“NFT Heist”

With NFTs the becoming the future of the art market, they’re also the new frontier for art thieves. And with more and more high profile NFT thefts being reported, it’s only a matter of time before Hollywood tries to adapt NFTs into a new high-octane heist movie. Unfortunately, that time is now…

I directed & edited this short heist film about stealing NFTs, for The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, and I could not be more proud of & thrilled how it turned out. I had an absolute ball lampooning this style of movie from the look, camera movement, costumes, hair/makeup, to the location, sound, and more. The team absolutely killed it with this one, and one million claps to everyone that helped put it together and in the can in an incredibly short amount of time.

Written by Jay Katsir & Gabe Gronli. Produced by Emily Potthast. Cinematography by Evan Jake Cohen. Scenic design by Brendan Hurley. Costumes by Antonia Xereas. Major thanks to everyone in hair, makeup, wardrobe, lighting, carpentry, props, SFX, and more. And a special kudos to Ryan Mauskopf for creating the “world’s most valuable NFT” (which is both beautiful and complete garbage simultaneously), and to our steadicam operator Kyle Fasanella, who was on his feet pretty much the entire shoot and it looks AMAZING.

Also, starring Gary Lee Mahmoud, Asher Perlman, Nahar Aminof, Joomin Hwang, Athena Reddy, David E. Chen & Talib Babb.

UPDATE: Thanks for the shoutouts, Mashable, BoingBoing, AOL, Investing.com, and of course…The Crypto Times.

“Jazz Cowboy: Cyber” with Paul Giamatti

A couple of years ago, I shot & directed a trailer for a fake spinoff show from The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, called “Jazz Cowboy”, that featured our house band drummer Joe Saylor fighting street crime with jazz percussion instruments. It’s was totally dumb, but was one of my favorite bits I’ve made at The Late Show, and even featured Samuel L. Jackson in a cameo as the Police Commissioner (which was…wow).

Now, we’re proud to premiere yet another spinoff to THAT fake spinoff series, where it’s exactly the same thing, but now the Jazz Cowboy fights CYBER crime with jazz percussion instruments. Oh and it features Academy Award Nominee Paul Giamatti (what?!). Please enjoy the entirely unnecessary “Jazz Cowboy: Cyber”.

This one was just so much fun to shoot and we had an absolute ball leaning into just about every dumb “cyber” trope we could think of (from “Mr. Robot” to “Hackers” to “Johnny Mnemonic” & “The Lawnmower Man”). It was a massive pleasure, and per usual, incredible kudos and accolades to our wardrobe, hair, makeup, scenic, props, lighting teams. We did SO MUCH with so little time and space. Y’all are the cybery-est!

Written by Gabe Gronli. Produced by Emily Potthast. Starring Gabe Gronli, Carley Moseley, Talib Babb, and of course the inimitable Jazz Cowboy himself: Joe Saylor.

“Hanukkah Movies!”

Every year, channels like Hallmark and Lifetime release dozens and dozens of new original Christmas movies. This year is no different, but there’s a disturbing trend no one is talking about: there are still virtually ZERO Hanukkah movies.

Luckily, The Late Show with Stephen Colbert is here to right that wrong by releasing a whole slate of new Hanukkah movies, that definitely aren’t just ripoffs of existing trends but with Hanukkah haphazardly tossed in… Definitely not.

Written by Eliana Kwartler & Asher Perlman. Produced by Emily Potthast. With exceptional work, as always, from our scenic, props, costume, wardrobe, hair, makeup, and lighting departments. You’re all mensches!

“Covid Agent”

COVID-19 has been tough for most industries. But in the entertainment biz, there’s always somebody looking at problems and seeing an opportunity. Unfortunately, a lot of those people are also talent agents.

The Late Show with Stephen Colbert presents a first-ever “100% real” look at the talent agents that represent the coronavirus.

Written by (and starring) Gabe Gronli, and featuring Michael Cruz Kayne and Pratima Mani. Produced by Emily Potthast.

And special thanks to Deadline Hollywood for giving this bit an exclusive sneak peek online before it aired on TV!

Surprise! I Won An Emmy!

So I went to L.A. and WE WON AN EMMY!

It’s wild and it came as a bit as a surprise, but I’m now an Emmy Award-winner for Outstanding Variety Talk Special (Live) for our Stephen Colbert’s Election Night 2020: Democracy’s Last Stand Building Back America Great Again Better 2020 (Yes, that’s the real title and also yes, it is the longest title in Emmy winning history. Double win!)

As a show, we were nominated that night for three awards, the first two of which we lost (again) to the fine people over at Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (seriously, they’re lovely). So, even though there was one more award to announce for us for Outstanding Variety Live Special, by the third hour of the ceremony, we weren’t really expecting anything.

Which just made the reveal of Stephen’s name being read out loud that much more amazing! (more…)

“Excuses Song” with Stephen Colbert, Jon Batiste, & Stay Human

With the world opening back up, people are getting together. So what do you do now when you need to get out of plans? Luckily, Stephen Colbert, Jon Batiste, and friends have a whole mess of excuses you can use, plus a HOT NEW JAM to help you remember them.

