Ted Lasso’s Jason Sudeikis may, in fact, be Ted Lasso. At least that’s the feeling you get when watching the former Saturday Night Live star make his way through the cold and treacherous post-SNL world. On Tuesday’s Late Show With Stephen Colbert, Sudeikis was all Ted Lasso enthusiasm and supportiveness, happy to reflect his overwhelming success onto everyone around him, from his co-stars and crew, to the beleaguered members of England’s real life national soccer team, to Colbert himself. Hell, the guy even helped Colbert find adoptive homes for some heart-meltingly adorable puppies, for crying out loud.
Coming out in a TV-bleeding psychedelic sweater (it was no Golden Globes hoodie, but, still), Sudeikis accepted host Colbert’s praise for Ted Lasso’s staggering 20 Emmy nominations (along with the show’s Peabody, Golden Globe, and SAG Award wins) with some Lasso-esque comparisons. Calling his TV team’s well-deserved plaudits “lovely,” the Colossal star told fellow Second City improv standout Colbert, “We work in the ensemble arts,” adding, humbly, “It’s a team, and the whole team wins.” Throwing in a little Coach Ted metaphor, Sudeikis compared his central role in the series to “the disco ball that the light shines on,” noting happily, “we just spin around and people get to dance.”
On that note, Sudeikis demurred at Colbert’s praise for the “Jadon, Marcus, Bukayo” shirt he wore to the Ted Lasso season two premiere. Noting that “I’m just wearin’ a shirt,” Sudeikis praised the three English national team stars (Jadon Sancho, Marcus Rashford and Bukayo Saka) who became the object of all-too-predictable knuckle-dragging racist ire when the three young Black men weren’t able to score on penalty kicks in England’s Euro Final double-overtime loss to Italy. (And—equally upsetting to racist assholes the world over—took a knee to protest racism.) Using the Lasso-esque euphemism “a lot of guff” to describe the bigoted shitstorm that greeted these three athletes, Sudeikis was, however, unsparing in condemning the dispiritingly inevitable flood of racist abuse hurled by the British soccer hooligan ranks.
Noting that Ted Lasso is “rooted in despising things like bullying and racism,” Sudeikis said that, since the three footballers surnames were perpetually plastered on their jerseys, he chose to spotlight “the names their parents gave them.” “They’re kids,” stressed Sudeikis, in coach-speak, “They’re young men. They should have the opportunity to succeed and fail—and tie—like everyone.” And, just in case anybody doubted his inspirational, nice guy cred, Sudeikis also decried the exclusion of another Black athlete from the upcoming (assuming they happen at all) Summer Olympics in Tokyo. Agreeing with Colbert that marijuana “isn’t a performance-enhancing drug,” Sudeikis referenced his turn playing coach to a fictional Jesse Owens, Sudeikis obliquely called the suspension of U.S. sprinter and odds-on gold medal favorite Sha’Carri Richardson some bullshit. Okay, he actually said, “I’m bummed we don’t have our full squad, especially on the ladies’ side,” but that’s Ted Lasso/Jason Sudeikis for you.
Season two of Ted Lasso premieres on Apple TV+ on Friday.