tv Late Night With Seth Meyers NBC March 6, 2018 12:37am-1:38am PST
[ cheers and applause ] ♪ >> announcer: from 30 rockefeller plaza in new york, it's "late night with seth meyers." tonight -- nathan lane, star of "hap and leonard: the two bear mambo," actor michael k. williams, author brad meltzer, featuring the 8g band with zach danziger. ♪ [ 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 ] that is great to hear. in that case, let's get to the news. according to "the new york times," following news that china's president xi jinping is now president for life, president trump jokingly told donors this weekend, "maybe we'll give that a shot someday." [ light laughter ]
that's great, but first, why not try being president for a full week? [ light laughter ] according to sources, white house chief of staff john kelly is frustrated with ivanka trump and jared kushner, and questions what they do during the day. i'm going to say nothing and homework? [ laughter ] president trump said today that he's not backing down on his decision to impose tariffs on steel and aluminum imports. adding that the u.s. has been ripped off by virtually every country in the world. for example, wakanda. "turns out they've been hoarding vibranium for years." [ laughter ] according to "the new york times", a belarusian escort is claiming that she has audio recordings that prove russian meddling in the u.s. elections. "i've never even met anastasia," yelled trump, before anyone said her name. [ laughter ]
[ applause ] "well, she looks -- she looks like an anastasia. it was a wild guess." [ light laughter ] west virginia public school teachers have been on strike for eight days now. or as west virginia students will soon think of it -- this many. [ laughter ] former alabama senate candidate roy moore is seeking donations to fight a defamation lawsuit by one of the women accusing him of sexual misconduct. as usual, he's looking for just under 18. [ audience oohs ] [ cheers and applause ] a source recently told bloomberg that he hasn't seen president trump eat a cheeseburger in two weeks. he's not eating them less, just much, much faster. [ laughter ] "are you eating cheeseburgers?" "no." [ laughter ] and finally, a new study has
found that when romantic partners hold hands while in pain, their brain waves can sync and decrease that pain. "nah, i'm good," said melania. [ laughter ] ladies and gentlemen, we have a fantastic show for you tonight. [ cheers and applause ] he is starring in the upcoming broadway production of "angels in america", nathan lane, everybody. [ cheers and applause ] from "hap and leonard: the two bear mambo" on sundance tv, one of our favorites, michael k. williams is back on the show tonight. [ cheers and applause ] and his new book, "the escape artist" is out tuesday. brad meltzer is here. [ cheers and applause ] so you're here on a wonderful night. before we get to that, as the trump white house remains paralyzed by its own chaos, people across the country are taking to the streets to demand change, including thousands of striking teachers in west virginia. for more on this, it's time for "a closer look." ♪ [ cheers and applause ] >> seth: donald trump seems to
be the ever-present focus of our national political conversation, and to be fair, it's hard to take your eyes off him. it's like when someone starts yelling in a starbucks. you're like, "oh, this is going to make a great anecdote, as long as he doesn't kill us all." [ laughter ] but, the trump era also seems to have sparked a larger political awakening across the country that goes beyond the daily drama of the trump white house. we've seen that in the women's marches, the upcoming march for our lives against gun violence, and a march in washington today to support dreamers. and we're also seeing the kind of mass action in an unprecedented teacher strike in one of the most conservative states in the country, west virginia. >> west virginia schoolteachers entering the eighth day of their strike. they want a 5% raise and better benefits. nearly 277,000 students forced to stay home as a newly formed committee tries to settle the impasse. >> let me show you the scene here first. there are some 20,000 teachers who are on strike. and it feels like all of them are here at the state capitol. ♪ we're not gonna take it
no we ain't gonna take it we're not gonna take it anymore ♪ >> seth: you can tell they're teachers, because that's the last new song they heard. [ light laughter ] "i can't listen to the radio, i have to grade papers until 1:00 a.m." and i know they're striking for better pay and health insurance, but they could also save the school money for a prom band. "we booked a musical act." "who is it?" "mrs. ferguson. [ light laughter ] she's coming in full dee snider makeup." [ light laughter ] if there's one take away from the last few weeks of politics it's this -- don't [ bleep ] with teachers. they make no money, they get up at 6:00 a.m. to drive their 15-year-old cars to a cruddy building knee deep in teenage hormones. you cannot scare them. [ laughter ] the part of them that was capable of fear was burned away years ago by terrible teachers' lounge coffee. all they want is health care, a livable wage and just once a class that doesn't laugh the first time they hear the word "uranus." [ laughter ] "guys, it's not funny. it's a planet.
