Coming out to some welcome applause from Wednesday’s Late Show audience, Elizabeth Banks told Stephen Colbert that she’s still not used to being around so many people. “I am afraid,” laughed Banks, “of everyone breathing,” with Colbert assuring his guest that he, along with everybody allowed into the Ed Sullivan Theater these days, is thoroughly and responsibly vaccinated against COVID. Banks relaxed into her first in-person Late Show appearance since the pandemic began soon enough, proceeding to do her level best to make Colbert and the CBS censors fidget with some frank and occasionally network-censored sex talk.
That’s the mission behind multi-hyphenate Banks’ latest media project, her sex education Audible podcast, My Body, My Podcast. It’s an enterprise the actress, producer, director, wine company chief creative officer, and newly minted game show host (“No whammies!,” Banks exclaimed, giving the uninitiated a hint as to her other new gig) was clearly excited to promote, spending both of her Late Show segments talking turkey about her own continuing education about human sexuality. “To the clitoris!,” Colbert ultimately and appreciatively joined in toasting, with Colbert and Banks hoisting a few cans of that Banks-approved wine.
But before that, Banks was characteristically forthright in getting Colbert to flush a little behind the ears with all the sex talk, telling Colbert that’s it’s about time that kids (and former kids) get over all the shame and secrecy concerning their own bodies and what they do. “If you say, ‘stork,’ then, later on, they’re going to ask, “Well, what else has she lied to me about?,’” Banks told Colbert, explaining that, as mother to a pair of (barely) pre-pubescent boys, she’s already been practicing what she preaches. And, sure, as she admitted to Colbert, the big sex talk was a little uncomfortable, but, taking her own “continuing education” on the subject as evidence that mom and dad are better sex ed teachers than pornography and schoolyard misinformation, Banks explained that putting names to various body parts and functions is preferable, even if she had to resort to hand-gestures on occasion.
Wondering if CBS was going to blur out her tried-and-true “index finger entering an okay sign” double-handed motion, Banks told Colbert that it’s not just kids who need to get the full picture. As it turns out, CBS let the gesture slide, although they did, inexplicably, bleep out the word “ejaculating” (possibly “ejaculate”) when Banks described her memories of her mom showing her the venerable NOVA documentary The Miracle Of Life. (Thus illustrating that Banks is not wrong about America’s desperate need to grow the hell up.) Touting the widely-watched documentary’s no-nonsense illustration of human reproduction, Banks extolled the virtues of hearing trusted actor and frequent Late Show guest John Lithgow narrate the actual moment of conception (climactic whoosh sound effects and all), an experience that, one has to imagine, is still a little jarring for Dexter fans. (Also, Lithgow actually did the voice-over for NOVA’s sequel documentary Life’s Greatest Miracle, but who’s splitting zygotes here?)
Telling Colbert that men need to start getting over themselves so that they, too, can take a more active role in teaching their children (and themselves) about the still too-often taboo realities of sexuality, Banks touted My Body, My Podcast’s continuing journey into the subject. Banks’ mom is a regular guest on the show discussing how she admirably sat young Elizabeth down for the real talk, while Banks said her dad did his best, considering. Breaking out the canned wine to conclude the interview, host and guest then, indeed, toasted the clitoris, which is not a bad way for most late-night interviews to end, honestly.