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tv   Late Night With Seth Meyers  NBC  July 6, 2021 12:36am-1:36am PDT

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yeah your love can ♪ ♪ make a man feel ric on minimum wage ♪ ♪ girl your love is money your love is money yeah your love can mak a man feel rich ♪ ♪ on minimum wage ♪ [ cheers and applause >> jimmy: join us tomorrow night. kevin hart and chrissy metz will be here and we have music from st. vincent. i really wanted to say thank you so much for being here in person and thanks to my co-host, dave grohl [ cheers and applause it means a lot to me that you're here, and thank you to this great audience. [ cheers and applause thank you for coming out thanks for watching. stay tuned for "late night with seth meyers. good night, everybody. [ cheers and applause ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪
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♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ >> announcer: tonight on "late night with seth meyers." joel edgerton, author of "battle for the soul," journalist edward-isaac dovere an all new "closer look. featuring the 8g band with fred armisen and now seth meyers. >> seth: good evening, i'm seth meyers. and this is "late night. how's everybody doing tonight? oh, right, you don't want me to ask. let's get to the news. president biden yesterday called on china to participate in a, "full, transparent, evidence-based, internal investigation to find the origins of covid-19.
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said china, "honestly, can this wait we are just slammed with covid-21 err, i mean, sure, no problem. that's right, president biden called on china to participate in an investigation to find the origins of covid-19, and i just got to say, if it's not bats, we owe them a major apology it's going to be like one of those double jeopardy scenarios where they have been wrongfully blamed for a crime, so now they really do get to start a pandemic according to a new report, former president trump tried to intervene in 2008 to stop the investigation of the new england patriots' so-called "spygate scandal. wait, he was involved in that scandal, too he's like the forrest gump of scandals next, we're going to find out he was one of the 1919 black sox. british prime minster, boris johnson, reportedly considered getting the coronavirus injected in his body on live tv last summer because he thought the virus wasn't a threat who are you, prime minster
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johnny knoxville boris johnson's the only u.k. leader to come with his own theme music. ♪ the recording academy yesterday announced changes to the grammy awards' nomination process that's right, you can now be nominated if you're taylor swift or beyonce today was republican congresswoman marjorie taylor greene's 47th birthday, which is also the only accurate information on her facebook page. that's right, today was republican congresswoman marjorie taylor greene's 47th birthday. if you're wondering what to get her, how about help? and that was a monologue, everybody. we've got a great show for you tonight. he's a golden globe-nominated actor, director, and one of the stars of the very powerful series, "the underground railroad." one of my favorite guests, joel edgerton is going to be joining us and he is the lead political correspondent for "the atlantic." and his book "battle for the soul: inside the democrats' campaign to defeat trump" is out now. edward-isaac dovere will be joining me but before we get to all of
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that, republicans in arizona are pushing forward with an insane so-called audit of that state's election results, which plans to pursue similar audits in other states that joe biden won. for more on this, it's time for "a closer look." ♪ >> seth: nearly seven months after the 2020 election, republicans are still relitigating the results in a pathetic and dangerous attempt to prove that it was somehow stolen from donald trump it feels like this con is never going to end 40 years from now, i'm still going to be at this desk with a long gray hair and a scraggly beard talking the about gop's latest attempts to overturn the 2020 results in arizona, and if i'm still here, you better believe wally is going to be here, too. he'll be old enough at that point that he won't be able to hold more than one card at a time, so we'll have to write super duper small. but then because it's super small, i won't be able to read it, so i'll need those giant old man glasses with a chain around my neck. but then the light reflecting off my glasses will blind wally, so he'll have to wear those square black glasses that people with cataracts wear.