and, drew, stop telling kevin to go to hell on your calculator. [ laughter ] oh, oh really, drew? you got 7,734,206 by accident, drew? just do the equation again. drew!" [ laughter ] and west virginia teachers are striking in part because they make among the lowest salaries in the country, ranking 48th out of 50 states. basically, all the teachers want are raises to cover cost of living increases and health care they can afford. and they made those demands very clear to west virginia's governor jim justice, who despite his name, is not a gay porn star -- [ light laughter ] but a coal magnate. you may know justice as the governor who announced that he was switching from democrat to republican at a rally with trump last year. justice bragged to his friendship with trump and also cited trump's family as a reason for the switch. >> what an incredible honor. and thank you for coming and thank our great president for being here. this man is a reflection of his
kids' children. eric trump has been under my vehicle in the back of the woods changing a tire. >> seth: what? [ laughter ] what was eric trump doing in the woods? [ light laughter ] is that where his dad dropped him off? "go on, boy, you're free now. run. [ laughter ] don't follow the car." now, last week, west virginia officials thought they might have resolved the strike when justice agreed to a 5% raise after initially opposing it. and at the time, he attributed his change of heart to a sixth grader. >> as thousands of west virginia teachers raised their voices, it was a 12-year-old's message who stood out to the governor. >> gideon titus-glover, whose mom is a teacher, he asked why funds were being spent on tourism. the governor talked about return on investments. >> you put money in schools, you're making smart people. and if you have smart people, you can make more smart investments. >> i agree. well, he's right. [ light laughter ]
he's right. >> seth: jim justice is a real ball of fire. [ laughter ] but after that announcement, the state senate blocked the agreed upon 5% raise and on top of that they still haven't addressed the issue of health care. in fact, just to give you an idea of how dire the health care situation is for teachers in west virginia, not only did officials there announce that teachers would have to pay more for their health insurance, they also implemented a program called "go 365" that would track teachers' daily routines and increase health care premiums if they failed to meet certain goals. now after backlash, the state made the program voluntary and less intrusive, but teachers are still justifiably angry about having to earn points just to be able to afford health care. here's how one west virginia teacher put it. "you're telling me my deductible is going up, but i can do exercises to earn an amazon gift card. are you kidding me? [ bleep ] you." [ laughter ] damn. [ cheers and applause ] the last thing that teacher needs is a gun.
he's already dropping bombs. there's a lot more going on here than just a teachers' strike. what we're seeing in west virginia is a microcosm of what's happening across the country. working class people are being left behind by an economy increasingly dominated by the elite few. and they're pissed off. even in a seemingly deep red state like west virginia. and it's not just teachers who are unhappy about everything from health care, to the economy, to the opioid crisis. as one teacher put it, there's a feeling that the whole state is ready for a strike. wow. imagine if entire states could go on strike. "what do we want?" "legalized weed." "when do we want it?" "when do we want what?" [ laughter and applause ] [ laughter ] so clearly, this is not just a local issue. working class people in one of the most conservative states in the nation are demanding a livable wage, better health care. that kind of thing is happening in communities across the country.
we're seeing mass action to address everything from health care to gun violence. meanwhile, in washington, the president has neither the interest nor ability to address those demands, because of the chaos in his own administration. in fact, trump is apparently so upset about the constant turmoil in his white house, he's lashing out by starting a fight over trade with our allies without even consulting his staff. >> spoiling for a fight, any fight, the president decided to pick one on trade, announcing new tariffs against the advice of many of his top advisers and without any internal review. >> according to two officials, trump's decision to launch a potential trade war was born out of anger at other simmering issues. on wednesday evening, the president became, quote, "unglued," in the words of one official familiar with the president's state of mind. >> seth: that's right. much like his hair in a stiff breeze, trump has become unglued. [ light laughter ] so trump announced major new tariffs on steel and aluminum without consulting experts or lawyers in his own administration, all because he's upset at how his white house is melting down. and our allies immediately reacted harshly to the news. a canadian aluminum official
said trump initiated an all-out trade war. and the president of the european commission said, "this is basically a stupid process. the fact we have to do this, but we have to do it. we will now impose tariffs on motorcycles, harley-davidson, on blue jeans, levis and on bourbon." wow, they're going after blue jeans, motorcycles, and bourbon. terrible news for european step-dads. [ laughter ] [ german accent ] "well, i guess it's back to vespa and orangina for klaus." [ laughter ] now, there's no question that many american workers are hurt by the current system of global trade and the system can absolutely be fixed. but trump rolled out his ham-fisted strategy without consulting experts or allies or even getting his own team on board. in fact, the only trump cabinet official who's been out there publicly supporting this move is his commerce secretary, wilbur ross, who went on cnbc last week and tried to downplay the effect of the tariffs for american consumers using props.
