tv Late Night With Seth Meyers NBC October 2, 2015 12:37am-1:37am EDT
meyers 0268 10.1.15. [ cheers and applause ] >> announcer: from 30 rockefeller plaza in new york, it's "late night with seth meyers." tonight -- ellen page -- from "dr. ken" comedian and actor ken jeong, author junot diaz -- featuring the 8g band. [ cheers and applause ladies and gentlemen, seth meyers! [ cheers and applause ] >> seth: good evening, i'm seth meyers. this is "late night." how is everybody doing tonight? [ cheers and applause ] very glad to hear it. in that case, let's get to the news. new jersey governor, chris christie has declared a state of emergency. in preparation for hurricane
joaquin. and donald trump declared a state of emergency as soon as he heard the name joaquin. [ laughter ] where? is he here? shut the doors. [ laughter ] trump said in an interview this week he that he thinks it's important to be unpredictable. and then when asked why, he kicked the interviewer right in the nuts. [ laughter ] bernie sanders passed $1 million in online donations to his campaign yesterday, five months faster than president obama's 2008 campaign. sanders thanked online donors with an all-caps e-mail written entirely in the subject line. [ laughter ] today is world vegetarian day. so if you're a vegetarian, we know. [ cheers and applause ] you told us already.
congratulations. new york city is getting its first chick-fil-a restaurant this week. [ cheers and applause ] so if you love southern-style chicken, and you hate gay people -- then you probably just met with the pope. [ laughter ] yeah. all you people who cheered about the chicken -- having second thoughts, right? about your delicious chicken. it was new york. there was nowhere to get chicken before. [ laughter ] a new app is launched called "people" which will allow users to give zero to five-star ratings of their friends and acquaintances. it works like this. if you join that site, you get zero stars. [ laughter ] a processing company that supplies chicken to kfc was fined this week after an employee lost two fingertips while on the job which explains their new slogan, "it's
finger-losin' good." [ laughter ] [ applause ] that would make chick-fil-a sound a little better. [ laughter ] mexico yesterday expedited alleged drug lord edgar la barbi valdez, along with 12 other cartel members. of course la barbie is a saint compared to el ken. [ laughter ] i have nothing to lose. [ laughter ] because i am already smooth down there. [ laughter ] i am el ken. oregon's recreational marijuana shops began selling to the public today. experts expected to be a big hit, followed by a bunch of coughing. [ laughter ] [ cheers and applause ] scientists at m.i.t. have
developed a new type of robotic hand that better mimics human touch by using fingers made of soft ribbed silicone that they say is better for grabbing delicate objects. reached for comment, the scientists said, "hang on, don't come in yet! we're doing sensitive research! don't come in, don't come in!" [ laughter ] turn it off, turn it off! [ laughter ] a mother was stunned earlier this week in virginia beach when she opened up the box for a newly purchased toy sword, but instead found 800 rounds of nine millimeter ammunition. but not as stunned as the hit man who opened up his box to find a toy sword. [ laughter ] frankie finger says hello. thunk, thunk, thunk. thunk, thunk, thunk, thunk. [ laughter ] thunk, thunk, thunk. and finally to celebrate his 40th anniversary of its first store in europe, spanish burger
king stores have introduced limited edition whopper wine. [ laughter ] they're calling it whopper wine, because after four glasses of it, you'll start saying "have it your way!" [ applause ] "you know best." [ laughter ] we have a great show for you tonight! from the new film "freeheld," our friend ellen page is back with us this evening. the wonderful ellen page. [ applause ] also, he's the star of abc's new television show, "dr. ken," ken jeong is joining us. the very funny ken jeong. [ cheers and applause ] and i'm so excited about this. he is one of my favorite authors of all-time, junot diaz is stopping by. [ cheers and applause ] i cannot wait. i'm so happy he's here. hillary clinton has been sliding in the polls recently with bernie sanders gaining on her and talk of other candidates potentially getting into the race. so if hillary has been watching the news the last couple weeks, this is what she has heard. >> are hillary clinton
supporters now in panic mode. >> if you google the words tonight hillary clinton and panic, you'll have plenty of reading to do. >> it's near panic for a lot of democrats. >> is there some sort of panic mode setting in, into the hillary clinton campaign? >> is that a world where there is such panic and there is such chaos that things crumble for hillary clinton? become the favorite candidate of the demo-panic party. [ applause ] the demo-panic party. in a recent nbc poll just 39% of americans said they viewed hillary positively. compared it to 47% who viewed her negatively. so what's causing the slide in well two things. first, her use of a private e-mail account while secretary of state. yesterday the state department released another 6,000 pages of hillary's e- mails and some of them are damning. not because they contain any evidence of wrong-doing but because they make hillary look incredibly uncool. take, for example, this e-mail
