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tv   Late Night With Seth Meyers  NBC  August 4, 2022 12:37am-1:37am PDT

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philadelphia, pennsylvania thank you for watching stay tuned for "late night with seth meyers. goodnight, everybody [ cheers and applause ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ [ cheers and applause ♪ >> announcer: from 30 rockefeller plaza in new york, it's "late night with seth meyers. tonight -- billy porter journalist and writer for "the new yorker," jane mayer. an all new "closer look. featuring the 8g band with giulliana merello. ♪ [ cheers and applause and now, seth meyers >> seth: good evening, everybody. i'm seth meyers, this is "late night. how is everybody doing tonight [ cheers and applause great to hear. in that case, let get to the news president biden spoke on monday from his coronavirus quarantine
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to announce that the u.s. had killed al qaeda leader ayman al zawahiri. which kind of sets unreasonable expectations about how much work we're supposed to get done while having covid [ laughter ] you ordered the killing of al qaeda's top guy with covid, i didn't even tell jokes about it while i had covid. [ laughter ] according to a new report, u.s. intelligence officials killed al qaeda leader ayman al zawahiri after tracking him down through his family. yet another reason not to accept a facebook friend request from your aunt. [ laughter ] "is that a drone peggy! first lady dr. jill biden said in a new interview that she has dinner with president biden most nights and they turn off the television to spend time together also, nothing good's on at 4:00 p.m [ laughter ] the first lady also said despite her busy schedule she gets seven and a half hours of sleep most nights apparently her secret is asking joe to tell her about his day.
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[ laughter ] "and then you're not going to believe this part. "uh-huh. ahead of missouri's republican senate primary, former president trump on monday posted to his truth social platform that he was endorsing eric but did not mention whether it was former governor eric greitens or state attorney general eric schmitt. said trump, neither. menendez [ audience ohs ] it's not too soon is it? [ laughter ] oh, just too bad just keep them up a second longer [ light laughter ] house speaker nancy pelosi departed taiwan without incident after weeks of tension with china over the visit i mean, that's playing with fire, an 82-year-old getting on a plane right now? [ laughter ] u.n. secretary general antonio guterres on monday said that humanity is, "one
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miscalculation away from nuclear annihilation." it was the worst best man speech ever [ laughter ] according to the latest numbers, after taco bell brought back the mexican pizza to its menu in may, demand was seven times higher than when the item was previously available also seven times higher, the people ordering them [ laughter ] "did i say mexican pizza?" [ light laughter ] and finally, new york's mta announced plans last week to provide cell phone service while traveling between stations no word on whether they also plan to offer train service. [ laughter ] it will be helpful to have the cell phone service no, it's not it's not here. that was the monologue everybody. [ cheers and applause we've got a great show for you tonight! he is an emmy, tony, and grammy award-winning actor, singer, and director you know from his work in "pose" and "cinderella.
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his movie, "anything's possible" is now out on prime video. billy porter is here, everybody. [ cheers and applause and she is an award-winning investigative journalist and staff writer for "the new yorker," jane mayer will also be joining us tonight [ cheers and applause but before we get to all that, last night voters in kansas overwhelmingly rejected a state ballot measure that would have restricted abortion access, despite shady gop tactics. and donald trump endorsed multiple dudes named eric in the same senate race in missouri for more on this, it's time for "a closer look." [ cheers and applause ♪ >> seth: there was a huge victory for reproductive rights last night in kansas, where a proposed amendment to that state's constitution that would have removed abortion protections was rejected overwhelmingly by voters >> there is big news on this big primary night. nbc news projects voters in the state of kansas have overwhelmingly voted to keep the
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protection of abortion rights in their state constitution this was the first test of the right to choose at the polls since the supreme court ended roe vs. wade >> seth: wow somewhere right now brett kavanaugh is angrily chugging a coors light tallboy with pj and squee. i'm sure he's making that face you know he really manages to look incredibly angry and incredibly goofy at the same time like a chihuahua who just saw the mailman. [ laughter ] this is obviously encouraging news in the fight to safeguard access to abortion and it's especially encouraging given that antiabortion activists used every shady tactic they could think of and still lost for example, the wording of the ballot question was intentionally designed to be as confusing as possible. now, if the measure had passed, it would have removed abortion protections and allowed the gop legislature to ban abortion, but the wording of the language was intentionally confusing. here it is "because kansans value both women and children, the constitution of the state of kansas does not require government funding of abortion and does not create or secure a