>> what i would like to do, though, is to emphasize, again, the limited impact. this is a can of campbell's soup. this -- in the can of campbell's soup, there's about 2.6 cents, 2.6 pennies worth of steel. >> oh, yeah. >> here's a can of coca-cola. coca-cola has 3 cents' worth of aluminum in it. >> if you do choose to have that campbell's soup, of course, remember there's a lot of sodium in there and a lot of sugar in the coke as well. just, you know, there you go. >> well -- okay. >> very nice. [ laughter ] >> seth: now, i know you're thinking, "he's a billionaire, what does he know about soup and beer?" but wilbur ross seems like the kind of billionaire who only has soup and beer. [ laughter ] eats it at a giant long bruce wayne table. in fact, i'm not sure wilbur ross, a billionaire financier, really knows that much about how these tariffs
will affect working class people, because in that same interview, he also dismissed the impact the tariffs would have on the price of a car. >> it's the trivial effect. people talk about cars. there's about one ton of steel in a car and the price of a ton of steel is $700 or so. 25% on that would be one-half of 1% price increase on a typical $35,000 car. so it's no big deal. >> seth: no big deal? because 25% of $700 is $175, which is a big deal to a lot of people. now, i could do that math for you on a calculator, but this is probably a little easier for you to understand. [ laughter and applause ] also, every time -- every single time trump's cabinet of millionaires talks about the price of a car, they manage to sound wildly out of touch. trump economic adviser gary cohn did the same thing last year
when he was trying to sell trump's tax plan. >> if we allow a family to keep another $1,000 of their income, what does that mean? they can renovate their kitchen, they can buy -- they can buy a new car. >> seth: a thousand dollars a year is not enough to buy a new car. in fact, $1,000 a year isn't even enough to buy food, unless you're living on the wilbur ross diet. [ laughter ] so you got thousands of teachers in one of the most conservative states in the country demanding fair pay and decent health care, while the people in charge keep proving how wildly out of touch they are. what we're seeing is a national political awakening. in other words, people across the country are saying -- ♪ we're not gonna take it anymore ♪ >> seth: this has been "a closer look." ♪ [ cheers and applause ] we'll be right back with nathan lane, everybody. [ cheers and applause ] ♪ >> announcer: for more of seth's "closer looks," be sure to
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♪ [ cheers and applause ] >> seth: welcome back, everybody. please give it up for the 8g band right over there. [ cheers and applause ] this week's drummer is a chameleon in the music world and can currently be seen and heard with his innovative group, edit bunker. and be sure to check out his cover story in the march issue of "modern drummer" magazine.
zach danziger is here. thank you so much for being here, zach. [ cheers and applause ] our first guest is a tony award-winning actor who's currently starring in the broadway revival of "angels in america." please welcome back to the show, one of our favorites, nathan lane, everybody! [ cheers and applause ] ♪ >> seth: nathan, thank you for being here. thank you -- >> oh. >> seth: for spending your night off from broadway to be with us. >> it is my pleasure. you're my favorite. i'm going to say it out loud. you are my favorite talk show host. [ cheers and applause ] >> seth: that's so kind of you to say. >> and i think it's because i didn't go to college and you're like the frat bro i never had. >> seth: oh, thank you. [ laughter ] >> i look at you and think, we're gonna have fun, we're gonna do jell-o shots, we're gonna chat up some fine ladies. [ laughter ] we're going to make a night of it. >> seth: oh, my god.
