James Taylor Sings “You’ve Got a Work Friend”

I had the supreme pleasure recently of getting to direct American Treasure James Taylor a short musical comedy piece with Stephen Colbert for The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, centering on Taylor’s classic song “You’ve Got A Friend”….but with lyrics more suited to an acquaintance from work.

Not surprisingly, he was an absolute gem and, as our live audience discovered, it’s pretty much just a total joy to watch James Taylor do about anything. Thanks to everyone involved for this super charming little slice of niceness.

It’s Hispanic & Latino Heritage Month! And even with all the strides that have been made for diversity across TV & film media in the past several years, Hispanic representation still leaves much to be desired.

Luckily, Late Show writer Felipe Torres Medina has a dirt-simple plan to fix that. Single-handedly, if needed.

Thanks to everyone who helped on this very silly bit, with a special shout-out to our fabulous costume & wardrobe team. Y’all are great! Written and starring Felipe Torres Medina. Produced by Emily Potthast. Directed, photographed, & edited by me.

“Wasted Time: The Rise and Fall of Clock App for iPhone”

More and more TV shows are highlighting the dramatic lives of egotistical tech founders, like The Dropout, Super Pumped: The Battle for Uber, and WeCrashed about the founders of WeWork. It’s a hot trend. Enough so that The Late Show with Stephen Colbert thought we’d get in on the action with a trailer for the latest upcoming limited series, about an app you definitely know…

Written by Pratima Mani & Carley Moseley. Produced by Emily Potthast. Directed, shot, and edited by me. And big thanks to everyone who worked on this very silly faux series trailer. I’m still blown away that we were able to pull off something at this scale in a day and a half, and I’m pretty sure we hit a new PR for number of camera setups in a day. It was super fun.

New Work: “UNTUCKit Shirts” & “ClearRights Home Test”

If you’ve heard of UNTUCKit brand shirts (a 100% real company), you might’ve thought the idea of men’s dress shirts that are “designed to look good untucked” is also just, you know…any shirt. You’d be wrong (apparently) because it’s a hugely successful company with very serious advertisements featuring a very serious founder.

However, if you’re looking for a shirt that can be tucked in, The Late Show with Stephen Colbert has a brand new sponsor that can help, and probably make you more confident than you ever should be.

Written by Gabe Gronli & Aaron Cohen. Produced by Emily Potthast. Groundbreaking costumes by Antonia Xereas. Featuring Abdul Howard, Mike Holt, and the incredibly prominent, very white thighs of Gabe Gronli. (You’re a champ and a good sport.)

Bonus thanks to the people of New York who didn’t care one single bit about anything we were shooting. You know that this is just general par for the course living in The Big Apple and good for you.

I’m both proud of (and sad that we needed to make) this piece of satire that I directed for The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, related to the Conservative arm of the Supreme Court’s decision to repeal Roe v. Wade.

A ruling that, thanks to a mess of anti-abortion laws, has now left millions of women wondering what rights they actually have where they are. Luckily (I guess) The Late Show has a new advertiser with a product just for this eventuality.

Written by Kate Sidley, produced by Emily Potthas, and featuring the wonderful Pratima Mani, Carley Moseley, Caroline Lazar, and Gabe Gronli.

“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!