in which hillary says of a congresswoman who recently announced her retirement, quote, "i would like to call her but right now i'm fighting with the white house operator who doesn't believe i am who i say i am." [ laughter ] [ applause ] that's either a white house operator who is bad at their job or someone playing an incredibly good prank. [ laughter ] [ cheers and applause ] [ obama voice ] you've reached the white house. you say your name is hillary clinton? uh, prove it. [ laughter ] and then there's this e-mail in which hillary goes full parent on facebook mode and asks an aide, "by the way, what does fubar mean?" to which the aide responds, "fubar is unprintable uncivil e-mail." [ light laughter ] but while we still don't know how clinton ever emailed classified information, it's nice to know her staff knew never email the words [ bleep ] up beyond all recognition. [ laughter ] so the emails haven't helped hillary but it's not the only thing hurting her in the polls.
republicans have also been investigating hillary's role in the aftermath in the 2012 benghazi attack, in was is now become the longest special congressional investigation in history, surpassing the 1970s watergate investigation, as well as the 2000 investigation that failed to answer the question, "who let the dogs out?" [ laughter ] maybe you can clear this up for me, you said when you went to bed the door was locked -- but no please let me finish. but in the morning, you woke up and the dogs were just -- gone? [ laughter ] my question to you is, who let the dogs out? [ laughter ] who? who? [ laughter ] who? [ laughter ] despite the lengthy benghazi investigation, republicans have yet to uncover any evidence of wrongdoing on hillary's part, and most observers have suspected that the investigation is just an attempt to torpedo
hillary's standing in the polls. but it's not like any high-ranking republicans say house republican majority leader kevin mccarthy would ever come out and admit to that. >> everybody thought hillary clinton was unbeatable right? but we put together a benghazi special committee, a select committee. what are her numbers today? her numbers are dropping. why? because she's untrustable. but no one would have known any of that had happened had we -- >> i agree. >> seth: i don't think you were your plan. haven't you seen a james bond movie? the minute you start talking about the plan, he gets away. now many republicans are criticizing mccarthy for his comments, which isn't good timing for him, since he's angling to replace john boehner as speaker of the house. mccarthy? well, according to an article in today's "new york times," kevin mccarthy has built a loyal following among house republicans by calling them up just to gab and giving them special jackets when they joined
his vote- whipping team. i'm sorry, special jackets? i find it hard to believe you could win loyalty from members of congress just by giving them free jackets. in fact, just read this quote from the same article by former congressman tim griffin. "no one will outwork him. he comes to districts. he was accessible and available. then there were the little things, like jackets for our whip team. those kind of details are not lost on members." whip team jackets? is this congress or the pink ladies? [ laughter ] despite mccarthy's comments, republicans have defended the benghazi investigation, saying they're not a partisan attack on hillary, but merely an attempt to get at the truth. although if that's true, how do you explain these comments from democratic congressman, adam schiff? >> they have not worked with democrats at all. without telling us. they have interviewed several witnesses. they didn't tell us they were going to interview them. they didn't invite us to participate. >> seth: so they have been holding meetings and just not inviting democrats. because you think they're
this isn't high school. oh, wait, it is. [ laughter ] they have special jackets. it's [ bleep ] high school. [ light laughter ] now back to hillary. whether it's the e-mails or benghazi, she has been hurting in the polls, which is not only seen bernie sanders closing in, but is also opened up the possibility of joe biden entering the race. the biden talk got more serious this week when cnn announced that they would allow joe biden to participate in their democratic debate on october 13th even if he doesn't declare his candidacy until the day of the debate and i for one am pulling for that for no other reason than i assume joe biden would enter a debate at the last minute the same way cramer enters the door on "seinfeld." [ laughter ] [ cheers and applause ] worst of all, the hillary panic has a side effect that isn't good for anyone. it's making hillary try to show people she's fun. here she is at a campaign stop last week dancing with
[ laughter ] >> seth: now that is fubar. [ laughter ] but if it's true the republicans this last year- and-a-half and cost millions of dollars just to hurt hillary in the polls, that is even more fubar. this has been demo-panic party. "late night." [ cheers and applause ] 130 yards now... bill's got a very tough lie here... looks like we have some sort of sea monster in the water hazard here. i believe that's a "kraken", bruce. it looks like he's going to go with a nine iron. that may not be enough club... well he's definitely going to lose a stroke on this hole. if you're a golf commentator, you whisper. it's what you do. if you want to save fifteen percent or more on car insurance, you switch to geico. it's what you do.