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the point is, it's a vicious circle, and it needs to stop earlier this week, for example,e company teamed up to steal the election, and who sells pillows, i assume filled with gravel and nightmares, got thrown out of a meeting of the republican governors' association after promising to confront governors about nonexistent fraud. >> according to "politico," my pillow ceo, mike lindell, was banned from a republican governors conference in tennessee. it comes after lindell went on steve bannon's radio show promising to confront republican governors brian kemp and doug ducey about unfounded election fraud claims in georgia and arizona. >> seth: i'm sure it's not the first venue lindell's been thrown out of. he's got resting thrown out face as a baby, his first words were, "but my friends are in there." [ laughter ] bars, libraries, children's birthday parti a no-go for him can you imagine lindell as a golf announcer
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he's got to avoid that front bunker." "yeah, got stay out of that or a birdie is going to be impossible okay, now he's stepping away from the ball, and he's looking over here for some reason. oh, he looks real mad, and oh, god, here he comes run, everybody the problem for republicans is they keep running up against reality. they lost somewhere around 60 court cases including in front of trump-appointed judges, who is quite literally said they had zero evidence to support their claims, and that's not an exaggeration a judge appointed by trump actually wrote in one of his rulings, "calling an election unfair does not make it so charges require specific allegations and then proof we have neither here." that sounds li would write on a paper while you argued hercule poirot was the real killer on "the orient express. and of course there were multiple recounts and audits that kept confirming the same results over and over. in georgia, they counted the votes three times, and declared biden the winner three times which gave biden an opportunity to try out a new laugh line at a
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rally in atlanta >> thank you for standing strong to make sure your voices were heard, your votes were counted, and counted, and counted again i'm starting to feel like i won georgia three times. [ cars honking ] [ cheers ] >> seth: one thing i'll kind of miss about covid era politics is all the drive-in rallies it sounds like biden was giving a pep talk to lightning mcqueen and the gang and yet republicans cannot let go they're trying to launch baseless audits and investigations around the country. and as we speak they're continuing their insane audit in arizona, where they've hired a firm that has zero background or expertise in elections >> the privatized republican recount of the 2020 presidential election results in arizona's most populous county, maricopa county, is now entering its second week. here's what it looks like from inside the lovely veterans memorial coliseum in phoenix, where this sort of dangerous and farcical enterprise is being undertaken by the republican
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controlled arizona state senate. who used their power to subpoena more than 2 million ballots just from this county, just from a democratic county. and then they handed them over to a private security firm called cyber ninjas that has no experience in elections and whose ceo, through his now deleted twitter account, extensively retweeted lies about joe biden stealing the election. >> seth: that's their name, the cyber ninjas that sounds like the name of a bowling team at a child's birthday party if you just told me the name without any context, i'd guess cyber ninjas was some sort of hot now toy you have to feed so he can grow strong and conquer the cyber dojo and then i'd be bummed because my wife would tell me to go out and get one for the boys so i'd go to k-mart and there would be one cyber ninja left on the shelf, and i'd have to wrestle it away from some old lady whose hands are weirdly strong from knitting, i guess? so then i'd have to push her down and run away with it, but she catches up to me because somehow her power walking is faster than my full-on sprinting. and then someone would snap a photo, and there would be a headline on tmz that says, "seth meyers roughed up by an old lady, found crying in k-mart parking lot. the point is, this so-called
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election audit is obviously a scam we already told you about how they were using 5k cameras to search for traces of bamboo on ballots to find out if they were smuggled in from asia. they were also using ultraviolet lights to find ballots they claim had been watermarked by trump. >> they've engaged in some rather suspect auditing methods, like using uv lights to scan ballots for fraud because there is an utterly insane conspiracy theory that donald trump watermarked the real ballots not only is that not true, there are no watermarks, but experts say the uv lights could actually damage the ballots >> seth: that's right, they think trump watermarked the real ballots. ah, yes, donald trump, master forger i don't think he's capable of that level of subtlety his golf pencil is probably a sharpie. i guarantee you trump has no idea how to watermark. now, i'm confident he knows how to diet coke mark a desk when biden got into the oval office i bet they had the scrub it down with industrial strength linseed. and on top of that, the uv light could actually damage the ballots. you know, in the name of election integrity what other genius ideas do they
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have only the real ballots will float so let's throw them in the river, if they sink it's fraud i mean, what's next? they feed the real ballots to a bunch of chickens, and then incinerate the chickens? oh -- oh, that is next wow, i'm getting good at this. because for real there are allegations, which i honestly don't fully understand that some of the ballots were, i guess, eaten by chickens and then incinerated. i don't know guys, let's just watch the clip and find out together >> a grift disguised as an audit. that is the state of the absurdist theater in arizona this morning accusations of ballots flown in from south korea allegations that chickens ate some of the ballots, and then the chickens were incinerated. you listed some of the things, whether it be checking for bamboo using the ultraviolet light, but there's other things on this list -- accusations that ballots flown in from south korea. allegations, literally, that chickens ate some of the ballots, and then the chickens were incinerated, i guess. what are some of the other crazy things that are being thrown out?
