say, i beg of you for all that is holy where on god's earth is my pizza? [ light laughter ] inevitably they'd say something like, mr. lithgow, it just arrived at your house. [ light laughter ] and also, please put your pants back on. [ light laughter ] >> seth: back in my day, cnn wasn't running an ad campaign telling people that an apple isn't a banana. no way, back in my day cnn was telling people that hillary clinton was going to win the election and guess what, that apple turned out to be a real banana. >> real banana. [ light laughter ] >> seth: real banana. but look, everybody. [ applause ] i'm sorry about all this, but sometimes a grumpy goose like me has got to get my grouse on.
this has been "back in my day." [ cheers and applause ] john lithgow, everybody. "daddy's home 2" is in theaters friday. we'll be right back with jonathan groff. [ cheers and applause ] ♪ can you fit in there? i got this... that's the new man, huh? yup. getting kinda' close to my ride. wow... now, that's how you make a first impression. they're going to love you... that's ford, america's best-selling brand. hurry in today for 0% financing for 72 months across the full line of ford cars, trucks and suvs! and just announced...get 0% apr for 72 months plus $1000 cash back! take advantage of these exclusive holiday offers during the ford year end sales event.
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♪ [ cheers and applause ] >> seth: welcome back, everybody! and just a quick reminder, before we move on, check out our "late night" podcast. today is the one year anniversary of the podcast. and they are a great way to catch up on the closer looks and guest interviews. the podcast also has things that are not on the show, like extended guest interviews and my favorite late night chats, which is our staff speaking very candidly about their lives and what it's like to work here. it's the best. you can listen for free on apple podcasts or anywhere else you download podcasts from. our next guest is a tony nominated and grammy award winning actor for his work as king george on the broadway sensation "hamilton." he is currently -- yeah, give it up for "hamilton." [ cheers and applause ] he's currently starring in "mindhunter," which is now streaming on netflix. let's take a look. >> talking about what? >> well, i don't know. your behavior, i guess.
if you want to, that is, i mean, we don't have to talk about anything at all, if you don't want to. >> why are you so tense? >> hmm? >> you're tense right now. >> no, i'm not tense. >> seth: it's just like "hamilton." [ light laughter ] please welcome to the show, jonathan groff, everybody! [ cheers and applause ] ♪ ♪ >> seth: i'm so happy you're here. >> i'm so happy to be here. thank you for having me. >> seth: congratulations on the show. >> thank you. >> seth: you shot the show for eight months in pittsburgh? >> 10 months. >> seth: 10 months in pittsburgh. >> in pittsburgh, yeah. >> seth: my father is from pittsburgh. i have a great connection to the city. did you enjoy your time there? >> i loved pittsburgh. is anybody from pittsburgh? >> seth: wow.
[ laughter ] that is a real reminder. they say when you're a lawyer in court, never ask a question you don't know the answer to. and that was a perfect example of why. anyone? [ laughter ] >> i'm from lancaster, pa, anyone? [ cheers ] >> seth: there we go. >> please, interesting. we have some amish sprinkled into the crowd. >> seth: i think it was actually -- that was like nine people that felt so bad about the pittsburgh thing. [ laughter ] >> so, being in pittsburgh kind of felt like home because i'm from pa. and it's the perfect place to work because it's so quiet, i lived right by the allegheny river. and at the same time, in the last decade, i don't know if you've been recently. >> seth: yeah, i have. >> the restaurants in pittsburgh are incredible. there's great bars in pittsburgh. also, what i love, too, is that unlike new york, you don't have to like dress up to go out. >> seth: yeah. >> you can wear like sweatpants and a t-shirt and go dancing and it's like cool. >> seth: that's great.
[ light laughter ] >> yeah. >> seth: that's a very -- it even says that on a billboard as you drive in. it says, "keep your sweatpants on, we're not fancy." [ light laughter ] >> exactly. exactly. i love the unpretentiousness of pittsburgh. >> seth: it's a very unpretentious place. so this -- you play an fbi agent, the first one who started, basically not investigating serial killers but trying to get into their heads. >> yeah, criminal profiling. >> seth: and were you drawn to this genre? do you like scary movies? >> i went through a scary movie phase from like seventh to ninth grade, when i was obsessed with the movie "scream." >> seth: sure. >> and i had a voice changer, that was like, "surprise sidney." you know, i did the whole like -- i dressed up for halloween and then it sort of stopped after ninth grade. had no interest in serial killers whatsoever. >> seth: that's good. >> yeah. >> seth: what's wrong with jonathan? he never talks about serial killers anymore? [ light laughter ] >> exactly. now that he's gone through puberty, it's like he's not obsessed with murdering. [ light laughter ] but a lot of people are. it's like a cultural --
>> seth: yes, it it. >> people are really into serial killers. it was just never -- it was never my thing. so this job was a real education for me. >> seth: and then, did you -- how did you deal with such sort of, you know, scary creepy material that you -- were terrified in your regular life? >> i did, because i would go running by the river every morning in pittsburgh before work, and i did turn on the location settings on my phone, just 'cause as i'm running thinking like, wow, someone could jump out of a van and get me, so i'm gonna turn on the location setting for my family and i called my brother as well. and was like, you have flood lights, right? and an alarm system? and just in case -- so there was sort of like, intellectual things that i thought. >> seth: i like that you weren't -- your goal wasn't not to get killed by a serial killer. you just wanted your body to be found. [ laughter ] all your steps were about recovering my body. >> exactly. exactly. >> seth: i don't want to put my family out having them looking forever. [ light laughter ] just find out.
