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Late-night talk show hosts join forces for WGA strike benefit podcast

Stephen Colbert, left, and Jimmy Kimmel
Stephen Colbert, left, and Jimmy Kimmel Copyright AP Photo
Copyright AP Photo
By Euronews with AP
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American late-night show hosts have joined forces to create a new podcast with all the proceeds going to the staff of their shows, off the air since the Hollywood union strikes.

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‘Strike Force Five’ has a pretty impressive line-up. Stephen Colbert, Jimmy Kimmel, Jimmy Fallon, John Oliver and Seth Meyers have teamed up for a supergroup of super late-night interviewing talent.

The new podcast debuted Wednesday on Spotify and features the talk show hosts’ first creative work since the Writers Guild of America (WGA) went on strike in May. All profits from the podcast will go to their respective staffs, with much of the money coming from sponsors Mint Mobile and liquor company Diageo.

“What would happen if five of America's Top 11 most-beloathed talk show hosts all talked on top of each other for an hour? You're about to find out," said Kimmel at the beginning of the episode.

“There wasn't a lot of communication during the last WGA strike between late-night hosts and as a result there was a lot of nonsense that went on,” he added, “so Stephen suggested we get together and we talk through our issues or whatever we're dealing with.”

Oliver asked, “Would it be fair to say that in 2008 the hosts didn't get along quite as well as we do? I know it's an incredibly low bar but that was a sequence of dying marriages that they were.”

The late-night hosts in 2008 were Kimmel, Conan O'Brien, Jay Leno, Dave Letterman, Craig Ferguson and Colbert and Jon Stewart. Kimmel said their shows were all dark but eventually Letterman and Ferguson went back on the air first “and we were all mad,” he said.

AP Photo
Members of the The Writers Guild of America picket outside Paramount Pictures on May 3, 2023, in Los Angeles.AP Photo

A lightning sound effect would play each time the words “Strike Force Five” were said and the hosts spent the hour-long episode sharing basically whatever they wanted. Meyers said their unpolished delivery was a tribute to why they really need a staff, including writers and researchers.

More wonderfully weird anecdotes included how Fallon went fishing with Kimmel over the summer in Idaho where Kimmel has a home. It was Fallon's first time fishing.

“If you think it’s confusing to talk to two Jimmys in a podcast, imagine talking to two Jimmys in a boat. Imagine being a guy just like, ‘Jimmy over here on your left,’ and we both throw it left and we both end up tangling,” said Kimmel.

This is when Meyers asked Kimmel about his A-list pals (including Jennifer Aniston, Jason Bateman and Kristen Bell,) who have been photographed visiting him in Idaho. “Kimmel, is there any truth to the rumor that you have scuba divers under the water who hook the fish to the rods of the A-listers?”

“Most celebrities don’t fish, they just kind of hang around which enrages me,” said Kimmel.

Oliver and Meyers performed a few comedy dates together where they took to the stage for a Q&A with the audience. Oliver, said Meyers, mocks the people who don't properly execute their opportunity to ask a question, by taking too long or they fumble their words. Oliver did not refute this observation.

Charles Sykes/AP
John OliverCharles Sykes/AP

Kimmel said he usually has summers off — a fact that annoys the other hosts who normally have shows — and he prefers being on vacation knowing the other hosts have to work.

“I enjoy the fact that you don’t get them that makes it all the more sweeter. I like getting the summer off better when I’m getting paid to get the summer off,” said Kimmel. “You’re not getting paid to not work when normally you are paid to not work,” Colbert responded.

Other facts included how Fallon's mom tried being a nun for a week but it wasn't for her. He says there is photo evidence of his mother wearing a habit, possibly holding a doll of a nun to which Meyers replied, “I have a picture of my dad holding a GI Joe, but I don’t think he was in the army.”

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It was agreed that if Fallon finds the nun photos, Colbert will dig up Somoza's pants.

Colbert also said he's created “code names” for the others in case he loses his cell phone. Kimmel is Crank Yanker, Fallon is Steve Allen, Meyers is Boom Chicago, John Oliver is Joliver.

“You’d have to be a pretty dumb guy who stole Stephen’s phone to not figure out Joliver,” quipped Meyers.

They ended the podcast with a promise to drop another episode “this week.” They plan to do at least 12 episodes.

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Sarah Kobos, who worked as a photo research coordinator at “The Tonight Show” said, “There hasn't been any info or communication given internally about how this works. ... That said, we are extremely grateful that the podcast says it will go towards helping staff. It is much needed!”

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