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right to abortion. to the extent permitted by the constitution of the united states the people, through their elected state representatives and state senators, may pass laws recording abortion, including, but not limited to, laws that account for circumstances of pregnancy resulting from rape or incest, or circumstances of necessity to save the life of the mother. man, i can't believe they hired the same guy who wrote the itunes user agreement. [ laughter ] i hope voters were given the options "yes," "no" or "da [ bleep ]. [ laughter ] that reads like the intro to a college paper you start writing at 3:00 a.m. the night before it's due [ laughter ] "the war of 1812, being a historical event of importance, not only to historians but to those who value history cheaply, was not just a war, but a war that took place in a specific year and that year was not 1811 or 1813, but in fact, it was the year that, to use the parlance of the time, was sandwiched between those years, a year that is now referred to as the year 1812, but
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in 1812 was referred to as now but what exactly is a war? for that, i refer you to this long block quote i copied and pasted from that will take up the next four pages. i apologize that the font is different, i tried to change it, but my computer is being a dick." [ cheers and applause thankfully, kansas voters saw through the bull [ bleep ] and overwhelmingly backed abortion rights even though a shady gop group also sent out a bunch of misleading text messages on monday suggesting that voting "yes" on the proposed amendment would have protected reproductive rights when in reality it would have done the exact opposite >> in kansas where that critical abortion access vote is happening right now, voters across the state received this misleading text message yesterday. "women in kansas are losing their choice on reproductive rights vote yes on the amendment will give women a choice, vote yes to protect women's health."
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and that is not true the measure on the ballot does not protect choice in fact, it would change the state constitution and do the exact opposite >> seth: you know, as a general rule, if your best strategy is to try to trick people into accidentally voting for you, that's probably a sign that you're the bad guys. it's like if, in order to get people to watch this show online, we made the title of every youtube video "click here for free boner pills!" [ laughter ] although if you fall for that, shame on you, because the free ones don't work. [ laughter ] fellas, you got to listen to me here i know you're thinking, if i can get the pills for free, i can splash out on a romantic dinner, the horse and buggy through central park, but none of that is going to matter when you pop one of the freebies and realize that was definitely a skittle. there are things in life worth paying for, which is why the only erectile dysfunction email you should ever open is "boner pills, reasonably priced." [ laughter ] and i know this from experience because a friend told it to me but that was not the only bizarre subterfuge on display
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from the republicans yesterday in fact, in another state, missouri, republicans tried something even dumber. in fact, this is a story that i think pretty much perfectly captures the current state of the republican party donald trump, a man who, let's not forget, tried to overthrow american democracy and is currently under multiple criminal investigations, created confusion in missouri's republican senate primary by endorsing someone named eric in a race with multiple erics, without specifying which eric he was endorsing. and then both erics bragged that they had been endorsed by trump, a man who, again, is not only under multiple active criminal investigations for inciting a coup to overthrow american democracy, but is also beginning to look less like a former president and more like the nick nolte mugshot [ laughter ] i mean is his head getting smaller or is his hat getting bigger [ laughter ] it looks like his hat is some kind of organism feeding on his blood. look how pale he is. he looks like he's starring in the next martin mcdonagh film as the ghost of an irish priest, opposite colin farrell [ laughter ]