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[ cheers and applause ] >> seth: welcome back to "late night" and please join me in giving it up for the 8g band. thank you guys for being here each and every night. [ cheers and applause ] now, often times, i will tell a story on this show, oftentimes it will be a story about my wife and i and what happened with some of the executives here at nbc. well, they think these stories aren't as exciting as they could be. so, in order to get some extra showmanship, nbc has hired a hypeman to make my stories more exciting. [ laughter ] so, please welcome out scoot. [ cheers and applause ] >> yo, yo, yo, it's scoot. >> seth: well, thank you for being here, scoot! >> nbc for life! >> seth: so, i guess, the way it
works, is i just tell my story. >> are y'all ready to hear the back-ular, face smack- ular story of all-time? [ cheers and applause ] >> i said are y'all ready to hear the most whole hearted-est, quick started- est, who farted-est tale ever told? [ cheers ] ay, yo, seth, bust these fools eardrums with the dopest story of all time. >> seth: i would say everyone's eardrums are safe. [ horn ] >> woooo! >> seth: maybe not that safe. so here's my story. so, my wife and i were about to buy some antiques. >> old school. >> seth: my wife saw a credenza online, that she thought would look good in the foyer. >> foyer all day! >> seth: it was at an antique wanted to make sure the color was right, so we decided to go on a road trip.
>> ride or die. [ laughter ] >> seth: no, it was just ride. [ honking ] >> seth: okay so, is the place is an hour and a half away and at first i wasn't excited about this trip. >> trips are a gyp. >> seth: but then, you know, i kind of got into it. >> you just flipped the trip script. >> seth: because, as we were driving we got to spend time with each other. >> quality time, girl. >> seth: you know, we listened to our favorite songs. >> sheryl crow pandora! [ laughter ] >> seth: and we got to see beautiful upstate new york. you know i'm talking, foliage, the green grass and the farms. >> farms? hit it, deejay emoji. old macdonald had a farm >> cows mother heifer! [ laughter ] >> seth: so we get there and we ask the guy, "do you have that blue credenza we saw online?" and he says, "do you mean that hutch?" >> i've got 99 problems, but a hutch ain't one. [ moo ] [ light laught ] >> seth: and i said, no, i mean the credenza. >> bitch. >> seth: i didn't say bitch.
[ laughter ] then i looked at my wife to back me up, and she says to me it actually looks like a sideboard. >> oh snap! >> seth: i said, "it's a credenza." look, it opens like a cabinet, it's table height, it has very short legs. >> sounds like a buffet to me. buffet. >> seth: credenza. so they wanted $75 for it but i got them down to $70. [ cash register sound ] >> bitch better have my money! who buffet y'all think this is? >> seth: credenza. ready to go. >> uh-oh. >> seth: we carry the credenza out to the car -- >> what's gonna happen y'all? >> seth: and it will not fit in the trunk. >> oh-oh! too much junk in the trunk! hit it! junk in the trunk! credenza. [ light laughter ] [ applause ] >> seth: anyway. the point of the story is, they had to deliver it, so we drove all that way for nothing. >> that's it?