>> yeah. >> seth: and we haven't done that once. [ laughter ] but now -- now i also aspire to that. >> oh, me, too. i'm sorry i was a little late. my security clearance at rockefeller center was downgraded. >> seth: oh, no! >> yes. so -- [ laughter ] technically i'm not even a guest tonight. i'm now an nbc page. >> seth: oh, no. [ laughter ] >> so i can answer your questions, but i will have to get back to my tour group. [ laughter ] and they say i'm not topical! [ light laughter ] you know, seriously, i'm beginning to worry for jared kushner. >> seth: you are? >> 'cause he's way too pretty for prison. >> seth: oh, yeah. [ laughter ] he's very handsome. very handsome. >> well, for the white house, yeah. [ laughter ] >> seth: what are you saying? are you saying there's a lower bar at the white house? >> i think so. >> seth: okay. [ laughter ] >> it starts right at the top. [ light laughter ] >> seth: i wanna -- i want to ask about the oscars. they were presented last night. did you watch -- >> yeah, don't tell me who won. >> seth: oh, you haven't watched. >> i dvr'd it. don't tell me best sound mixing. >> seth: oh, no, you -- >> i'll be very upset. [ light laughter ] >> seth: oh. >> yes. i did see it. apparently, due to the recent
controversy, no one wanted to talk to ryan seacrest. >> seth: yeah. >> which means nothing changed there. [ laughter ] when i heard that he -- a woman accused him of sexual harassment, my first thought was, "a woman?" [ laughter and applause ] boy! do i owe some people a lot of money. [ laughter ] the nice thing was the "in memoriam" segment included all the staffers let go by the trump administration. >> seth: yes, it was nice. [ light laughter ] i thought it was a very nice touch. >> and i was very happy that best animated short went to kevin hart. [ laughter ] and -- [ laughter and applause ] but everybody's favorite movie is "black panther." >> seth: yeah. >> i loved "black panther." >> seth: oh, you did? >> oh, "black panther." which, coincidentally, is the name of betty white's personal device. [ audience ohs ] [ laughter and applause ] have i -- or perhaps -- perhaps i've said too much. i read it in "parade" magazine. >> seth: it was not in "parade" magazine! [ laughter ]
>> so, look, here's the problem with the oscars. i hate to point out the obvious, but there's so many award shows -- >> seth: there are. >> by the time you get to it, it's anti-climactic. >> seth: it is. >> the week before, i saw the aarp movies for grown-ups awards. [ laughter ] the category was best performance by a leading actor with a hip replacement. [ laughter ] >> seth: oh, no. >> best supporting actor in an adult diaper. [ light laughter ] it's got to be stopped! [ applause ] >> seth: do you now -- you mentioned -- you mentioned the moment we're living in. a lot of stories -- >> yes. >> seth: have broken about the terrible behavior of men in hollywood over the years. >> yes, yes. >> seth: how do you feel about the current state of hollywood? are you feeling optimistic? >> well, no. >> seth: okay. >> no. [ laughter ] i think just everyone's just frightened right now. >> seth: yeah. >> and i hope we -- it will -- grow and become a real understanding between men and women. but recently, you know -- disney, it's happening at disney. >> seth: yeah. >> a disney executive was accused of making lewd comments to his employees. but i did some research and things at disney, sexual
harassment, it goes way back. >> seth: oh, it does? >> oh, yeah. in the old days, mickey mouse got quite handsy with minnie. [ laughter ] >> seth: oh, no. >> oh, yeah. he used to brag about sexual prowess. "i'm big. really big." [ laughter ] it was in the police report. >> seth: this was in that -- oh, you've read the police report? >> donald duck was accused of indecent exposure to daisy. >> seth: uh-huh. [ light laughter ] >> although he only wears half a sailor's suit. he's pretty much exposed to everybody. >> seth: yeah, that's true. [ laughter ] >> and saddest of all, beloved goofy -- >> seth: no! >> was once found in a los angeles hotel room with the three little pigs. [ laughter ] there was a lot of huffing and puffing going on. [ laughter ] yeah. you know, the original slogan for disneyland was, "the horniest place on earth." >> seth: no. [ laughter ] >> yeah. >> seth: they changed it, though. >> but they changed it. >> seth: they changed it. >> yeah. >> seth: that's for the best. thank goodness. >> yeah, thank goodness. >> seth: i want to shift gears, because based on everything -- >> sure. [ laughter and applause ] >> seth: well, i feel -- there you go. thank you.
let's -- because i -- >> my sinéad o'connor look. [ laughter ] this is for the play. >> seth: but this does speak -- >> yes. >> seth: it speaks to the amazing breadth you have as an actor. because this play you're doing, "angels in america", is a very serious play. you're playing roy cohn. >> yes. >> seth: who is a real person. >> the dr. frankenstein to -- >> seth: yeah. >> donald trump's monster. >> seth: yeah, he was donald trump's lawyer and mentor. >> lawyer and mentor. >> seth: and -- >> yes, he paid him to do all his dirty work. which, i know, is shocking. >> seth: yeah. >> donald trump paying someone -- [ light laughter ] >> seth: to do his dirty work. >> yeah. >> seth: how -- you played this part before in london. >> yes, seven months i was there. >> seth: seven months. so -- and how has it been so far? how has it been returning to it? >> it -- let's put it this way, i've been an actor for 43 years. this is my 21st broadway show. and i would say this is probably the greatest ensemble of actors i've ever worked with. i mean, certainly the play, you know, is a pulitzer prize-winner. it's incredibly funny and profoundly-moving piece.