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look, i know they say all presidents age rapidly, but trump looks like he's halfway through a "raiders of the lost ark" face melt [ laughter ] it's like he opened the ark, his face started to melt, but then he slammed it shut real fast, but then his face just stayed that way "the ark of the covenant, we love the ark, we love the ark, don't we folks they told me not to open it, but we had to open it because many people are saying the ark, that's where they hid hunter biden's laptop. and then -- and then i opened it up and the ghosts -- the ghosts started pouring out. they poured out. and that -- that's how i ended up hiring my lawyer. [ laughter ] anyway, that dude -- that dude, right there, that dude endorsed two erics, two erics in the same race, and then they both debased themselves by scrambling to claim that endorsement >> just a short time ago, the former president offered his endorsement in a key senate race in missouri. he endorsed eric, leaving it open for voters to choose between the two erics who are
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actually in the race one of whom, the former governor eric greitens, resigned from office four years ago after a sex scandal and is now facing allegations of abuse from his ex-wife, which he denies >> former president trump announced his long awaited endorsement late yesterday afternoon, saying, "i trust the great people of missouri on this one to make up their own minds." he goes on to say, "i am therefore proud to announce eric has my complete and total endorsement. >> seth: that's right, there were two guys named eric in the race, and trump was too cowardly to pick one, so he just endorsed eric left it up to voters to decide which one, and when one of the erics won, trump claimed victory. it's like going to the race track, walking up to the betting window and saying, "i'd like to put all my money on horse. [ laughter ] you can't go back to the window and claim victory when a horse wins although, you know trump has done that. when he plays craps, he probably says, "show me dice. [ laughter ] in fact, even trump's own allies
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were split on which eric had gotten the coveted trump endorsement, with ted cruz tweeting that trump had endorsed schmitt, and rudy giuliani tweeting, "missouri get out and vote for eric greitens," with a photo that said, "president trump endorses eric greitens." although i'm just shocked rudy picked one of the erics who was actually running and not a third completely unrelated eric who doesn't even live in missouri. "missouri, go out and vote for the eric who's been endorsed by donld trump -- eric clapton! [ laughter ] "i'm a huge fan because 'wonderful tonight' was my wedding song when i married my cousin." [ laughter ] i was worried because it was said when you get covid you lose your taste for cousin jokes. [ laughter ] and by the way, this is all just stuff that happened last night usually july and august are quiet months in politics, but a lot of crazy [ bleep ] has been happening lately and because we've been off for a
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week, i missed a lot of it in fact, i don't have time to get to the rest of it, so to recap as quickly as possible, i'm going to have to try out a new segment called "seth recaps what he missed as quickly as possible." [ chimes ] [ cheers and applause okay, ready? here we go the justice department is looking into donald trump's actions as part of its investigation into the coup attempt on january 6th trump is preparing a legal defense and looking for a fall guy. he also said no one's gotten to the bottom of 9/11 yet matt gaetz was caught on a hot mic assuring indicted trump associate roger stone that he would get a presidential pardon. the department of homeland security raised suspicions by hatching a plan to recover deleted secret service texts from the day of the attempted coup the pentagon also deleted text messages from january 6th. the u.s. killed al qaeda's leader in afghanistan. nancy pelosi went to taiwan, prompting a possible crisis with china. majorities of house republicans voted against bills to codify legal same-sex marriage and contraception into federal law joe manchin and chuck schumer announced a deal out of nowhere to pass a major piece of the democrats' domestic agenda including climate, taxes and health care. joe biden tested positive for covid again. and ted cruz was seen fist bumping a colleague on the senate floor after blocking a bill to fund health care for veterans exposed to toxic burn pits like they had just done a keg stand at a sigma chi toga party.
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this has been "seth recaps what he missed as quickly as possible." [ chimes ] [ cheers and applause i had covid, dude. i had covid dude, and you wrote that i can't believe they made me do that immediately after recovering from covid. that's like if joey chestnut had to do the hot dog eating contest the day after he got food poisoning. [ laughter ] and yes, it is true that i just got back from a week off after getting covid a second time, or as we call that in show business, "a season two pickup," which means i wasn't here to comment on any of that i couldn't even do shows from my house because biden asked if he could borrow it. he went to high school with the sea captain. i just want to say - [ laughter ] i just want to say to all of you out there who, upon learning that i had covid, immediately asked, "can wally host the show while you're out."