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[ cheers and applause ] >> seth: welcome back, everybody. our first guest is an academy award nominated actress you know from movies like "juno," and "x-men: days of future past." she stars in the new movie "freeheld" which is in theaters tomorrow. let's take a look. >> you drove all the way out here to play volleyball and you don't even like it? >> every now and then i think you should go out and try and meet someone. >> yeah. >> they don't have girls in jersey? >> it's not that. it's people know me back home.
privacy. i should go. >> okay. can i have your number? >> seth: please welcome back to the show ellen page. [ cheers and applause ] >> seth: welcome back. >> thanks. >> seth: very nice to see you again. >> thank you for having me. >> seth: so, i'm so excited about this movie. this is based, just so everyone knows, it's based on a true life story about a lesbian couple, one of whom gets diagnosed with cancer and it's about their fight to retain pension benefits for the other half of the couple. >> uh-huh. >> seth: what drew you into doing this movie in the first place? tell me the story. >> sure. at first it was brought to me when i was 21 by michael shamberg and stacy sher, producers on the project. and they sent me the documentary. the documentary that cynthia wade made that won an oscar for best short subject doc
in 2008. it's incredible and you should see it. and i was just so blown away, you know. i was crying, and so moved, and i said yes immediately. and feel so, so, so grateful to be a part of telling their story. >> seth: stacy is who you play. >> i play stacy. >> seth: and she is still in new jersey. and did you get a chance to meet her and talk to her during this filming, and beforehand? >> i did. yeah, she is extraordinary to us, to me, to julie ann, to ron nyswaner who wrote the beautiful screenplay. and was so available to us, so generous and vulnerable. because as you can imagine, it's incredibly emotional for her to talk about a lot of this experience. so yeah, she is one of the more inspiring people that one could ever meet. >> seth: was she happy that you were playing her? >> um, yeah. >> seth: when you walked in, was she like, "oh," or was she like, "yes!" [ laughter ] >> no, she was always so sweet and so supportive. and what i cared the most about
and that all i wanted to do was tell the story as truthfully and as honestly and authentically as possible. >> seth: and you've said your involvement of this project helped you to come out. was that something you discovered during the research for it, or during the filming? >> yeah, it was a long process. so when it came to me when i was 21. i was a very closeted person, shall we say. and i would say the development of the film did correlate and really parallel my own journey. and, of course, it's a lot of different things and factors. but, it's people like laurel and stacy who do something so important and so crucial and in a time of unimaginable difficulty. inspires you to do the right thing for yourself and, you visible person for the community. so, which i feel grateful to be. >> seth: it's wonderful that you did that. it's wonderful you made this film. and i would imagine it's wonderful to get to hang out with julianne moore.
person on earth. >> julianne moore might just be the coolest person on earth. >> seth: if there was a fantasy draft for person in show business you wish would be your best friend -- >> yeah. [ laughter ] >> seth: i think everybody would high. >> and you know what? you know what, they should. >> seth: yeah, okay, good. you're verifying that would be a good pick. special, generous, deeply kind people you could meet. i feel really, really grateful to know her and to have worked with her. >> seth: stacy was a mechanic. so you did mechanic research. >> i did. >> seth: and i very much enjoyed that i got this, so this is you. this is in full mechanic mode. did you actually go, because here is you in an upcoming movie where you doing like, flying around. [ laughter ] that's "tallulah"? >> this is for a film i did called "tallulah" this summer. >> seth: okay. >> and that's, yes. >> seth: where you play a flying mechanic? am i getting this right, or am i mixing them up? [ laughter ] >> we should write a movie together. no, that's for a dream sequence. >> seth: okay, and this though, did you actually, how much more do you know about being a mechanic now than when you started this movie? >> oh, please, absolutely nothing. >> seth: okay, got ya. [ laughter ] >> i'm very horrible at all things in relation to building, fixing.