Excited to finally share this music video I directed, DP’d, and edited for The Late Show with Stephen Colbert about excuses you can use to get out of plans with friends – featuring Stephen Colbert, Jon Batiste, and our whole house band Stay Human – and I think it might be the most visually ambitious thing I’ve shot to date, and also VERY stupid.

This was definitely some of the most fun I’ve had visually since I started working here. It was a blast to have an excuse to throw just everything at the camera. (Colors! Lighting tubes everywhere!) And also my first time shooting anamorphic, which was – no surprise – incredibly fun. (Flares in every shot! MORE flares!)

Big thank yous to Michael Cruz Kayne for writing the lyrics, Louis Cato for the music, and Emily Potthast for producing. And MAJOR thanks to our costume, wardrobe, hair, makeup, lighting, scenic & props teams for bringing some SOLID late ’90s / early 00’s vibes to this jam. It was a big one!

Thanks to everyone on the Late Show team and an extra shout-out to my producer Emily who’s also responsible for pitching this bit in the first place and really pushed it into reality. Thank you, Em! We had so much fun! It was totally worth it.

UPDATE: Thanks for the shout-outs, Variety & Entertainment Tonight!

Emmy Nominations!

Super excited to announce that I’ve been nominated for TWO Primetime Emmy Awards this year!

This has been my first season credited as both a segment director and a producer on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert which made me eligible for Emmy considerations for the first time.

I’m nominated, along with my fellow coworkers, for Outstanding Variety Talk Series for The Late Show with Stephen Colbert on CBS, as well as Outstanding Variety Talk Special (Live) for our live election night special Stephen Colbert’s Election Night 2020: Democracy’s Last Stand: Building Back America Great Again Better 2020 (yep, that’s the full title) which aired on Showtime.

I’m just so incredibly, truly grateful to have been lucky enough to have hitched my wagon to this train and gotten to go along for the ride, and to have gotten to make some exceptionally silly comedy to help process the bizarreness of the last several years. I’m so proud of all my fellow co-workers and nominees for all of the work we’ve done over the past several years, but DEFINITELY the past year. What a wild season it’s been.

Huzzah! Here’s sending good vibes to everyone for a win, and if you’re a voting member of the Academy, then please vote for us and send the vibes. Onward and upward, y’all!

Post-Pandemic Party Do’s And Party Don’ts

It’s been a long while since most of us interacted with big groups of strangers at parties, so you might be a little rusty in your social skills. Luckily, The Late Show with Stephen Colbert has a handy instructional film that can clear the whole process up for you. Probably.

I had a lot of fun directing & DP’ing this 1950’s-style instructional film for The Late Show and leaning very heavily into the scratchy, beat-up nature of the picture and sound, along with all the incredible work from our scenic design, props, costume, wardrobe, hair, makeup, & COVID safety teams for really making my Dick Van Dyke Show, mid-century sitcom dreams come true.

Enjoy the dumb jokes and subjective anxiety trip near the end. Kudos, everyone!

Hungry Man Dinners For Women

There are a lot of brands that pander to women during Women’s History Month. This is another one.

I had a super fun time directing this fake “Hungry Man Dinners for Women” ad for The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, which was also my first time directing back on-set in-person in 2021. Thank you to our COVID compliance officer and whole production team for keeping us all safe on set.

And major thanks to Nicole Conlan for writing (and acting on-camera), Emily Potthast for producing (and ALSO acting on-camera), Abbi Crutchfield (for just acting), and our production design team for absolutely killing it with the look and packaging. I’m so excited on how the visuals on all this turned out!

(I also still cannot BELIEVE that CBS ad sales let us get away with this. I guess Hungry Man doesn’t advertise much in late night!)

“The Queen’s Gambit”, but it’s about a Rubik’s Cube now.

After the runaway success of The Queen’s Gambit on Netflix, studios have started clamoring to develop media from other successful “games”, and have now greenlit a Rubik’s Cube movie (this is completely true) and a Rubik’s Cube game show (again, ACTUALLY TRUE, I promise you).

But who’s gonna make a 14-part limited series for streaming? Luckily, Stephen Colbert has already gotten started on a new prestige drama that mixes elements of The Queen’s Gambit — with a strong desire to make a lot of money off the popularity of The Queen’s Gambit.

As expected, treating something this dumb very seriously is… of course, still very dumb.

Major thanks to everyone at The Late Show with Stephen Colbert that helped to pull this off. Not only in the realm of extreme production value that came from our awesome hair, makeup, and wardrobe teams – but in the fact, that we shot this entire sketch on greenscreen in New York in a matter of four hours – and that I remotely directed the whole thing over Zoom from Tennessee.

I can’t even believe working like this is possible these days! I am beyond excited at the quality of images that we were able to create, and it’s a testament to how great our team is that we were able to do it with ease and for it to be so much fun. Thank you and and thrilled to continue to work with y’all!

UPDATE: Got a really lovely shout-out from The A.V. Club & Scriptnotes podcast! Thanks, y’all!