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thank you so much for your concern. although, if you ask me, it's a little suspicious that all the tweets asking wally to guest host came from a twitter account named notwally12345. [ laughter ] >> sounds legit to me, seth. >> seth: does it >> yeah. >> seth: last night was both a promising sign of progress in the fight to safeguard abortion rights on the one hand, and also a perfect case study of what the gop has become on the other hand voters in kansas overwhelmingly rejected the extremist views of antiabortion conservatives meanwhile pro-trump candidates won gop primaries throughout the country, even in places where trump endorsed multiple people they all scrambled pathetically to claim his endorsement republicans are still desperate for the backing of any trump they can get, whether it's donald trump himself, don jr., or ivanka. just as long as it's not - >> eric. [ laughter ] >> seth: this has been "a closer look." ♪ [ cheers and applause we'll be right back with billy porter, everybody.
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and if you don't have the right home insurance coverage, you could be working out a way to pay for this yourself. get allstate and be better protected from mayhem for a whole lot less. ♪ [ cheers and applause >> seth: give it up for the fantastic 8g band right over there. [ cheers and applause sitting in this week, she's the drummer for latin grammy winner
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karol g, who is currently out on her north american "strip love tour." she's also on the june cover of "modern drummer" magazine, which is available now be sure to check out her instagram for more information giulliana merello is here. welcome to the show, giulliana >> thank you for having me [ cheers and applause >> seth: our first guest tonight is an emmy, tony and grammy award-winning actor, singer and director you know from his work in the show "pose" and "kinky boots" on broadway his movie "anything's possible" is streaming now on prime video. let's take a look. >> i keep telling her there is no place safer than right here at home with me >> mom, law of averages. >> fine. fair enough. >> wait, what is that? >> it's just this rule we have where i'm not allowed to ask her anything that the average mom won't ask the average girl >> mm-hmm. >> now, i really got to go it's so nice to meet you khalid. >> yeah. >> it's khalid >> what is it? >> khalid. >> khalid. >> mm-hmm. >> you're both failing, but that's okay. >> you know what >> seth: please welcome back to the show, our friend, billy porter, everybody.
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[ cheers and applause ♪ [ cheers and applause >> seth: resplendent as always [ laughter ] billy, i'm so happy to have you here in person >> i know. >> seth: and congratulations on this film, not only did you direct it, but you also wrote music for the soundtrack >> i did we did the soundtrack, republic records, who i'm signed to now getting ready to do my own music. so get ready for that. >> seth: very exciting [ cheers and applause very exciting. >> i'm back. the bitch is back in the music business but yes, justin tranter and i -- justin tranter's camp and myself, we wrote five new songs for the soundtrack and we also curated artists who are queer. i think i could say probably
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like 90% to 95% of the artists on the soundtrack are queer. you got to go listen to the soundtrack, too. [ cheers and applause >> seth: did you -- was it -- did you write the songs and curate the songs, was that something you were doing while you were making the film, or did you wait until you had the finished product before? >> yes, we were doing both >> seth: okay, gotcha. you were doing it at the same time >> you know, i was writing along the way being a music artist and a musical theater artist i've always told stories through music. and that's a really, really important part for me as i take on this director's thing you know, it's inside of the music that i find the rhythm, that i find the music of the piece. >> seth: i certainly knew your connection to musical theater. and that's somewhere, you know, where you've always shone. i didn't realize how young you were when you knew this about yourself but you were 15 years old when you went to audition for "dreamgirls" [ laughter ] >> okay, so i was bit by the bug in sixth grade
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>> seth: okay. >> and "dreamgirls" came out that year. >> seth: uh-huh. >> and i was obsessed. and i was trying to get out. because i needed to get out, honey. >> seth: this was getting out. >> out of my house, out of my neighborhood, out of all of it, right? so, i was getting backstage magazine for those of you don't know what that is, that's the trade magazine that lists all the auditions and stuff. >> seth: gotcha. >> and so i was getting that magazine at my house at 15 in pittsburgh [ laughter ] and i would circle the auditions that i would go to if i had lived in new york city at the time, and if i was old enough. so one day when i was 16, a "dreamgirls" audition came up and it was on a friday and i had the friday off, and i had my own money and i lied to my mother and said i was going to a friend's house. and i went downtown, bought myself a train ticket, rode the train for 13 hours, went to the
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audition in chicago. this is before cell phones or anything like that they told me i was fabulous and that i was too young and to keep my eye on the prize. and i went back on the train i went right back to the train station and came back home, crying for 13 hours. [ laughter ] [ audience aws ] >> seth: and when you got home, did your mom say, "that took a while" >> no, she didn't know until i would say maybe right now. [ laughter ] no no, she -- [ applause ] she has known. i told this story at some point somewhere else and she was like, "what did you do?" said "it's over darling, i'm 30 years old." [ laughter ] >> seth: but it's interesting, because you're talking about, you know, wanting to get out of pittsburgh, and then though you ended up going to college at carnegie mellon, which is a wonderful theater school >> one of the greatest in the world. >> seth: how old were you when you realized it was right in your backyard? >> i was 17.
