On Saturday, February 13, students milled around the basement of the Platt Student Performing Arts Center from 6-8:30p.m. Some sipped on coffee or tea, some rearranged chairs and couches and others shuffled around stacks of stapled papers. No, this was not an attempt to find a study spot other than VP during finals week—this was preparation for the live taping of The Late Night’s fourth episode.
The Late Night is Penn’s first monthly talk variety show, new this year and created by current showrunner Emma Soren (C '16). The show is filmed in front of a live studio audience, making it both a live show and an online web series. The show includes everything from a monologue to guest interviews, sketches to performers and even a few audience–involved games. This month’s Valentine’s Day–themed episode featured an interview with the producer and directors of The Vagina Monologues, a game called “Guess The Nipple" and a dating game that tried to find true love for a lucky few viewers.
The Late Night Band warming up the audience and introducing the show's host.
Those who attended the show on Saturday night or who have seen shows in the past most likely picked up on the show’s Fallon and Kimmel vibes. Daniel Locker (C '16), the show's host, worked for The Tonight Show following his junior year and now incorporates Fallon's style on The Late Night. “Being around Fallon, I really picked up his vibe and saw what worked for him,” Locker said. “It’s a lot of energy. A lot of its unconscious, that’s kinda me. I just try to bring as much energy as I can.”
Soren also recognized how Fallon inspired The Late Night team to make their content unique to Penn students. “We sort of talked about how we could do games that aren’t boring to watch,” Soren shared. “People like watching them because there are celebrities playing them, so that was a cool challenge to do. How could we come up with games that are fun to watch when it’s random students?”
Daniel Locker talking with Penn Masti, a dance group that performed on the February 13th show.
The creative bunch at The Late Night seemed to do just that—one game, Lick It or Leave, required that contestants either lick something gross or just leave. “It’s amazing what peer pressure does to people because everybody licked everything,” Locker said. “A hairball, the floor, I licked someone’s nipple. We have a nipple thing at The Late Night.”
Beyond the show’s body– part oriented antics, they are doing something few other campus clubs can pride themselves on doing—building a community. Whether you become a part of the show or a loyal audience member, there is a place for you at The Late Night, even if you are outside of Penn’s performing arts world. “We want to create this event that anyone at Penn can come to and just a community of people who like to laugh,” Soren said. “We really want to create a community that people come out to each month and try and create a fun, welcoming atmosphere.”
Daniel Locker modeling a vagina costume brought to him by the producer and directors of Vagina Monologues.
If you find yourself with nothing to do one Saturday night, head over to Platt to watch a taping of The Late Night. You might learn about a cool group on campus you hadn’t heard of before and maybe participate in a game or two, but you’ll definitely get a good laugh. Just keep your nipples protected.