Welcome to Best of Late Night, a rundown of the previous night’s highlights that lets you sleep — and lets us get paid to watch comedy. If you’re interested in hearing from The Times regularly about great TV, sign up for our Watching newsletter and get recommendations straight to your inbox.
‘Liberals Can’t Bully Me’
Kanye West told Jimmy Kimmel on Thursday why he supports President Trump — and it’s not about politics.
West said he mostly wanted to show people that he was not beholden to them. “Just as a musician, an African-American, a guy out in Hollywood, all these different things — everyone around me tried to pick my candidate for me,” he said. “And then told me every time I said I liked Trump, I couldn’t say it out loud or my career would be over, I’d be kicked out of the black community.”
In his inherent resistance to establishment wisdom, West mirrors elements of Trump’s political persona. Yet he insisted that his motivations lay not in the president’s politics, but in what Trump symbolizes in the realm of spectacle.
“What it represented to me is not about policies, because I’m not a politician like that,” West said. “But it represented overcoming fear and doing what you felt, no matter what anyone said. And saying, ‘You can’t bully me. Liberals can’t bully me; news can’t bully me; the hip-hop community, they can’t bully me.’”
Then he laughed and admitted, “I quite enjoy when people actually are mad at me about certain things.”
At one point, when Kimmel tried to interject with a question, West clarified, from out of the blue: “I’m not concerned about specifics here.”
Enter the Space Force
The late-night shows all focused on Vice President Mike Pence’s speech Thursday morning in support of establishing a Space Force, a branch of the U.S. military concerned with outer space.
Stephen Colbert poked fun at Pence for supporting the idea, and he made it clear that he was no fan of the idea himself.
“Today Space Force got a boost from Vice President Mike Pence. No surprise, Pence say huge fan of space. It is the farthest you can get from being alone with a human woman.” — STEPHEN COLBERT
“We don’t need Space Force. Please wait until NASA finds life before you try to kill it.” — STEPHEN COLBERT
“Sky Marshal Trump sent his supporters an email letting them vote for the Space Force’s new insignia. They will vote for their favorite and the final choice will be made by the electoral space college.” — STEPHEN COLBERT
Kimmel is having a lot of trouble taking the Space Force seriously. Referring to Trump as “Darth Traitor,” Kimmel said he respected the president “for taking this joke as far as he has. He has really committed.”
“The Space Force is actually happening! They’ve got plans. They’re finding money. Michael Bay is on board to direct the whole thing.” — JIMMY KIMMEL
“I watched this whole announcement this morning, and I was impressed by the fact that Mike Pence was somehow able to make an announcement about interspace warfare boring.” — JIMMY KIMMEL
The Punchiest Punchlines (SeaWorld Edition)
“The N.F.L.’s Arizona Cardinals have launched a new competition where fans can win a team jersey and get their photo on the scoreboard if they eat a burger consisting of five patties, five hot dogs, five bratwursts, eight slices of bacon, eight chicken tenders, 12 ounces of fries, lettuce, pickles, sauce and 20 slices of cheese in under an hour. Said one fan, ‘Eww — lettuce?!’” — SETH MEYERS
“I saw that SeaWorld was letting 125 employees go. Or as the animals put it, ‘Must be nice.’” — JIMMY FALLON
The Bits Worth Watching
Eye-contact Jenga is a game that could catch on.
With a crafty and indulgent graphics department, James Corden is drunk on power.