Why Congress shouldn't pass bills late at night: The comedians are left with dated material
The surreal seriousness of his new MSNBC show, 'Up Late"
The set of Alec Baldwin’s new MSNBC talk show “Up Late,” which premiered Friday night, is a wood-paneled diner with green leather booths and an image of the New York skyline twinkling through a fake window. There’s a ghostly quality to all those empty tables. Lonely place settings are arranged on the countertops like funereal bouquets. The first episode opens with Baldwin leaning stiffly against a booth, his expression grave.
Covering the shutdown may have diminishing returns for journalists, but for comedians it has provided seemingly endless grist. (With varying success: my colleague Isaac Chotiner wrote a post last week on Jay Leno’s very bad shutdown jokes.) The counterpoint to Leno's goony "who needs the government anyway" shtick is, unsurprisingly, Jon Stewart, who has proved himself to be the king of shutdown humor.
Monday marked the first night of Megyn Kelly's Fox News Channel program, "The Kelly File," which aired at 9 p.m. in Sean Hannity's old slot. Kelly has become an increasingly big star over the past several years, appearing during the day as a host, and at night as a guest on "The O'Reilly Factor" and other shows. The question leading up to the premiere was whether Kelly would become more opinionated and start to ape Bill O'Reilly and Hannity, or whether she would take the typical Fox News daytime line, which can be defined as passively conservative.
CIA directors don’t have time to roll up their sleeves and walk around the building says our Homeland expert, former CIA Agent Robert Baer.
In what may be one of his last hurrahs as mayor of New York, Michael Bloomberg on Monday unveiled a campaign that aims to bolster young girls’ self-esteem by telling them they’re beautiful the way they are.
In one scene from Rebel Wilson’s sitcom “Super Fun Night,” which premiered last night on ABC, Wilson’s character—an attorney named Kimmie Boubier—careens screaming down the hallway as if fleeing a fire. “What’s the rush?” a colleague asks her. “Someone just tweeted there were jelly donuts in the break room,” she replies. “You’ve got the heart of a lion, in the body of a much larger lion,” Kimmie’s skinny co-worker tells her in another scene. There are countless body-related gags in last night’s episode alone.
Everything happened as it should on last night’s “Breaking Bad” finale. The Nazis went down in a blaze of machine gun fire, Jesse escaped, Gretchen and Elliot were jolted out of their smugness, Walt copped to his own terrible selfishness in a final conversation with his wife. For a show that makes a point of not giving viewers exactly what they want or expect, the finale was uncharacteristically satisfying. There was no gut clench as the credits rolled, no wave of disgust for humanity—just a sense of inevitability and relief.
There’s a scene toward the end of the first episode of Showtime’s new drama “Masters of Sex” in which two test subjects embrace on a bed in a hospital laboratory. Bill Masters and Virginia Johnson, the real-life sex researchers from St. Louis’s Washington University who performed trailblazing studies on human subjects in the years before the sexual revolution, watch silently through a pane of glass. A scroll of paper charting the subjects’ heart rates unspools onto the floor nearby.
Robert Baer is a former CIA case officer who served everywhere from Iraq to the former Soviet Union. (The 2005 film Syriana, starring George Clooney, was an adaptation of several of his books about the intelligence world.) Who better, then, to discuss Season 3 of “Homeland,” which premiered last night on Showtime? Every Monday, Baer and New Republic Senior Editor Isaac Chotiner will chat about the previous night’s episode. The conversations contain spoilers.