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>> i mean, that chickens one is probably pretty top of the charts >> seth: jesus, hearing news about this audit is like listening to werner herzog tell you about a dream he had "the chickens ate the ballots, and then the chickens were incinerated, reduced to dust like so much refuse. nature taking its toll the chickens gasping in their dying moments. cock-a-doodle-doo. cock-a-doodle-doo. [ laughter ] so just a recap in case you're watching this, and your brain is normal, you're therefore having trouble following. they think there's bamboo in the paper because it was smuggled in from asia. they think trump watermarked the real ballots they think hugo chavez, who died in 2013, rigged the election and they think the ballots were eaten by chickens who were then incinerated. this audit is crazier than one of those viral cooking videos where someone grinds up a
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hamburger and turns it into a milk shake and it will not surprise to you learn that the people who commissioned this audit are of course lunatics. and i'm not just talking about fringe weirdos like lindell. i mean, the president of the arizona state senate, who was tracked down by cnn this week, and gave an absolutely bonkers interview where she defended the audit. >> aren't you raising more questions by giving rise to these conspiracy theories? >> no. i'm answering questions. so let me ask you a question >> mm-hmm. >> are you 100% confident that every vote that came in, in arizona or any other state -- can you say emphatically 100% that no dead people voted? that ballots weren't filled out by other people? that the chain of custody from the minute people voted, their ballots, that the chain of custody was accurate and on target the entire time can you tell me that from day one, the entire process has been live streaming -- so anybody - >> on o.a.n, with cameras controlled by o.a.n.
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>> are you saying that o.a.n. is not a credible news source >> yes >> okay, i'll remember that. cnn is saying that o.a.n. is not a credible one >> yes >> okay. >> sen think o.a.n. is a credib news source. a couple things here one, anyone can just throw out a bunch of insane conspiracy theories, and demand proof that they didn't happen that's not a gotcha. when you make an allegation, you're supposed to provide the proof. like, if someone comes up to you on the subway and says, "can you say emphatically 100% that the cia is not using psychotropic drugs to teach rats how to steal pizza from humans? you wouldn't be like, "well, [ bleep ], you got me, dude. i guess, we better investigate honey, i'm going to be late. i'm starting a subway detective agency with the man i just met also, i did not get the cyber ninja. also, are you just finding out now that o.a.n. is not a credible news outlet this is a network that recently ran the chyron "biden hiding in basement as millions of people freeze in texas. and look, criticize biden all
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you want, but he's not hiding in a basement if anything, he exerts himself too much he jogs, rides a bike, lifts weights. the other day he floored it in an electric f-150 like a grandpa who just found out there's a sale at lowe's "hot [ bleep ] we're getting some flagstones today, baby! but that interview is a good reminder that, in addition to being craven and delusional, many of the elected republican lawmakers in congress and state legislature who make up the core of the trump cult are also just super dumb like, take texas congressman louie gohmert. side note here, i almost feel bad just saying his name, because it does sound like an anti-texan slur. look at this freakin' gohmert and his american flag crocs. gohmert, and again, sorry, who has been one of the most vocal advocates of the big lie that the election was stolen, has also lied about the january 6th insurrection last year he called for a "revolution to overturn the election." and then earlier this month he lied, and said that the actual violent insurrection that occurred at the capitol was actually not an armed insurrection >> there's no evidence, as has
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been said on january 7th, that this was an armed insurrection there have been things worse than people without any firearms coming into a building >> seth: all right, first, that's not true. weapons were used during the riot, recovered by authorities second, saying there are worse things than the thing that happened doesn't make the thing that happened a good thing he sounds like a kid explaining a party that got out of hand when his parents were out of town "look, some people came over unarmed. "someone took a [ bleep ] in the hot tub, tyler." "worse things have happened, mom! anyway, the point is, these guys are dumb, or deluded, or both, but many of them are also the core of the trump cult and the leaders of the next wave of trumpism in the gop, like matt gaetz, or marjorie taylor greene, and believe me, i don't want spend anymore time talking about her but she and matt gaetz have been going around the country, at a so-called "america first" tour, proudly championing trumpism, and the big lie that the election was stolen from him trump himself has repeatedly praised her, despite the fact that she has repeatedly defended her comparison of mask mandates
