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Late-Night Hosts Have a Lot to Catch Up On

Photo: Illustration: Vulture. Photos: Getty Images, CBS/The Late Show, ABC/Randy Holmes
It’s been a long five months for the suits and ties of late night. Less than one week after the WGA writers strike ended, Stephen Colbert, Jimmy Kimmel, Seth Meyers, John Oliver, and Jimmy Fallon stepped into their respective studios and welcomed a live audience for the first time since May. While they have not sat at those specific desks in a hot minute, the five hosts came together briefly to form the supergroup podcast Strike Force Five to give themselves something to do before eventually breaking off into their separate shows. With a full lineup ahead of them this week, here’s how each host monologued their return to late night, just in time for the debut of Traylor.

The Late Show With Stephen Colbert

Colbert came back with a two-part monologue and with the unfortunate update that his wife Evie “refused to keep chanting” his name, much like a studio audience would. “Thanks to the picket lines, my writers got free air and sunshine, which they do not care for that,” proclaimed Colbert in the first half. He stated that they have been off the air for “154 indictment” before going into a much-needed bit about Trump’s mug shot and the unclaimed coke found in the White House.

Jimmy Kimmel Live!

Kimmel begins his show with an intimate therapy session with the king of coming back, Arnold Schwarzenegger, before Arnie yells at him to get to the chopper. He dodges some pickleball players who have been renting out the studio while they were off the air and suggests they try James Corden’s spot. Kimmel cleverly points out that they’ve been gone so long that “the Bachelor is now a grandfather” before getting to Trump’s arrests.

Late Night With Seth Meyers

Meyers began the show by thanking the WGA negotiating committee and sharing how much he missed working with his writing staff. “I was so happy to see them this morning. I will admit by lunch, I was a little over it,” Meyers joked.

Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon

Coming back live from the “Spirit Halloween” studio, Fallon came in hot with Travis Kelce–Taylor Swift jokes since he knows Swifties are still looking for Easter eggs from their past interviews together. While Fallon doesn’t address his own controversy that unraveled during the hiatus, he did set a spherical Bono loose into the audience while making fun of his own bit. “I should mention not all of the writers are back,” joked Fallon.

Last Week Tonight With John Oliver

Oliver acknowledged the hard work that the Writers Guild did to be able to earn their historic wins and used their concerns, like health care, to segue into this week’s topic. He began, “Our industry has seen its workers severely squeezed in recent years; you might have seen stories about writers and actors, whose work you recognize, routinely not making enough to qualify for health insurance or afford basic needs, so the Writers Guild went on strike and thankfully won,” before diving into prison health-care reform.

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