>> i'm gonna solve that mystery for them. just turn on those location settings. exactly. >> seth: something that i think speaks very highly to your range as an actor. you were also, for those who don't know, the voice of kristoff in "frozen." >> yes, yes. >> seth: that is you. [ cheers and applause ] >> yup. >> seth: and i imagine when you play -- when you have an iconic voice like that, from something so beloved, do people ask you to record like voice messages for them as kristoff? >> yes, yes. so sometimes like parents, friends of family and whatever will come up to me on the street or when i'm home visiting. and they'll be like you know, "olive, this is jonathan, he's kristoff from frozen," and olive is like, "no, he's not. [ light laughter ] he's not blonde, he's not a cartoon." and so, voice memos are like the way in. and actually kristen and idena and josh and i are on this text chain where we -- for, like, kids in need or for, you know, kristen's kid school fund-raiser or whatever. make voice memos as our characters for x person.
you can just like, fill in the name. >> seth: oh, that's wonderful. >> yeah. >> seth: what a nice thing to give back to kids who care so much about that. >> yeah, exactly. that's really -- [ cheers and applause ] [ light laughter ] >> seth: where were you for pittsburgh? [ light laughter ] so you also play king george -- >> i did. >> seth: in "hamilton," i have heard -- is there truth to this? that one of your inspirations to how to play that part was barbara streisand? >> correct. [ cheers and applause ] >> seth: that is not a natural -- i wouldn't have thought that. >> yeah, me either, actually. yeah. i replaced an actor, brian d'arcy james off broadway in "hamilton." >> seth: fantastic actor. >> amazing actor. and he's a totally different type from me. so i had no idea how i was gonna create -- make the role my own, and i was watching this clip of barbara streisand on youtube. i'm a bit of an obsessive fan. and there's this black and white clip of her, one shot, singing the song "when the sun comes out." it's on youtube, you gotta to
youtube it. it's really good. and it was like -- there's no cutaways. she walks out and sings this song, and it's like she was [ bleep ] herself with her own voice. [ laughter ] and i thought that's how i'm gonna play the king. [ laughter ] i'm just gonna try to [ bleep ] myself with my own voice. [ laughter and applause ] >> seth: oh, that is great. and i hope now -- [ applause ] and i'm just happy to hear that, because i think now, you know, when parents bring their kids to the show, they'll be like "let me tell you what's happening here." [ laughter ] >> exactly. and they're playing the album and they're like -- this is jonathan groff -- the sound of jonathan groff [ bleep ] himself with his own voice. [ light laughter ] >> seth: okay, how can i explain this? sometimes a man and his voice are very much in love. [ laughter ] >> exactly. >> seth: thank you so much for being here. such a pleasure. >> thank you for having me! >> seth: jonathan groff, everybody. [ cheers and applause ] first season of "mindhunter" is streaming in its entirety on netflix. and the short "olaf's frozen adventure" will be in theaters november 22nd. we'll be right back with michael lewis. [ cheers and applause ] ♪
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>> seth: so happy to have you here. >> it's a pleasure to be back. >> seth: so this is a very interesting book especially in the time we're living in. but you wrote this book about two israeli psychologists who basically changed the way we think about decision making and the human mind. >> danny kahneman and amos tversky. kahneman won the nobel prize in economics in 2002 even though he knew no economics. because -- because what they had to say about the way the mind worked infected economics and created a whole field called behavioral economics. but they -- they were two guys who kind of basically fell in love with each other's minds and with each other without the sex. >> seth: uh-huh. >> and -- and -- >> seth: that doesn't complicate it then. then you can actually get work done. [ laughter ] >> well, that's exactly right. and the children were ideas. >> seth: yeah. >> and the -- and so the -- they -- they set out to figure
out, like, what the mind's doing when it doesn't know, when it's moving through the world and it's uncertain it's making judgment. so for this -- so my book "moneyball" is where this all starts. >> seth: right. >> right? so "moneyball" is about this baseball team that figures out that experts in judging baseball players don't know the value of baseball players. that if you come in with statistical analyses you can find these mistakes they make. they undervalue players who don't look right. they overvalue players who are good looking. they overvalue things that are really vivid and so on and so forth. and what i didn't get to in that book that i get to in this book is what these guys basically explain why all that happened. like, what was going on in the mind of the experts when they screwed it up. so that was -- the thrust of all their work is like the systematic mistakes human beings make when they trust in their gut. >> seth: and one of the things is they believe the human mind is thirsting for certainty even though we live in an uncertain world. >> absolutely. so what they'd say is, like, after something happens, you tell a story that makes it sound
as if it were inevitable. >> seth: mm-hmm. >> that the world -- that the mind wants to make the world seem a much more deterministic place than it is. amos tversky had this lovely line. he said, it was just scribbled, it was one of his notes in his file cabinets. it said, "reality is not a point, it's a cloud of possibilities. people want to make it a point." so after donald trump wins -- >> seth: yeah. >> nobody sees it coming, then everybody pretends they saw it coming. and then before long there's a whole story how it was inevitable. >> seth: mm-hmm. >> you know, he loses by 3 million votes and yet still it was inevitable kind of thing. it's a crazy thing. and so the very people who couldn't have predicted it start to tell a story about why it was so predictable. and these guys' point is very human. their point is that, like, we're being too hard on ourselves. like, much of life is this way, it's random, there's a lot of randomness. we don't know. we actually can't predict what's going to happen. so don't get all worked up about the fact you didn't see it coming. >> seth: it's a -- a bit of a coincidence that you are here tonight because we were working on that piece about sam clovis for a while but actually some of the quotes -- >> you didn't just rip me off?
