Stephen Colbert is nothing if not a giver. Addressing any parents out there in his Late Show audience—after first spending a few minutes alongside bandleader pal Jon Batiste urging Georgia viewers to register for the upcoming, Senate-redeeming runoff elections—Colbert threw to himself sitting crosslegged in comfy living room, urging parents to leave their kids alone with a middle-aged stranger for a little while. (He really does need to change this recurring segment’s name from “Stephen Takes Your Kids” to, well, literally anything else.) Consoling beleaguered parental viewers of rambunctiously quarantined children that it’s okay to just park your precious, precocious little question machines in front of the tube for a while so they can, presumably, catch a smoke/drink/quickie/primal scream break, Colbert took some time earnestly answering the parent-submitted queries of some adorable mini-viewers. (You, too, can momentarily distract your darlings by sending videos here.)
Hey, kids and late-night hosts make for unproblematic, silly, relaxing bits (and the occasional, can’t-miss holiday blockbuster idea), something not only exhausted parents can use in this time of global pandemic, political unrest (thanks to a sitting president and his at-best cowardly party trying to destroy democracy), and a year’s worth of indoor-time. Still, these kids came to play, and Colbert found his avuncular question-answering skills put to the test. There were a few gimmes—making a “nasal smoothie” out of the yogurt that inexplicably winds up in your nose is just good home economics. But one kid brought out the big guns by asking which Lord Of The Rings character would make the best avocado, a rare Tolkien question that had even LOTR scholar Colbert stumped and—oh, wait, it’s Sam. Next question, smart guy.
Still, it’s good to have backup. Particularly famous friends with good wifi and lots of time for late-night drop-ins on their hands these days. So when an adorable little girl named Julia (age 6) busted out the age-old “Hey, wait a minute . . .” about how Santa Claus can possibly deliver presents to everyone in one night, Colbert did some quick thinking by inviting Santa himself onto the feed to reassure the nosey tot not to worry her pretty little head about it. Looking suspiciously like Will Ferrell (unless Santa’s been taking this quarantine especially hard), the jolly, gruff, candy cane-smoking old elf told Julia, “How do I do it? I tell you how I do it. You don’t worry about how I do it, all right?” Wearing his traditional sleeveless Christmas hoodie and sporting a beard less all snowy and white and more “cabin fever-grizzled and prospector-dingy,”
Ferrell Santa mocked Julia’s skeptical expression concerning his holiday-time Flash speed in between candy cane exhalations of probably-not-carcinogenic snowflakes and glitter, before offering up a conciliatory thanks for all those cookies. Don’t forget the cookies, kid.