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>> seth: uh-huh. >> and i was in drama school the creative and performing arts high school where we shot the movie, actually. >> seth: yes >> not the same building, but the same school. and my drama teacher and mentor found out that i was planning on graduating from high school and just going to new york and i got yanked by my ear, and they were like, you're not going anywhere but carnegie mellon and i was like, what you know and it was right down the street and this is what i mean -- this is what we mean when we talk about opportunity and access i lived 12 -- a 12-minute drive away from carnegie mellon, and had no idea that it was one of the greatest drama schools in the world. right? it wasn't until some white people told me [ laughter ] and so i'm grateful, you know, i'm thankful for that. because they said, you sing like a dream, you dance your booty off, and every time you open up
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your mouth to speak it's a disaster [ laughter ] you need to go learn how to act. i'm so grateful somebody, you know, was looking out. i called them my angels. they were looking out for me >> seth: i mean, that is the best thing a teacher can do. sure, they can teach anybody, but the thing about talent, right, you either have it or don't. and i think sometimes teachers when they recognize it, they're like, look, we're going to help you down the path, but you're going to realize your own talent we're not going to give it to you, but we know the place to point you. >> i was so blessed to have people like that >> seth: i want to talk about the movie and how you went back and did it in pittsburgh we'll be right back with more from billy porter. [ cheers and applause ♪ ♪ [dog barks] [dog panting] [dogs barking]
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non-gaming tribes have been left in the dust. wealthy tribes with big casinos make billions, while small tribes struggle in poverty. prop 27 is a game changer. 27 taxes and regulates online sports betting to fund permanent solution to homelessness. while helping every tribe in california. so who's attacking prop 27? wealthy casino tribes who want all the money for themselves support small tribes, address homelessness. vote yes on 27. ♪ [ cheers and applause >> seth: welcome back to "late night. we're here with billy porter so this is a romantic comedy
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that focuses around a trans character. was it rewarding to tell this kind of story that we rarely, if ever, see? >> yeah, we need to put some joy out into the world >> seth: i think that's right. [ cheers and applause >> yeah and coming from "pose," most of the trans stories and lgbtq plus stories that we see, particularly trans, are always about the trauma and i was so drawn to this piece because it's about trans joy it's about celebration it's about the normalizing and the humanizing of a group of people that have been dehumanized. and so - [ applause ] it's in the spirit of old john hughes movies a romantic coming of age rom-com, and the characters look like what the world looks like today. and i just feel so blessed to be able to sort of usher this kind of art out into the world. it's really lovely >> seth: that is really special. it's also, as you mentioned, you
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went back, you filmed in pittsburgh, and you got to pull people from your past life into the whole production >> yeah, you know, i was reading the script, and it just happened to be written in pittsburgh, and you know, when i was casting, i thought, you know, i have so many angels there, so many friends there. so all of the -- most of the characters that are ancillary are either my friends, like the mother of khal, and the nurse, and the teacher, we all did kennywood park together back in the '80s >> seth: all right, so real quick, kennywood park is the pittsburgh amusement park. >> yes >> seth: you worked there. >> i worked there for three summers doing the shows. >> seth: what were the shows >> oh, my god. i can't even remember. they were good, though six different shows. >> seth: so you weren't like selling funnel cake or tickets to the tilt-a-whirl. >> no, no! i was on the stage letting the kids have it, honey. [ laughter ] you know, singing -- ♪ wake me u before you go go ♪ you know we were performing
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so then we had -- so i had those people one of my mentors -- one of the mentors that got me to carnegie mellon, lenora nemetz, a fosse dancer, she plays the art teacher. vanita harbour and renee goldsberry, we all went to carnegie mellon together, so they play the two moms you know, billy hartung, who i went to dance class with on the other side of town his mom and dad would put us in the pickup truck and drive me all the way to the other side of town, home at 10:00 after dance class. you know, it's really a love letter to pittsburgh and the chosen family and the mentors, and friends who raised me. because i wouldn't be here if it wasn't for that. and lot of people still think that pittsburgh is like this old, depressed steel town. and child, it's not. she's fabulous, and she's progressive. [ cheers and applause >> seth: yeah.