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to the holocaust, and once claimed wildfires are caused by secret jewish space lasers normally when you hear that kind of talk you're at a local community board meeting where everyone gets five minutes to raise an issue "yeah, i just want to say i think we need another metro card machine at the 7th avenue station, and also i think we should do something about the secret jewish space laser. i'd like to re -- excuse me, i'd like to yield the rest of my time to this cigarette smoking cockroach. "can you believe this mets team? [ laughter ] what's with all the injuries oh, what, no smoking indoors since when, 2003 well, if it's been that long, someone should tell the cicadas. "did someone say my name [ laughter ] it's wonderful to be back. after 17 years underground i can't wait for 17 great years above ground in the best city in the world. "oh, no! oh, i have some bad news, cicadas. "i hope it's not bad news about my life expectancy." [ laughter ]
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anyway, the new insane thing from greene that came out this week is an unearthed clip in which she argues, as a candidate for congress, that she would be against taking down hypothetical statues of hitler and satan so that we can use those statues to teach children who they were >> we're seeing situations where christopher columbus, george washington, abraham lincoln, all kinds of statues are being attacked and it seems to be just an effort to take down history. and whether i see a statue that may be something that i would fully disagree with, like adolf hitler, maybe a statue of satan, himself, i would not want to say, "take it down. but again, it's so that i could tell my children, and teach others about who these people are, what they did, and what they may be about. >> seth: ah, yes, who can forget their eighth grade field trip where we all piled into the school bus with our teachers, drove down to the town square,
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and gazed upon the statues of satan and hitler, only to realize then, after seeing them in statue form, i think these are bad guys also, as far as i'm aware, there are no statues of satan or hitler does that mean greene doesn't know who they were, or why they were bad because according to her logic, in order to learn who someone was, you need a statue of them when she watches a movie about world war ii is she confused "is this guy with the tiny mustache the bad guy and why is he so angry i need a statue to explain this to me. these are the people engaged in the a nutty and dangerous attempt to undermine the results of the 2020 election through scam audits and investigations even though recounts in court cases have repeatedly proven there was no widespread fraud. they just want to double down on trump's big lie so they can steal elections in the future. it's dangerous it's insane. the only possible upside here is that a few republicans might become vegetarians after they hear that. >> chickens ate some of the ballots.eth: this has been "a cr look." ♪
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♪ >> seth: it has been great having fred armisen leading the 8g band this week. every day we've taken this time to check in and he is usually, slightly rudely, if we're being honest, on the phone but today, we've tightly scheduled the time what is new, fred? >> fred: hey, seth, i'm just on hold >> seth: okay. ooh. >> fred: hey, is this the canadian embassy hi yeah, i just wanted to say that your building is so beautiful. it looks great but i saw this other building on figueroa, and it seems perfect for you guys that's what you should move into >> seth: who is he talking to? >> fred: yeah, on figueroa it's got these pillars and what looks like maple leaves, so i thought that would look really cool >> seth: why don't people hang up on him? >> fred: you'll do it? that's great oh, that worked out then no, please, i'm just always looking out for cool buildings hey, i'll see you there. i said, i'll see you there at the embassy i'm just joking. maybe i will visit, but -- anyway
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my pleasure. all right, great to meet you okay, bye. >> seth: our first guest tonight is a golden globe nominated actor and director you know from films such as "loving," "zero dark thirty," and "boy erased. he stars in "the underground railroad," which is streaming now on amazon prime video. please welcome back to the show, our friend joel edgerton how are you, joel? >> i'm very good, mate i've missed you. >> seth: i know. >> but i'm fine. >> seth: you know, i hope you know i'm not just blowing smoke here as happy as i am that you're on the show, it is very bittersweet that you're not here in person >> yeah. yeah, it is actually i'd love to give you a man hug and run in and have a studio audience >> seth: yeah. >> it must be pretty boring without a studio audience. >> seth: i would be giving you a man hug in congratulations you're a new dad congratulations, joel.
