Monday’s “The Late Show” treated viewers to a delightful surprise, courtesy of Daniels, the Oscar-nominated directors of “Everything Everywhere All at Once,” who whipped up a delightful and absolutely bonkers opening credits sequence for the show that we kind of wish could be used forever.
The bit began when the show ditched the usual cold open gag for a clip in which host Stephen Colbert explained that his dog had eaten the show’s normal opening credits. (Yes, the scene cuts to the dog, who is eating out of a bowl labeled “opening credits” next to his normal food bowl.)
Then came Daniels — the professional name used by directing partners Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert — to unveil their replacement opening credits sequence. Colbert listed some of his favorite moments from “Everything Everywhere All at Once,” and hoped the duo would deliver something similar. But alas.
“We didn’t do any of that for this,” Scheinert said.
“Yeah, we figured it’s been a long day, the audience is probably tired and could use a break,” Kwan added.
“You can’t enjoy yourself if you don’t feel rested,” Scheinert said.
“We went with something more calm. Meditative,” Kwan explained. And he wasn’t kidding. It begins with chill, synth-heavy music playing over footage of a flower floating in a puddle, as an eerily calm voice promised, “It’s ‘The Late Show With Stephen Colbert.'”
After announcing the show’s guests — over very stark, moody footage — the announcer added some other unexpected details about Monday’s show. “And special activity: Reconnecting with a childhood friend over the phone.”
“Plus, the life-changing realization that you are enough, and always have been,” the narrator continued. “And a full hour of watching a mushroom grow out of a fallen tree. To acknowledge the beauty in the fact that everything, including you, must one day die in order for more life to form. Because death and growth are interconnected.”
At this point Colbert interrupted by stopping the opening. “It’s, uh – it’s cool,” he told Daniels. “It’s just a terrible opening for my show.”
“We needed energy, OK? I wanted explosions, I wanted fights, I wanted somebody to kick through a wall!” Colbert added.
At this point a stagehand told Colbert it was too late, the show had already started and the audience was waiting.
“What do we do?” Kwan asked. “You could just not do the show,” Scheinert suggested.
“No. I’m not gonna let these two inexperienced man-children ruin my show just because this is the multiverse where they suck,” Colbert replied. He then started barking orders to his staff. But as he approached the set, he was informed the audience was “more pumped up than ever before.” And Colbert realized it’s because Daniels’ opening sequence worked.
Remembering he wanted someone to kick through a wall, Colbert decided he’d do it — only to end up killing himself when he smashed against it. Except don’t worry, it was just his stunt double. Then, realizing the stunt double had accidentally kicked the wrong part of the wall, Colbert proceeded to kick his way into “The Late Show” set and start the show.
It was weird and a ton of fun and honestly, we feel pretty relaxed, too! Bring Daniels back for more please.