>> seth: we did rip you off, but it was by accident. >> yes. >> seth: it was on purpose, we just didn't think you'd be here, but you did a lot of reporting on the usda. you wrote a long article in "vanity fair" about it. >> which is not an obvious subject. >> seth: no. >> the department of agricultural. >> seth: it's not. >> so here's the thing, the obama administration essentially created the best course ever created in how the federal government worked. they prepared -- by law they're required to prepare for the transition. and they -- like, 1,000 people to spend the better part of a year briefing books and briefings that the day after the election in the department of agricultural or the treasury department or the department of energy. 20 or 30 people for the new administration would come in and learn how the place worked. nobody showed. like, the student didn't show for the class. so what i've been doing is going and getting the briefings. so i went into the department of agricultural, just to see. i didn't know what it did. and to see just how terrifying it is that they don't know anything about the thing they're running. they didn't bother. and as you say, they start appointing people who, like
sam clovis and like that list of people you described. i mean you got to see the resumes, it's even better. you know, like, you know, the skills, like, where it says "skills" on your resume, one of them listed as their only skill "a pleasant demeanor." [ laughter ] so this is who -- it is this sense that, like, it doesn't matter who gets put in the job. that guy, sam clovis, that job that he was put in to do, you're supposed to be distributing $3 billion a year in research money to scientists, agricultural scientists, who are basically doing things related to climate change, like, how we're going to grow food in a different climate 50 years from now. very long dated research that the private sector wouldn't do. the woman he replaced, a woman named kathy, he had spent a better part of 50 years learning and preparing for that job. she was like a distinguished scientist. if you're going to take this guy who, like, is a right wing talk show radio host who doesn't know anything about science and stick him into your administration
because he helped you win iowa or whatever, why put him in there? i mean, like, put him some place where you don't need to know anything. >> seth: yeah. >> there's plenty of places in government that's true. >> seth: yeah, i believe it. >> and so why do that? it's a great mystery. >> seth: you said there was a drinking game the usda employees played? >> yes, it was called "does the usda do it?" because it's such a complicated, sprawling place that even the people who work there don't actually know all the things it does. and if you don't -- if you guess wrong you chug. [ light laughter ] but, i mean, if i told you some of the things it does, i mean -- like, that believe it or not, there are people who are around airports in america shooting fireworks at geese to make sure they don't live near the airports so they don't fly into airplanes. i mean, they -- the usda polices actually all disputes between animals and people in the country. now you think there are not many, but, you know, puppy mills and circus elephants that get abused. and they -- we kill 9 billion birds a year to eat in this
country and they have to inspect every single one of them. there's a -- it runs a forest service. it runs -- there's -- all of rural america is dependent on that place. it subsidizes water, electricity, schools, firehouses. at every point in the place, it's like a big part of the social safety net, there are people there working who are there not because they can't think of anything better to do with their lives, they wanted to work on say hunger in america or poverty in rural america. i mean, there -- like -- and the point of my piece about this place was, like, it really matters why you're doing the job. and if the answer is money or, like, status, and it has nothing to do with the actual job, you're going to get a really different kind of performance out of that person. >> seth: yeah, well, i'm so glad -- [ applause ] it's one of the things we're missing with everything else going on. i'm so glad you wrote that article. and it's always so great to have you here. >> thank you. >> seth: give it up to michael lewis, everybody!
[ cheers and applause ] >> seth: my thanks to john lithgow, jonathan groff, michael lewis, everybody. gunnery sergeant nathan davilmar. [ cheers and applause ] 8g band. stay tuned for carson daly. we'll see you tomorrow. ♪ ♪ ♪ >> carson: welcome to "last call" i'm carson daly this is hyde on sunset here in west hollywood. we have got a great one for you coming up "alias grace" star sarah gadon is going to be in our spott