i have no skills. >> seth: uh-huh. >> whatsoever. but this was awesome, because i did, there's a scene in the film where i rotate tires. >> seth: okay. >> and so i would go in, and just over and over and over again. and i'm sure to anyone who does it i look like a complete and utter moron. >> seth: right. >> you hope for the general population that it seems, that it passes. >> seth: right. that you managed to rotate it that people are like well, i guess that's, that's how it would go. [ laughter ] >> and i could carry a tire comfortably which i felt proud of. >> seth: that's good. >> because i'm short, you know. i'm 5'6." >> seth: you're 5'6" and tires are like, 5'8." i'm getting this right, right? i don't know much about tires. [ laughter ] >> i know i look tiny, i'm really 5'6", guys. it's just the camera -- >> seth: yeah, it's weird. >> plays tricks. >> seth: we, my wife and i got a flat, and i remember her saying, "do you know what to do?" and i said, "yes," and i took out my phone and called somebody. [ laughter ] >> yeah. >> seth: these hands never did anything. [ applause ] this is very exciting and
congratulations. it's hrc, human rights -- sorry. >> that's okay. >> seth: and you're receiving the national vanguard award exciting. >> yeah. >> seth: do you have to give a >> uh-huh. >> seth: you do. >> yeah. >> seth: this is such an honor to receive an award like this. and, are you nervous about giving a speech? >> um, yeah. i mean, i tend to, i think more comfortable in those situations. i mean, i can pretend that i'm more comfortable. but, no i definitely get nervous. it's a complete honor. i feel incredibly humbled. they're an incredible organization who are exactly responsible, just like, you know, many, many activists who've created a world and society where i can be out and live my life. and that's something to not take for granted. so i feel very, very fortunate, yes. >> seth: i think, you strike me as very humble and honored which is why i think you should blow everybody's mind and make a real dick head speech. >> yeah, i'm just gonna -- [ laughter ] >> seth: i think, i think you should take the mic and say a
[ laughter ] and i'd just find someone in the front row you've never met and go, you know who you are. and just look at them. >> and just for a while. >> seth: just for a long time. >> just stare at them for a while. >> seth: and so that afterward, people will go up to them and go what did you do to ellen page? >> seth, i'm liking it. >> seth: okay, good. >> making a call right now. >> seth: okay great. absolutely, you can use this. this goes to everyone. >> i don't have my phone, okay cool. [ laughter ] >> seth: thank you so much for being back on the show. >> thanks for having me. >> seth: and congratulations for everything. [ cheers and applause ] >> seth: i cant wait to see the film. ellen page, everybody. "freeheld" is in theaters tomorrow. we'll be right back with ken jeong. the moment's arrived. the best iphone ever is here. and you're all like... and then you remember there's verizon. which is great, because if you're going to get the best iphone wouldn't you want to have the best network? kinda makes you want to jump for joy. tell all your friends and family. even throw a party. get up to $400 when you switch to verizon and trade up to the iphone 6s. and now you can upgrade to a new iphone
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[ cheers and applause ] >> seth: welcome back, everybody! you know our next guest tonight from his work on the show "community" and films such as "the hangover" and "knocked up." sitcom, "dr. ken" which premiers let's take a look. >> you filed a patient complaint >> i thought perhaps you could use some help with how you treat people. >> i know how to deal with patients. >> i'm not talking about your bedside manner. i'm talking about your friendside manner. and i did not know that you were going to have to go to some seminar or about the whole four strikes thing. >> it's three strikes! >> i'm not a baseball guy. >> it's three strikes! you don't have to be a baseball guy! >> i was home schooled! >> where, outer space? >> no, cooperstown, new york! >> cooperstown, new york! home of the baseball hall of fame. [ laughter ] >> seth: please welcome to the show, ken jeong.
>> whatever to hack it up. >> seth: you do a great job. they like everything. >> they like all the hackery. show. this is very exciting. >> thank you. fact that you are a doctor in real life. >> yes, sir, i was a doctor at an hmo in california for seven years. and everything before -- before i was an actor -- it's such a full-circle moment. everything is coming back. >> seth: there's a combination of all things. and also this show is based on your family, as well. you have twin girls? >> yes. yeah, alexa and -- i forgot. zoe. [ laughter ] >> seth: yeah. and your wife, obviously -- you have a wife. >> tran, yeah. [ laughter ] >> seth: there you go. and now, do you have to run -- since this is based on you it's your name, "dr. ken." everyone is going to know, your wife on the show is obviously drawn -- did you have to run it by her before you use stuff? >> i actually do. if anything, the stuff i bump on