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[ laughter ] >> yeah, thank you i'm very excited it's one of the great silver linings of the last year, sort of a crazy terrible year for me. i'm very happy >> seth: it's a perfect, perfect silver lining. i also know that you're back in australia. thank you for waking up at the crack of dawn to talk to us. and you're back doing a project, and i imagine australia is very proud of your accomplishments, but knowing what i know about australians, they also probably want to check in with you and make sure you're not getting too full of yourself >> oh, i am. i am in fact, full to the brim, some might say. >> seth: this is very -- oh, look at that you got the mug we sent you. >> thank you, by the way thank you. [ laughter ] >> seth: this is really -- i feel like this is really helping our at-home audience, who misses being in the same room >> just trying to bring back the old feeling, you know? >> seth: hey, i want to talk to you about your tv show, but there's a show that we're sort of obsessed with here called "tiny secret whispers," which
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stars a different australian actor with the same spelling of your name pronounced joel edgerton. do you know him? >> yeah. >> seth: okay. >> i've run into him a couple of times at events, you know. you know, it took me a -- i've had a bit of a -- it's been a long ride, but i've gotten used to the idea that he's masquerading somewhat, at least on paper, as me. >> seth: has there ever been a situation where you've really wanted a part, and he's got it, but for a moment, there's confusion and you think it's yours? >> well, yeah, i mean, i did get asked to audition for "tiny secret whispers. i tried to download the pumpkin -- >> seth: butternut >> butternut -- streaming site, but i had a lot of problems with an australian credit card. and look, to be honest, i've checked out a couple of clips, and i love the actor that plays delgado.
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i'm not a fan of joel edgerton >> seth: yeah, well, that's fine i would imagine that's hard for you. i want to ask about a real tv show that you were in, the real joel edgerton. your first tv gig, you did not last long. your character, i should say, did not last long. >> no. my first acting job out of drama school, i played ben mendelsohn's younger brother, and we were holding up a video store. half the audience maybe wanted to know what a video store is. i was dead by 11:00 a.m. on my first day of the job as an actor. 11:00 a.m. >> seth: that's not great. >> i thought, this is the beginning of my career and i was in my car driving home going, "i just quit my regular job for this, and now i'm dead." >> seth: you mention ben mendelsohn
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and i first saw you in a film, "animal kingdom," where both of you didn where either of you have made it through the full run time >> no, "the king," we both die [ laughter ] spoiler alert. i think you've hit on something. i think ben and i are destined -- it's sort of romeo and juliet, right? >> seth: yeah, you are the australian romeo and juliet. >> it'd be like, "come on, mate, let's -- blah." [ laughter ] >> seth: that was a really, really good impression of ben mendelsohn as either romeo or juliet. hey, i do want to ask about "underground railroad. we'll be right back with more from joel edgerton ♪
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ahh. i was born for this. and now it's prime time. cut. jamie, what are you doing? you're not even in this one. i thought it was thursday. sorry. -it is. -i thought -- i thought it was last thursday.