and it's all centered around andrew garfield, who plays the leading character, prior walter. and he's giving a magnificent performance. and so i think if people know the play, you've never quite seen it done like this. marianne elliott is the director. she did the "war horse", "the curious incident of the dog in the nighttime." she's incredibly gifted and inspiring director. and this is -- if you think you've seen it, you haven't seen this version and it's well worth checking out. >> seth: i can't wait. >> it's a magnificent play. >> seth: it really is a magnificent play. and i really can't wait to see you doing it. i want to ask about something else that's serious -- >> yeah. >> seth: but you actually have a little history with this, as well. you know, obviously harvey weinstein came up a little bit last night. >> oh, yeah. >> seth: he's come up a fair amount, as well he should. you have -- you had had a history with him for years and you had not gotten along with him for a very long time. >> well, i'll tell you what happened to harvey weinstein. it couldn't have happened to a nicer guy. [ laughter ] i'm putting my glasses back on
for this. >> seth: yeah, yeah, please. >> harvey weinstein -- in 2000, my publicist called and said, "harvey weinstein would like you to host a fundraiser for hillary clinton." and he said, "you know, he produces a lot of movies. it wouldn't be bad to be on his good side." >> seth: sure. >> so i said, "okay." and they said, "he wants to pre-screen the jokes, because someone else hosted a fundraiser and said something offensive and he doesn't want to go through that again." i said, "okay." but i was working with some writers from letterman, actually, and who i wasn't worried and we weren't going to do anything offensive. so we never heard from him until the night of the show. and then about an hour beforehand, he came backstage and like, tony soprano, and was screaming. you know, "you got to cut this, got to cut that. i don't understand this. this sucks!" i said, "no, it's too late, i can't do that now." it's -- you know. and as we know -- >> seth: yeah. >> now, he doesn't take no for an answer easily. >> seth: yeah. [ light laughter ] >> so -- [ laughter and applause ] so things got heated.
>> seth: sure. >> and unpleasantries were exchanged. and he said, you know, "i'll get someone else to do it." i said, "fine, i think i saw regis philbin out there. [ light laughter ] see if he's available." and he started to push me into a corner and he's screaming at me and it crescendoed with, "i'll ruin you," he said. "i'll ruin you." >> seth: wow! >> and i said, "you can't hurt me, i don't have a film career." [ laughter ] so the next thing i know, i'm called up to see hillary clinton. she got out of her coffin. she said -- [ laughter and applause ] she says, "listen, you know, i apologize for harvey. but cut these jokes because it'll only -- it'll just make life easier for all of us." and i said, i gave in, and i said, okay. so we do the show. in the middle of the show, i'm supposed to introduce cher. so then they come to me and they say, "cher is stuck in traffic." now when have you last heard that? [ laughter ] when you're doing a show. cher is stuck in traffic. they said, "you're going do have to fill." so i go -- >> seth: which is a nightmare for anyone hosting anything.
>> sure. >> seth: it's the last thing you want to hear. >> you gotta fill. >> seth: yeah. >> so i went out and i said, "i'm sorry, ladies and gentlemen, cher, who was supposed to be here, had to stop to have some emergency plastic surgery. [ laughter ] so in in the meantime, i'm going to do all the jokes that harvey weinstein made me cut. [ laughter and applause ] if you find me in the hudson tomorrow, you'll know why." [ laughter ] >> seth: it is so wonderful to see you each and every time you're here. >> thank you, thank you. >> seth: give it to for nathan lane, everybody! [ cheers and applause ] "angels in america" in previews at the neil simon theater. officially opening march 25th. we'll be right back with michael k. williams. [ cheers and applause ] ♪ use degree ultraclear black + white
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>> i think this might be leonard's best one yet. >> practice makes all the difference. >> sons of bitches. get the hell out of here. that's the last of them. merry christmas, charlie. >> merry christmas, leonard. i was just telling hap, this might be your best one yet. >> yeah. thing of beauty, ain't it? >> y'all just not going to get me any medical attention? >> seth: please welcome back to the show michael k. williams, everyone. [ cheers and applause ] ♪ >> seth: so happy to have you back. >> thank you. glad to be back. >> seth: it was very exciting for us the last time you were here, which is the first time you were here. we, after the show, we have a party for our show every summer. and you were a guest that night and you came to our summer party. and it was so exciting for the "late night" staff to have you there.