as a writer is stuff i'm more afraid to reveal, either in our marriage or in our work. my wife is so laid back, she's really cool with a lot of things. she let me be naked in "the hangover" for -- sake. [ laughter ] >> seth: that's true, yeah. everything is up from there. >> everything is literally up from there. [ laughter ] >> seth: and what about your daughters? at eight, can they process their dad is on television playing a version of himself? is that something they can process at eight? >> yeah, alexa she would definitely say it's weird to have like a famous actor as a father. and i told her, "well, i know. it's a lot to live up to." she said, "no, i didn't say a good actor." [ laughter ] yeah. >> seth: you address this in the show, that when you were a doctor, people would diagnose themselves via the internet. >> yes. >> seth: they would go online. do you have anything to say about this, any advice to anybody watching who might do that? >> you know, as a former doctor, i mean, of course you go online to get a lot of information. i do think the national institutes of health, like, nih.gov, they give you the
most complete explanation of symptoms and disease. anything, like .gov, .edu, that's, like associated with a medical school, is golden. don't go to a .com or, like, you know, howmuchdoyoubelch.blogspot or whatever. don't do that. but i think something like, that's reputable, like .gov. >> seth: okay, got ya. stay away from something.com. >> exactly. exactly. >> seth: and now you actually have to renew your medical license every two years. and you still do that. >> yeah, it basically involves me watching lectures and, like, $2,500. [ laughter ] >> seth: well, that sounds like a scam. >> medicine, boom. not a scam. [ laughter ] >> seth: do you -- do you have friends try to scam you for free medical advice? when you're onset and someone is ill, knowing you were a doctor, do people hit you up for medical advice? >> all of the time. every single movie, every single show i've ever done. my favorite one was being on the set of "hangover 2" in bangkok
bradley and i'm saying all these horrible politically incorrect things in front of a seedy strip joint in bangkok and i'm like, "stupid." literally ed gives me a phone, and i'm like, "stupid -- hi, is this chris? oh, my gosh. yep, food poisoning? oh, god. oh, you should go to an e.r. really quick." [ laughter ] any other quinolone antibiotics?" and it was a hush over the room. me as mr. chow almost naked with everyone looking -- that is way more jarring than anything i've done in "the hangover." i had to go back into the accent to normalize it, you know? i was like, "ha-ha-ha, stupid." [ laughter ] [ cheers and applause ] >> seth: i was so happy 'cause margaret cho -- the wonderful margaret cho plays your sister on the show. >> yes. >> seth: and in a weird way, she provided you one of your early breaks. she performed at duke. you went to duke undergrad? >> yeah, i had just started
and when i was at duke, at the asian student association, booked her to be the headliner at duke, and them knowing i did stand up comedy, they asked me to do the warm-up. and it was so surreal having her on the show as my sister now. and she really is the pioneer for asian americans in entertainment. i think every asian american in entertainment, in show business, especially in comedy, owes a debt of gratitude to her. she's amazing, so -- she's a wonderful friend. >> seth: that's wonderful. it's such a nice way to bring it to full-circle to have her on the show. that's great. >> yeah, everything about it has been full-circle. >> seth: you went to duke undergrad. you went to unc for medical school. >> yes. >> seth: those schools hate each other. >> right. >> seth: what do you do? who do you support? >> i don't care, duke. i'm just going to say it. you've got to stay loyal to your undergrad colors. >> seth: that's the one you're most passionate about it as well. by the time you're a medical student, you don't want to be painting the letters on your chest. >> yeah, it would be really weird to see someone in urology just going, "go devils man!" total thing and then literally
evaluating your prostate. you don't want to see that. [ laughter ] >> seth: that's very much the chow to doctor transition. >> yeah, that's the chow to doctor that you never cross that lane. >> seth: at what age were you running a karaoke night? when is this in your career? school i'm guessing. research year in medical school -- >> seth: so you want to be a doctor, but you're running a karaoke night? >> i figured it would be a good abc pitch. you know that would be good pitch for the a network, like, "karaoke doctor." you know, or something like that. [ laughter ] but, no i really think -- i took a year of research in new orleans, and at tulane medical school. affiliated with north carolina. i had my weekends off. it was great. so just out of boredom, i decided to, like, apply for a job emceeing the "cat's meow" on bourbon street. >> seth: so bourbon street, known for the biggest drinking street in america, was there a rowdy karaoke crowd? >> no, it was like my hours were from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. >> seth: oh, no. [ laughter ]
>> it was like -- it was like, basically tourists and greg the drunk. i don't know. [ laughter ] >> seth: and as running the karaoke room, did it come upon you to do some karaoke performances? >> yes. >> seth: what are your go-tos? >> yeah, i had "knockin' on heaven's door," the actual rose version. >> seth: okay, got you. yeah. sure, sure. [ talking over each other ] >> and then everything is movement-based in oke, karaoke. >> seth: thank you. >> and then - "word up," cameo. >> seth: that's a good one. what was the motion on "word up"? >> the motion on "word up," honestly, was just pointing up. [ laughter ] you've got to keep it simple. >> seth: letting people know. >> letting people know, these words are going up. [ laughter ] very simple, i'm not trying to be preachy. i'm a doctor. i'm smarter than you guys, but trying to keep it down. simple. [ applause ] >> seth: it seems like you're good at so many things. >> so many things. oke, hackie movements. >> seth: congratulations.