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♪ [ train horn ] >> seth: welcome back to "late night. we're here with joel edgerton. obviously, this is a television show, but as the clip would prove to anybody or anyone who's watched it, it's so beautifully cinematic. did you even feel like you were making a tv show, or just feel like a big, long movie
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>> it felt like with, you know, barry jenkins at the helm and james laxton shooting it that it was like a 10-hour movie that we were making. >> seth: did you -- i mean, obviously you play a bad guy in this film, but yet, i heard it was a role that you sort of talked to barry about wanting. do you like the challenge of playing a villain? >> look, for years, i have been running around saying, i really want to play villains, and i don't necessarily think i'm any good at it you know, the idea as an actor is it's always going to be more fun to play a villain, and i heard about this project and basically stalked barry about it and then i read the book, and it's so -- the character i play, anyway, not necessarily the show in its entirety but the character i play is so evil and dark that i started to go, was this the right -- should i have stalked him before understanding what the material was? because it's a pretty heavy character.
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>> seth: barry is a film director you're also a film director. yet you sort of went up and introduced yourself to barry with the hopes of getting cast does that work with you? do people ever sidle up to joel edgerton and say they want to do your next project? >> look, i like ambitious people you know what i mean there's a time and a place for it i don't know that i picked the right time and place, like an evening event in toronto a couple of maybe vodkas under my belt, but you know, passion and ambition i think are great traits and you know, it's good to put yourself in a vulnerable position and tell someone that you really like their work you know, you've got to give it a crack. crikey >> seth: do you feel lo does bod act, do you feel like when you work with different directors you respect, you're always sort of taking things with you for the next time you go behind the camera
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>> yeah. look, i think being on set is like a place to learn from everyone as an actor, i learn from actors i work with. as an actor, i learn from other actors i work with and for example, in this show, i think it's also important to understand you can learn from children i have this incredible relationship in the show with a young actor called chase w. dillon, who plays homer, and you can learn a lot from children. i mean, if you keep your eyes and your ears open, you can steal from anybody >> seth: colson whitehead -- >> what are you, seth? [ laughter ] >> colson has been on our show and, you know, obviously is brilliant and i know from barry he visited set what's it like when someone, you know, who creates the source material comes on while you're doing the adaptation >> when colson came on set, it was -- for me, it felt like the ceo had entered the building
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there was an incredible amount of respect, appreciation for what he'd created that allowed us all, hundreds of people, to be there and a desire to want him to feel good about everything. like, the sets, the costume, and particularly for me, i'm like, do i fill the shoes of the character that you created in your own private space so it felt like, you know, it felt like a good cool ceo had entered the building >> seth: all right, now i need to ask you this just because i know you're back in australia. how long has it been since you were at the beach? >> two days. >> seth: okay. >> yeah, no, like, i go for a swim or a surf most days, but i have been a little bit busy lately >> seth: fatherhood will do that, it will take away -- it will cut into your beach time. >> it's about three minutes that way on foot. and i have a garage full of surfboards
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listen man, we're very lucky here in australia. >> seth: yeah. >> we're able to move around the country's handled it very well, and we feel very blessed and for that reason, we're allowed to go and mingle at the beach and go to restaurants and stuff. so, you know, we're very lucky >> seth: well, i'm very happy to hear that. please continue to enjoy it all safely congrats again on fatherhood, and it's always so nice to see you, buddy >> you too, mate, it's always good to see you. thank you. thank you. >> seth: you're very welcome "the underground railroad" is now streaming on amazon prime video. we'll be right back with edward-isaac dovere. ♪ “cracked windshield” take 1. ♪ you say ♪ ♪ i got a crack in my windshield... ♪ uh - uh, lisa, maybe less heartbroken? geico lets you file a claim online, over the phone
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another day, another chance. it could be the day you break the sales record, or the day there's appointments nonstop. with comcast business, you get the network that can deliver gig speeds to the most businesses, and you can get the advanced cybersecurity solutions you need with comcast business securityedge. every day in business is a big day. 'lep you ready for what's next. get started with a great offer and ask how you can add comcast business securityedge. plus, for a limited time, ask how to get a $500 prepaid card when you upgrade. call today. ♪ >> seth: our next guest is the lead political correspondent for "the atlantic" and the author of