>> i got to tell you, being a kid from new york city, i mean, from brooklyn, and my aunt, god bless her soul, she died of -- she used to always take me to the rockettes. you know, easter -- the easter show and the christmas show. so i always came to this area. and -- but i never got a chance to go to the roof of the building to see that view of the city. so i got up there and it was just, like, my face was glued to the glass like, i'm at the top of the world. [ laughter ] like, i guess i should go and mingle and say something. >> seth: well it was nice. thank you for mingling. and i just want you to know, it was a huge stepdown this year with no michael k. williams. [ light laughter ] so, we're going to line you up this year in advance. >> i'll be there. put in my sched. >> seth: now, we talked when you were here about omar, one of the great characters of all-time on "the wire." just truly -- [ cheers and applause ] i don't know it you saw this, but -- this was -- people put this online about the mueller investigation. >> uh-oh. >> seth: it's sort of a meme that's been floating around called "mueller coming." and this is what -- [ laughter ] mueller on omar's head. which makes sense.
because it does feel like mueller's coming. >> yeah. >> seth: the difference is that, i feel like people hid from omar and everybody in the trump administration is like, "hey, we're over here! [ laughter ] we're doing dumb stuff over here!" so, omar, again, such a crazy character. but you played it in a way that the writers started challenging you as an actor. and i guess this wasn't originally in the dna of omar, but you were given british-isms. things that were not true to what somebody maybe in baltimore would talk like. >> you know, now that i realize, that i was like, you know, nice going, dave. but, you know, we were kids when we came to that show. and i know for myself, i was -- didn't have a lot of success academically speaking. you know, didn't excel in school and all that stuff. so, you know, it was like a learning experience. you know, i came to the show very green and very immature in a lot of ways. david, like, if you give a kid opportunity to excel, they'll probably rise to the occasion. so it was kind of like that. and where else would i get a
chance to, you know to make "do tell" work in a sentence than on "the wire." [ light laughter ] >> seth: yeah. >> quote greek mythology and really have it sound gangster. >> seth: yeah. >> only "the wire." >> seth: only "the wire." yeah, that's true. "do tell" was not something that i feel like was being said a lot on the streets of baltimore. but omar said it. >> we made it work, right? >> seth: you did make it work. you did make it work. in "hap and leonard," you play leonard which is also a very -- a character with a lot of contradictions. you are a black, republican, gay, veteran. is it great when you -- >> who likes country music. >> seth: who likes country music. yeah. [ light laughter ] >> yeah, don't forget that part. >> seth: was that -- is that an exciting thing when you get into a script and you realize all these different elements of a character that you get to play? >> it's very -- it's very -- it's exciting. it's intimidating. it's challenging. you know, it's -- it's -- you know, it's out of the comfort zone of what you know, we may consider to be normal. and, you know, who -- which actor doesn't like those types of opportunities, right? >> seth: yeah. >> but, um, it was -- he's a -- leonard is a bunch of walking contradictions and he goes against the grain.
and, you know, i love -- mostly what i loved about this show is the friendship. i think that hap and leonard, they define what male friendship should look like. it shouldn't be about race or gender. if two men love each other and consider themselves to be brothers and friends and they accept each other, we shouldn't be judged for that friendship. and i think that that's the main thing i love to explore is reintroducing, or exploring what male friendship is in america. what that really looks like. >> seth: you obviously have a great partner in this which is -- [ applause ] absolutely. your co-star, who's another wonderful actor, james purefoy. >> he's okay. >> seth: he's okay. yeah, i mean, you carry him. [ laughter ] no, but he's wonderful. oh, i heard you recently saw each other off set -- >> that was actually creepy. [ light laughter ] that was -- a little invasive. but you know, what can you do, right? so we were both in l.a. two actors in l.a. that's pretty normal. even though he's from london, i'm from, you know, brooklyn.
you know? so we found ourselves in l.a. at the same time. that was pretty okay, but then the same hotel. okay, that's -- okay, wow. we're in the same hotel at the same time. but we're still in l.a., so it's still kind of okay. >> seth: yeah, it all makes sense. >> but to be like, the same -- the rooms next door to each other, that got a little creepy. >> seth: that was -- and that was -- that happened randomly? >> this happened randomly. he was there promoting a show with a good friend of mine, his co-worker joel kinnaman. they're promoting a new show on netflix. >> seth: yeah. >> and i was just there, you know looking for work. >> seth: how did you find out that you were next door to each other? >> i was in my room and i was doing something i always do. i played my music probably an octave or two too loud. right? and i had a 40-minute window before i had my first meeting. and i was like, what do i do? what have i not done today? i said, oh, i haven't spoke to my mom. so i go out on the deck because the music was too loud in the room. [ laughter ] i go to have a conversation with my mom. and he's sitting there in his room, "who the hell is playing this loud music? there's only one person that would do such a thing."