i'm so excited for the show. thank you so much for being here. ken jeong, everybody. check out "dr. ken" friday night on abc. we'll be right back with junot diaz. [ cheers and applause ] what will you be able to see in a jeep renegade? running wild and running free everything. and i said hey, hey hey hey living like we're renegades an available 2.4-liter multi air engine that gets up to 31 miles per gallon highway... the available one-of-a-kind my sky roof system... and a cabin that just won one of ward's "10 best interiors." the all-new jeep renegade. take off.... and take on anything. see, we've completely remodeled the kitchen. cozy. let's go check out the pantry! it's our dunkin' dream room. amazing. delicious dunkin' donuts coffee. pick some up where you buy groceries. try our k-cup pods today. america runs on dunkin'. we're all familiar with this, axe daily fragrances. but what you wouldn't
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[ cheers and applause ] "late night," everybody. our next guest is a pulitzer prize winning author who was written best sellers like "the brief wondrous life of oscar wao" and "this is how you lose her." this weekend, he will be appearing at the "new yorker festival." please welcome to the show, junot diaz. [ cheers and applause ] >> seth: i am so honored to have you here. i'm so happy about this. >> oh, thank you for having me. >> seth: so this week -- i have to ask.
this week they announce the "macarthur fellows" -- the "genius grant", as it's known. you won this in 2012. you've won a pulitzer. you have said, though, this would -- i mean, if i told my parents that, they would be very impressed. this was not that impressive to your mother. >> no. i mean -- [ laughter ] no. you've got to understand. it's hard to translate cultural capital to people. my mother -- my mother is like a very kind of, you know, down, salt of the earth, dominican woman, and i was at her house when they called me up to tell me i had won a pulitzer and i was like, "oh, [ bleep ]! this is great." and she was like, "oh, what are you getting excited about?" in spanish. and i said, "oh, i won a pulitzer prize." and she didn't know what it was. and the first question was, like, "how much money is that?" [ laughter ] and practical immigrant. and so i had to look it up and it was, like, $10,000. and she was like, "you made more on your paper route." [ laughter ] and i was like, "oh, man." she was very disappointed. very disappointed. >> seth: yeah, but still. that's -- your mother -- some
mothers are hard to please. it makes you work harder. >> yeah, i think. i guess. >> seth: here's my question, though. because those are such accomplishments. after you win a pulitzer, the next time you go to sit down to write, does it push you to write more or does it make you want to write less and say, "you know what, i won a pulitzer. 'f' this." [ laughter ] >> i mean, i barely write. i'm, like, the slowest writer there is. i am. i'm, like, the slowest writer i know. and i guess there is, like, a whole line of people inside of me putting a ton of pressure. it's like i've got -- it's like that airplane movie. there's a line of people with baseball bats and chains looking to oppress me. so the pulitzer prize is like all the way at the back. i've got -- they've got to wait to get through my dad, my mom, all that stuff. [ laughter ] so i haven't felt it yet. but when it comes, it's probably going to break my skull open. >> seth: all right. well, that's good. i hope it gets there soon. you need the pulitzer to show and say, "hey, remember me?"
