For Stephen Colbert’s sake, let’s hope Emmy voters have been tuning in to his show the last few days, because there’s no denying the host is on a hot streak.
First there was his evisceration of the honchos at MTV who left him stranded without scheduled guest Daft Punk, then there was the viral “Get Lucky” dance party, followed by a mic-dropping rebuke of the conspiracy theorists who suggested the whole incident was an elaborate publicity stunt.
Colbert capped off a stellar week Thursday by putting a twisted spin on the shopworn celebrity interview format, chatting with Matt Damon — who also had a delightful cameo in “Get Lucky” boogie session — about his new movie, “Elysium,” while pinned under a fallen Coke machine.
“Uh, what?” you ask. Well, allow us to explain.
After a segment in which he mused on the recent spate of lifesaving Hollywood heroes (e.g. Kate Winslet and John Malkovich), Colbert paused to get himself a refreshing soft drink and soon found himself on the losing end of a very heavy vending machine.
“Help! Help! Somebody famous!” he cried out, promptly rejecting an offer of assistance from lowly Jay the Intern.
That’s when, like a guardian angel, Damon appeared.
“This is so great. I’ve always wanted to be saved by a big star,” Colbert said. “You are big, right?”
“Yeah, however Hollywood’s measuring that this week,” Damon replied, nobly attempting to lift the machine.
“Well, it’s usually based on box-office revenue,” explained Colbert, who was less than pleased to learn Damon’s movie was the serious-minded “Promised Land.”
“Yeah … I, like … I, I heard good things,” he said, unconvincingly.
What followed was an unlikely but inspired riff on the fickle standards of Hollywood stardom, in which Damon was forced to prove himself famous enough to be worthy of rescuing Colbert.
The host was disappointed to learn that it had been several years since Damon had appeared in a Jason Bourne movie. He also wasn’t impressed by the actor’s Emmy nomination for “Behind the Candelabra,” nor was he buying the claim that “it’s not TV, it’s HBO.”
“Matt, it’s TV,” he said. “I’m talking about wide release, major markets, CGI ....”
Once Colbert heard that Damon was starring in “Elysium,” a big popcorn summer movie, he perked up visibly — whipping out the requisite blue note cards and asking all the usual canned questions about the making of the film, even as blood flowed from his mouth.
Damon, too, shifted in to movie-star-talk-show mode, settling in to the soda machine as if it were Jay Leno’s couch and cheerfully reciting the usual banalities about his costars while Colbert began to lose consciousness.
Colbert even managed to get in one last plug for “Elysium”: “I can’t wait to go see it as soon as you get this vending machine off my internal organs.”
Unfortunately, it may be a while. Just as the interview wrapped, Damon rushed off to help his friend, Jimmy Kimmel, whose head was stuck in a mayonnaise jar.
All in a day’s work.