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the new book, "battle for the soul: inside the democrats' campaign to defeat trump," which is available now please welcome to the show, edward-isaac dovere. how are you? >> hey, seth how are you? >> seth: it's nice to see you. >> thanks for having me. >> seth: i actually have been interviewed by you in the past for a podcast, so it's very nice for me to be able to turn the tables on you. i see your book behind you, but you also have -- i think this is correct -- are those the campaign buttons for all 26 democratic candidates in this last election? >> all 26 of them. it was -- you know, i was traveling around for this campaign all over the place. 29 states is what i ended up doing. iowa, new hampshire, all these places and the way that i tried to keep my sanity was like, i'm going to make a collection of these buttons. and so there they all are. you can see the top one is marianne williamson. that's the craziest one. it's her face. most of them are a little bit more standard than that, and it builds up. i don't know if you can quite see it in the shot behind those flowers, but there's a ticket from the inauguration, from the
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biden/harris inauguration. i felt like that was -- this is what it was all leading to, so that's where it all goes to. >> seth: you chose to write this book in real time as you covered the campaigns as opposed to waiting until it was over to write it what made you decide to do it that way >> so i decided to write this book in 2018 we sold the book in 2018 and it said in the proposal for the book that publishers were interested in, this is going to be the craziest election that has ever happened and probably the most important election in the history of america i knew that that was the case already without knowing obviously anything about the pandemic, anything about what happened after george floyd, the economic crisis, the democracy crisis we're in. so the proposal got more true after i sold it, but it was already clear that the existential crisis the democrats were going through once trump won, it's just such a crazy collection of things that were happening. and i could see 26 buttons up there.
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i thought there would be max 16 people running. but i could tell that these were interesting people, and to get into these characters and use them as way to tell the story of what was going on with the democrats was really interesting to me. and it made it so that i didn't sleep a lot over the last year trying to do my day job and writing this book, but there it is >> seth: i think one of the other things that people wouldn't have predicted based on the early debates is that we would end up with a successful biden/harris ticket. you write a lot about how they had some contentious moments on stage. are you surprised at how it resolved itself? >> well, you go back to that first primary debate where she went after him said, "i believe you're not a racist," and then really just clotheslined him about his record on busing and then the biden campaign was enraged by this. and i report in the book that biden standing on stage was so annoyed about what happened that he turns to pete buttigieg standing next to him, and he says, "well, that was some [ bleep ] bull[ bleep ]. and buttigieg doesn't really know biden at that point
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he's like, "well - it's pete buttigieg, who you've met. right? it really hit him. and the rage was so much over this that a couple of weeks later, i was myself talking to biden outside of an event that he was doing in dearborn, michigan, and he was like, "oh's that's really nice, not calling me a racist. but what i got out in the book, that i had not known until i started reporting for the book, is that jill biden was on a phone call with some supporters a little bit after the debate, and she was so mad you forget sometimes, jill biden in these elegant dresses, underneath is like the philly girl right? and she said, you know, "with the life that he's led, the work , to stand up there and you call him a racist? go [ bleep ] yourself. [ laughter ] >> seth: so they -- you know, for people who might not know what opposition research actually means, but you write that, you know, based on this biden went so far as to -- did he go through with putting together opposition research for kamala >> yeah, these are research that