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>> you know, obama had the first g-20 summit there because pittsburgh was one of the only cities that was not affected by the 2008 recession so i wanted to like give pittsburgh some shine. >> seth: well, you know that will enamor you to my father, who is a child of pittsburgh >> i know. >> seth: his favorite guests are the ones who talk kindly about pittsburgh [ laughter ] you know, a lot of times directors, i feel like maybe the stereotype is they look a little schlubby on set. you know, they obviously are very busy, they don't have time to like worry about their outfits. i'm happy to report that was not the case with director billy porter look at you. [ cheers and applause you don't -- you just don't take a day off, do you? [ cheers and applause >> you know, that's a caftan moment, i found the caftan situation during covid it's a really, really easy silhouette you get a good pattern and you just put it on and i'm like bea arthur. >> seth: yeah. i mean, we have to find things
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from the pandemic that were teachable moments, you know? >> yes and so, i had those moments, and you know, like i said the last time, i want to be head bitch in charge, so you got to dress for the job you want, not the one you have, honey. every day. [ cheers and applause >> seth: my last question, and by the way, i do like checking in on the progress of you achieving head bitch in charge i feel like, every time we are a little closer. >> i'm closer, and closer, and closer >> seth: one might say you've achieved it but we don't want to put your fire out. >> i have some more [ bleep ] to do i only said that because i think i just heard you drop the "da [ bleep ]" bomb earlier. [ laughter ] >> seth: yeah. >> we're allowed to do that now? >> seth: yeah. >> all right >> seth: we're on very late at night. >> get ready, bitches. i work blue. ooh, i made you laugh. >> seth: you did make me laugh [ laughter ] it's fun to have somebody say they work blue when there's so much blue. there's so much actual blue, in the eyes and the - all right, ready this director's chair, explain
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>> i don't like director's chairs they are awkward they are uncomfortable and i don't like sitting in them so you know, ryan murphy, my mentor, comes to work to direct with his own chair they bring a chair in for him. and i was like, "i'm going to do my ryan murphy thing and get my own chair. >> seth: well, you deserve it. >> and so i got my own chair and it was comfortable >> seth: there you go. caftan, chair, movie, check, check, check thank you for being here, billy. it's always such a pleasure. we love having you >> thank you >> seth: billy porter, "anything's possible" is streaming now on prime video we'll be right back with jane mayer, everybody. [ cheers and applause ♪ i didn't win the l , but everybody knows i wrote that song. flo? gosh, it's been forever.