>> you used to be good. >> seth: you're still great. and i'm so happy about this. and you teach creative writing. you teach at m.i.t. that is not a place you would think of writing. why did you choose m.i.t. as a place to teach? >> oh. i guess -- i mean, part of it is, like -- i just like nerds. i'm like a big nerd, so it's like you're guaranteed to get a lot of nerds there. [ laughter ] and i love them to death, man. i really do. i really do. and i have a high tolerance for being the poorest person anywhere. and m.i.t. faculty, if you're teaching creative writing, all of the other folks, a lot of them run labs. they've got a ton of patents. when our cars pull up, you go to the parking lots and you see these people with antique jaguars, and my [ bleep ] is all tore up. i don't know, i can put up with. and i love the kids, man. >> seth: that's great. >> convincing science, technology, engineering kids that art is important is a battle i like to fight.
the nice ways you approached that battle --i've read that you make your students watch "star wars: a new hope" and read "lord of the rings" before class starts, which, for nerds -- >> i do. >> seth: they must think, "we are in the best possible class." [ laughter and applause ] what is behind that decision? >> you would be amazed, though, because i'm 47, and the majority of kids have not watched any of this. they're on "harry potter." they were just like, "i grew up with that. that's my [ bleep ]." >> seth: they're done with "star wars?" >> yeah, man. i think it's kind of important -- and i thought those texts are kind of like the foundational myths that things like "harry potter" are already based on. so i kind of just wanted to start there for them. and i know the majority of them haven't seen it. and they're so stressed out, if i don't tell them to watch this beforehand, they ain't going to do it. >> seth: right. [ laughter ] so because they're m.i.t. kids, they will watch "star wars" if you tell them to watch "star wars." >> especially if i'm like, "i'll fail your ass." they're like, "oh, i'm in." [ laughter ] they're very worried about their grades.
>> seth: i would love to in college come home to my girlfriend and say, "sorry, i got homework. i've got to watch 'star wars.'" [ laughter ] >> i thought so, a lot of them take it super serious. they're like, "ah, man. professor, i wrote the notes down." i'm like, "yo, i wanted you to watch it, man." [ laughter ] >> seth: i know what happens. i know what happens in "star wars." [ laughter ] you've also spoken about when you assign texts, the importance of assigning works by diverse authors, but also that when you teach books by white authors, in that. can you explain the importance to a classroom of having authors from diverse backgrounds? >> well, yeah, look, you look at this country and you look at this world, and you need to understand it in complex ways. and part of that complexity, is of course questions of gender. if you don't want to deal and relate and think about what it means to be a woman in this planet, you're going to have serious problems. the same with dealing with questions of ethnicity and race.
so when i'm teaching my kids stuff, i'll be like "look, we're going to read 'dracula.'" most kids are thinking, "well, that's the whitest book ever." talk about dead white men triplicate. but in "dracula," you realize all the british people in "dracula," they look at "dracula" as a racial other. they think of him as a completely separate race, and it's easy to forget that, movies and dracula is a white dude with teeth. but in the book, that wasn't the way that he was being viewed. and opening that door to the students, being able to show them that even in texts you would think of as absolutely vanilla, lily white, this dynamic is present, reminds them what we call "our world" hasn't ever been any simpler. there has always been these questions and that's good for kids to know. >> seth: it is good for kids to know. >> i wonder. i wonder. because you're -- you're
dominican, grew up in new jersey. you love comic books. oscar wilde was all those things. your narrator character that's sort of woven through all your work, also very -- i think a lot of people want to make it autobiographical to you. is it weird how often people say, "which one of these characters is you?" because neither of them -- none of them have been you? >> yeah. i mean, i kind of gave the characters my dorm room. [ laughter ] yeah, i lived in this dorm, and it's the same dorm i gave my characters, and so a lot of my friends are like, "ah, the furniture show is up." so people in my family are always like, "who are these people you write about?" you know, and i just think it's common for people to read a book. let's say you read a book, you actually get through it, and you actually get through it, and you actually like it. you feel authentic things about this book. this book has moved you. this book has touched you. and so of course when you feel real things you look at this book, and you want to say, "there is something about this book that is real."
you don't want the person to tell you, "well, this book that made you feel these real things is actually a complete lie." and i think it's no accident that people wish to imagine the things are real. >> seth: sure. >> and i'm such a damn nerd, they're like, "you must be the fat dude." [ laughter ] i'm like, "no." in this case i wasn't. >> seth: well, i have to tell you, all -- i'm just happy that you're a writer and that i've been able to read your books, because they mean the world to me. and it means the world to me you're here tonight. thank you so much for being here. >> thank you so much, man. [ cheers and applause ] >> seth: junot diaz, everybody. see him saturday at the "new yorker festival."
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