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people who go through tax records and every possible public thing and private thing a person's ever done with the intention of finding bad stuff and the biden campaign had not -- and you know, we can forget about it given all that's happened over the last two years, but this time two years ago, the biden campaign was not in great shape, and they did not think to get a full opposition research about all of their rivals, including harris when this happens, they say, uh-oh, and they right away order from an opposition researcher who already prepared something two days after the debate they say, all right, we're going to need that, and paid a lot of money for it >> seth: the book ends with you having a conversation with president biden but obviously not in person, which is how most of this reporting would happen in a different era what was the timeline of when you were speaking with him, and what was that like >> well, so it's crazy, right? it was covid restrictions. i spent a lot of time covering biden. he's a very hands-on person, right? but we were over the phone, and we were on the phone february 2nd
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the interesting thing about that is that it was both his late son beau's birthday, as it happened, and it was right before he signed the executive orders that got rid of the trump executive orders so at the end of the conversation, he said to me, "i've got to go. i've got to sign these executive orders this is important. i said, "that's fair." but when we got on the phone, and it was a little bit of chitchat and i said to him, "so, what's it like? have you gotten used to being in the oval office and waking up upstairs?" and he said to me, "you know, the oval office, i've been here a lot. i was here almost every day for eight years, but upstairs, you know, i sometimes can't find my clothes. nobody told me that moving was part of this, man. and i said to him -- because i don't know, it's the way i am in interviews with people i said, "well, you're the one who wanted this job. and he said to me, "you know, someone said to me i'm like that dog that caught the car after running for so long. he says, "no, i caught the bus i'm the dog that caught the bus. >> seth: you also talk about,
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you know, that there was this existential crisis with the democratic party after 2016. obviously it caught not just them but i think a lot of people off guard. do you feel like the party knows what it is now, or do you feel like they won this election by, you know, a hair's breath and they'll be -- the same thing will happen in the future? >> i don't think the same thing will happen, but i don't think it's done. it's not like the book ends. and it's like, the end, and everybody rides into the sunset or whatever. the best way that i guess i could describe it is it's like the end of the first "star wars" movie, and i'm not a real "star wars" aficionado, but the death star gets destroyed, but that's not the end. there's a -- the empire is still there. there is another death star that gets built part of what's going on in this book is explaining what happened over these four years. all the things that were going on in the democratic turmoil and some of it's resolved, and some of it is not resolved at the end. and of course biden and the democrats didn't do as well as they thought they might.
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they thought that they were going to be in a clear win in the senate, and they weren't going to lose as many house seats as they did in november, and that in itself is a big problem for the democrats and looking what's going forward and then of course trying to figure out socialism, moderates, progressivism, what does biden believe, how do any of these things work? and all of it with the midterms already starting to stare down at people. >> seth: also i'd like to take a second to say, it's still shocking to me that the best "star wars" could do was come up with a bigger death star >> you know, you should take that up with george lucas. that's not for me, so -- >> seth: thank you so much for being here congrats on the book it's really nice talking to you again. >> thanks, seth, i appreciate it >> seth: "battle for the soul: inside the democrats' campaign to defeat trump" is available now wherever books are sold, but please support your local and independent bookstores we'll be right back with more "late night. ♪
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[ cheers and applause ♪ >> seth: every wednesday and friday we release a podcast edition of "late night" so you can catch up on the go it's audio from the show and includes "a closer look," comedy bits, and guest interviews plus extra things exclusive for the podcast, like bonus backstage interviews, chats with the "late night" staff, original comedy sketches, and more. head to to subscribe and it's free, which is great.
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todd! hey, wait. i can't just stay here and wait for you to figure out what you want. i just need a little more time. how are you still so unsure of this steven? what am i supposed to do? leave my family? -yes, people do it every day. -stop overthinking it steven! book the bachelor party in vegas! thanks, captain obvious. wow, your pectoral muscles are outstanding. -what? -what?
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♪ >> seth: i want to thank my guests, joel edgerton and edward-isaac dovere. i want to thank fred armisen and the 8g band. stay tuned for lilly singh stay safe. wear a mask. get vaccinated we love you. and take this weekend to support your local restaurants ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪


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