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♪ [ cheers and applause >> seth: our next guest is an award-winning investigative journalist and staff writer for "the new yorker. please welcome to the show jane mayer, everyone ♪ [ cheers and applause ♪ >> seth: jane, thank you so much for being here >> thank you, good to be with you. >> seth: you are an investigative journalist, you've covered dark money, you've covered corruption in politics do people panic when they get a phone call from you? >> i have read that people have said that when they hear a message from me, they call their solicitor and get their, you know, affairs in order [ laughter ] it's not the most flattering thing to read about yourself, but i have read that >> seth: but then, what do you do so i'd assume a lot of people initially don't want to talk to you. i would assume you don't give up at that point, who do you reach out to next when the, sort of, i
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don't know, the subject of a story won't talk >> yeah, so rule one is never give up, okay. and what do you do you have to report around them sometime, and you know, you get desperate. some of the times, one of the things that's worked for me is i found a lot of great information from calling people's families >> seth: oh, yeah. >> especially people's mothers [ laughter ] >> seth: if i wouldn't talk to you but then i heard you were calling my mother, i would immediately call you back. [ laughter ] >> it usually works like that. but sometimes you can get to the mother before the person calls you back and then you get just like a mother lode >> seth: yeah, there you go. that's how they originally came up with the name, yeah >> it must be, yeah. >> seth: so you reported a lot about the fight for abortion rights, you have a big piece coming up. obviously, i think a lot of people maybe weren't expecting that kansas voters to reject this rollback of reproductive rights last night. were you surprised and what do you see moving forward >> well, so i have been watching
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it really closely. i actually have been talking to democratic operatives including james carville who said a few weeks ago, "this is the one. you got to watch it. because if the pro-choice people win in kansas, it's just going to rock the republicans back on their heels and it's going to energize the democrats and he wasn't entirely sure what was going to happen but he said he felt good about it. so i had little bit of advance notice on the thing. it is amazing because kansas is obviously a very red state, i mean, and i think -- i mean, to me, what it means is we're sort of getting -- we're in the consequences phase of politics where you're beginning to see the consequences of right-wing rule that's more extreme than most people in the country. >> seth: well, it was a surprising result but it wasn't surprising in that all the polling you ever see shows that most people wanted roe to stand. >> well, this is true. but it's just -- i mean, and it's a great point
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because most of these states, if you look at the general public, they support things like access to abortion within reason, you know, legal abortion and they support restrictions on guns they actually support higher taxes on the super rich. i mean, all these things that never get passed but what's interesting is the state legislatures are far more extreme than the people themselves >> seth: you have written a lot about dark money in politics, corruption in politics, and recently have been doing some writing about the supreme court. and obviously, the supreme court as an idea, is held, you know, as very great esteem and yet, not immune to dark money and influence from outside forces do you think people are surprised when they read pieces of yours insofar as they didn't think that this was possible of happening to the supreme court >> i think so. i mean i think all of us grew up revering it, and thinking it's
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above politics but if you look at polls now, it's at a low ebb for popular trust in the supreme court, and i think it's because people are beginning to see it as so political, and taking such extreme stances. i think it's that, and then, you're right, there is money that people don't realize is going into confirming these justices millions of dollars have gone into dark money groups that have pushed for these very far right justices and most of us reporters, including myself, still don't know where those millions are coming from. it's almost impossible to figure out. but i'm going to try >> seth: so, we're glad you're trying [ cheers and applause you wrote a fascinating piece about clarence thomas' wife ginni thomas, and went out of your way, which i think everyone does, saying like, look, obviously you know, everyone's spouse has a right to have their own pursuits
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with that said, you know, she is very deep in advocacy and she is deep in issues and organizations that are bringing cases in front of the supreme court, funding -- what do they call it, amicus >> amicus briefs >> seth: amicus briefs and sort of friend of the court briefs that are supporting their position and yet, clarence thomas is not recusing himself in these cases. doesn't seem like he has any intention of doing that. where does this all end? does it basically that the supreme court has just allowed to police themselves in a way that other judges aren't at lower levels >> well, that's the thing, it's sort of amazing. it's the highest court in the country and it has the lowest ethics bar it just polices itself the rest of the judges in the country are bound by a judicial code, but they decided that the supreme court is the highest and nobody can tell them what to do. so they self-police. i mean, any other judge would have recused themselves if they were faced with a situation that clarence thomas was. there's actually a law about recusal which says that every