he comes out, hears the voice on the deck. and he goes, "you!" [ laughter ] like what? what are you doing here? >> seth: that's not a good way to find out your co-star is next door. >> we've always been kind of joined at the hip. you know, in a weird kind of way. you know, eight years ago, we first met on a show called "the philanthropist." we were overseas, we filmed between south africa and in prague. and, you know, the night when the votes came in when they elected -- when it was official that president obama -- obama was officially our new president, we were slumped over a black and white television in prague hugging and crying. [ light laughter ] i didn't see that man until eight years later. we were in atlanta. hugging and crying. [ laughter ] >> seth: there you go. a lot of hugging, a lot of crying. >> hugging and -- [ applause ] >> seth: i want to ask you something else. i was so happy to hear this. last time you were here, we were talking about the wonderful show "the night of." >> yes, sir. >> seth: and you said you were playing someone who's incarcerated.
and you said your nephew, dominic, who was incarcerated, was the inspiration for the part you were playing, for the character you played. you have some amazing news to tell us about dominic. >> yes, my nephew, dominic, was clemenced by our fine governor, governor cuomo. he -- you know, and it's not easy be clemenced. 20 years, seven months, and 50 days he did with a spotless and pristine record. not one incident. just a bunch of accolades from the warden on down. he came home with an -- just an amazing story to tell and an amazing heart. and he wants to, you know, he got right to work. the first thing he did when he came out, he said, you know, uncle mike, take me to the nearest dmv. i want to get my driver's license. i need my i.d. and i mean before -- i'm not hungry, i don't want to -- i want to go and get my i.d. and he immediately came to work, actually with me. he not only is my personal assistant now, but he's helping
me with my foundation, mkw, making kids win. and he's helping me lay the groundwork for that. and to work with at-risk youth like both of us, you know. i'm no angel, myself, i just never got caught. [ light laughter ] but, yeah, so he's home now. he's home. and he's, you know, he's living -- i think he's here somewhere. >> seth: ah, great. [ cheers and applause ] i hope so. well congratulations to dominic -- >> yes, yes. >> seth: and thank you to you as well. it's always such a pleasure. >> thank you brother. >> seth: michael k. williams, everybody. [ cheers and applause ] "hap and leonard: the two bear mambo" premieres wednesday on sundance tv. we'll be right back with brad meltzer. thank you, buddy. [ cheers and applause ] ♪ at the lexus command performance sales event, experience our most visionary models- including the lc, lx es and all-new ls. but get here before they're gone, because while craftsmanship can be simulated... nothing compares to the real thing. experience the command performance sales event for yourself
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♪ [ cheers and applause ] >> seth: our next guest is television host and best-selling author, whose new book, "the escape artist", is available tuesday. please welcome back to the show brad meltzer, everyone. [ cheers and applause ] ♪ >> seth: welcome back. >> thank you for having me back. >> seth: this book is immediately gripping.
there is a plane crash in alaska, a small plane. there is a victim. a mortician goes to work. figures out that the person who is supposed to be dead isn't actually dead and the person is the artist-in-residence for the united states -- >> military. yeah, no. what people don't realize is, and i didn't know, is that since world war i, the government, the army, has had an actual artist. a painter on staff, who races into disasters and paints them. so whether it's the beaches of normandy, whether it's vietnam, whether it's 9/11, they were there painting of all things. and it's crazy. when i heard about it i was like, i need to meet this person, because that sounds like the craziest job in the world. >> seth: sure. >> like everyone's running in with there guns and there's someone who's running in with nothing but paint brushes in their pockets. >> seth: yeah. >> and i'm like, i want to meet that person. they're crazy. and they said -- i said, i got to meet him. and they said, you mean her. you got to meet her. and i was like, i totally need to meet her. >> seth: yeah. >> and that became the base of nola. right? is this amazing strong woman who is just clawing her way back. >> seth: how long do people serve as the artist-in-residence
for the military? >> it depends when you're done. when you're telling your story. and i love that, you know, in the midst of this fighting that, you know, we can send videographers. we can send photographers. but what they do, is they take pictures. what a painter does is they tell a story. >> seth: yeah. >> and i love the idea that even amidst all this war, we're actually trying to learn. it doesn't seem like it, you know, today. but we are actually trying to learn. and i love that. that inspires me. >> seth: you talked -- harry houdini comes up in this book and his connection to the secret service. this is a true thing. >> this is true. in 1898, a man named john elbert wilkie was in charge of the secret service. he was a friend of harry houdini. he also loved doing magic, himself. and he was a magician. it's the only time in history that a magician is in control of the secret service. and i freaking love that. >> seth: yeah, i know. >> that's page one of the book. that's literally page one. i've ruined, i'm sorry, page one for all of you out there. [ light laughter ] but the truth was is it made me realize harry houdini was -- did amazing work for the government. and he could go anywhere. he could literally go into any
