Stephen Colbert is closing in on Jimmy Fallon in the late-night ratings (catching him in some metrics, tightening up the gap in others), which probably has a lot to do with the hyper-political post-election climate essentially knocking on the door of his wheelhouse and inviting itself in. But it’s unfair to say that’s the only reason. Colbert is also starting to find his groove in the new role, somehow coming off more serious than his late-night colleagues without ceding any ground when it comes to outright silliness. And speaking of silliness, allow me to direct your attention to the clip above, in which Colbert and Better Call Saul star Bob Odenkirk team up for an incredibly strange, hilarious sketch that sees them swap roles in a way that’s hard to describe beyond saying “Just watch it.”
It’s all very, very weird, and possibly not for everyone. To be honest, it has more in common with Odenkirk’s work on Mr. Show than it does with just about anything else you’ll see on late-night television right now. Especially the ending. I won’t ruin it for you, but the whole thing veers off into the surreal as it progresses and I couldn’t possibly love it more. (It’s worth noting that the pair of a comedy history together, dating back to their time together on the short-lived-but-beloved Dana Carvey Show in the ’90s.)
It’s not even the sketch itself that makes it all so great, although that is definitely a big part of it. The more exciting thing is that Colbert is finally gaining ground in the ratings war against Fallon and he’s still out here doing the nuttiest, goofiest stuff he can think of, the kind of sketch you’d see at 12:55 a.m. on SNL or one you’d expect from the old Late Night Conan years. But he’s doing it at 11:30. On CBS. An hour after Katherine Heigl’s latest legal premiered. That’s pretty cool.
Clap, you pigs.