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judge, including justices on the supreme court are supposed to recuse from any case in which a spouse has a material interest in the outcome we're waiting to see ginni's whole role in this, but it certainly seems that she was up to her eyeballs in it and it would be very uncomfortable for clarence thomas to be impartial in a case like that. >> seth: and i think we've all, certainly with the super majority, right, we're getting used to 6-3 cases in the same way we got used to 5-4 cases but there was actually an 8-1 case where clarence thomas was the only justice to, you know, stood alone. and this was the one, if there was anyone to recuse himself from this one, because this was turning over text messages from january 6th, and we obviously know that ginni thomas was texting with mark meadows at the time >> she was, and the texts are doozies, if anyone's had a chance to see them >> seth: to use the legal term, they are a doozies [ laughter ] >> so yeah, it's an incredibly,
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it's not just a sticky situation, it's really a serious situation. because if you -- if you, the american public, lose faith in the supreme court in a country where the rule of law is everything, things can really deteriorate fast we need to revere the supreme court and we need to have transparency so that we know who is taking money and who's got conflicts of interest up there [ cheers and applause >> seth: the other thing that's fascinating to me is, you know, justices like clarence thomas now, it seems like when they give speeches, they blame the rest of us for politicizing the supreme court. and this was even before, you know, we knew the full thrust of ginni's involvment in january 6th. do you find -- is that level of hypocrisy stunning to you or is it what you've come to expect? >> well, i think sometimes it's almost like projection you hear from these people an
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accusation that the press is politicizing the supreme court, and, you know, it makes you want to take a second look because it's clear it's a little closer to home in his case. the politics is intense in his breakfast table, i would think >> seth: yeah. another thing that i would imagine makes you take a closer look at things is the names of a lot of these organizations, like the honest elections project or freedom works. when they seem to have like those sort of mundane names, is that when you're like, "oh, there's real dirty business here." >> it's true, like the more virtuous the title, the more mucky stuff is usually going on under the surface. but it's helpful, because it's like a red flag, it's like, "oh, i better take a second look at this one." >> seth: yeah. [ laughter ] now, is it true that before you were a investigative journalist, your dream job at "the new yorker" at a time was to be a cartoonist >> it actually was that's what i really wanted to be and the first thing i ever submitted to "the new yorker" was a cartoon.
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>> seth: and did you hear back >> i did i got a sort of a polite form note saying "thanks, try again." [ laughter ] >> seth: did you feel like you had a skill with a pen were you a good artist >> i loved cartooning. i did it all through college it was a lot of fun. >> seth: all right, so you weren't just jumping into it you had some background in it. >> yeah, i just couldn't figure out how you make a living at it. and the thing that happens at " the new yorker" is they pay you by the word. >> seth: yeah. oh, so it's way better to do long, investigative journalism than like some real pithy caption. >> truly the more complicated, the better >> seth: so i want to ask, and by asking, obviously, investigative journalists are portrayed in television and film a great deal, often times makes it look thrilling. like a thrilling job that you have how accurate would you say those portrayals are >> wishful thinking. you know, sometimes, you feel like you're from that movie "a beautiful mind," you know, i have a whiteboard with all these things scribbled on it and if anyone walked in, they'd bring in like, you know, one of those butterfly nets to take you
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away, i think. >> seth: yeah. >> it's hard but it truly is exciting when you get a breakthrough, and you do get them, and it's like, they are real eureka moments, and it's kind of incredible >> seth: goosebumps? do you -- when you realize you have a breakthrough, you're like, "oh, my god. >> you're like -- no, you're like, "thank you." [ laughter ] >> seth: well, we're the beneficiaries of your breakthroughs as well. thank you so much for being here >> thanks for having me. >> seth: looking forward to your next article jane mayer, everybody! we'll be right back with more "late night. [ cheers and applause ♪ bundle home and car insurance and save even more? yeah, home, car, motorcycle, all bundled together. just like that breakfast burrito. so, can i get chorizo? uh, yeah, uh, metaphorically, yeah. carnitas! just chicken — just give me a bunch of chicken. or bacon? oh wait, there isn't too much hot sauce, is there? i have a — sensitive palate. i actually like hot sauce. can i get chips?
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while small tribes struggle in poverty. prop 27 is a game changer. 27 taxes and regulates online sports betting to fund permanent solution to homelessness. while helping every tribe in california. so who's attacking prop 27? wealthy casino tribes who want all the money for themselves support small tribes, address homelessness. vote yes on 27. ♪ [ cheers and applause >> announcer: the audience is back at "late night. come join us live in studio 8g for tickets head over to and for more "late night," follow us on instagram, twitter, and tiktok @latenightseth. be sure to check us out on youtube, facebook, and over at subscribe to the "late night podcast," featuring "a closer
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♪ [ cheers and applause >> seth: i want to thank my guests billy porter, jane mayer, everybody. giulliana merello and the 8g band stay safe. get vaccinated get boosted. we love you, everybody [ cheers and applause ♪ ♪ >> well it's not monkey pox nor covid. right now at 11:00


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