place, because they were like, "oh, harry houdini, come on in." and then he could actually call back and say, you want to know how this great -- whether it's the white house or anywhere else, but in a foreign country, what their layout is, where their security is. and i'm like, that's an amazing spy to have. >> seth: oh, so just from being a celebrity, going to different rooms, he could come to the table and say -- >> yeah, no, listen, i mean, i could tell you, one time i got invited to the white house, myself. and i walked in and out. i went to a private lunch there. and i walked in and out and no one said a word. no one looks twice at me, because i'm a novelist. people read their books. i was like, oh, my gosh. i'm like harry houdini, i'm the perfect spy. [ laughter ] like -- and i put myself in a water tank. >> seth: yeah. you -- obviously another main character is a mortician. did you spend time with morticians? >> i did. and it's -- you know it's -- morticians, you know, it can be obviously depressing subject. and this mortician in the book actually finds a hidden note in someone's body. and, you know, the note has a secret on it. then they got to figure it out. but, you know, morticians can be really depressing, but they're
also -- listen, they're human, so they're funny, right? so, bodies do weird things. like, they fart and they poop. and like, when you embalm something, body parts become bigger. you get a giant penis. >> seth: oh wow. >> and it made me realize, that like, it's not until i'm dead that someone's going to say, brad, you know, you have a giant penis. [ laughter ] >> seth: right. >> by the way, can i just stop a moment, right? like, this is supposed to be the smart show. and like, you have an audience full of, like, an einstein convention. you got half of harvard on your writing staff. and i just killed by saying the word giant penis. >> seth: oh, yeah, no -- >> it was the best laugh i got tonight. >> seth: they've been waiting for that all night. >> literally, thank you -- no. >> seth: they've been waiting for that all night. [ applause ] >> appreciate that. no, that you. >> seth: i also want to talk about a line of books you do completely separate for this, for kids, called "ordinary people." explain that real quick and how they became very popular recently. not that they weren't popular before. but, there's been a bit of a spike. >> yeah, no, i started a line of children's books with my buddy chris eliopoulos. we did "i am amelia earhart," "i am abraham lincoln." i did "i am lucille ball" for my daughter. because i wanted her to have a female entertainment hero who wasn't just famous for being
thin and pretty. but lucy stands for the idea, it's not just okay to be different, it's spectacular to be different. and i love that we've done these books. but something interesting happened as the election approached. as donald trump got elected, two books of ours started shooting up and it was "i am george washington" and "i am martin luther king jr." and it wasn't a democrat or republican thing. it was that parents on both sides were tired of turning on the tv and seeing politicians. what they wanted to show their kids were leaders. and i love the idea that in the midst of all the chaos in the country right now, that parents are fighting back. that they're tired of -- you know, we all know there's a difference between a politician and a leader. and whether it's "i am harriet tubman" or, you know, that we just put out, or any of the -- "i am rosa parks." i love that parents are saying, you know what, here's what's happening in the world, but i need to teach my kids values that are lost right now. compassion and decency. humility. remember what that meant? like, remember when people were humble? right? i mean, that's like a foreign word now. and i love that parents are building libraries of real heroes for their kids and their grandkids, their nieces and
their nephews with the books. >> seth: well thank you so much for writing those. thank you so much for writing this. always great to have you here. >> always. >> seth: brad meltzer, everybody. [ cheers and applause ] "the escape artist" is available tuesday. we'll be right back. [ cheers and applause ] ♪ man: i was born in a hurry. the world made war my parents made love. and i screamed into life. together they were unstoppable. and i came along for the ride. did mom give me too much freedom? did dad make me lust for too great an adventure? my scars and bruises tell their own story. so here's to you mom and dad. freedom and adventure.
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[ cheers and applause ] >> seth: my thanks to nathan lane, michael k. williams, brad meltzer, everybody! zach danziger and, of course, the 8g band. stay tuned to carson daly. we'll see you tomorrow. [ cheers and applause ] ♪ ♪ >> carson: good evening. you have tuned into nbc in the middle of the night. we appreciate that. thanks for watching. this is "last call." i'm carson daly. tonight, we are