A few days after caking her face on Saturday Night Live, Olivia Rodrigo took a quieter approach to her outing on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert with the ballad, “Can’t Catch Me Now” — her contribution to The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes.
Rodrigo wore a white slip dress to the occasion, as she sat on a chair surrounded by mist and barren trees. By the time she got to the chorus, four musicians and backup singers were revealed in the shadows, supporting her as she performed the haunting song.
The evening marked Colbert’s return to late night after his appendix ruptured two weeks prior. The host recalled the moment he started to feel unwell, after his show with David Letterman, on Nov. 20. “I woke up the next morning, just in abdominal agony,” he said “I figured the pain would go away so I decided to do the show that night. How bad could it be? Turns out extremely bad.”
Colbert went into work the Tuesday before Thanksgiving, which in retrospect was maybe not the greatest idea. “I knew something was wrong when for the first time in nine years you had to rehearse the monologue, sitting at the desk with a barf bucket next to you,” said bandleader Louis Cato.
By taping time his appendix had apparently already burst, but the host – who filmed two shows that night – was still ignoring the severity of the situation. “Because we’d already been out for five months during the strike, and because I’d already missed a week for Covid, and most importantly, because I’m an idiot, I said, ‘Let’s just do the show,’” said the host. “But it also proves that I’m kind of brave.”
It was the cooking segment with José Andrés, where the chef grabbed the host and started dancing, that pushed Colbert over the edge. “Keep in mind, I was dying,” he said. “To be fair, no one had any idea. José had no idea how I was feeling. There was no way he could have known that at that point my insides had become what the Spanish called, ‘Paella.’”
After the show Colbert was taken to the hospital, at the insistence of his wife Evie, who received rapturous applause on Monday night. The host has spent the last two weeks recovering before returning to TV on Dec. 11.
Rodrigo, for her part, was named Storyteller of the Year at the Variety Hitmakers brunch, last week. In her acceptance speech, Rodrigo said, “Telling stories through songwriting has been my favorite thing to do for as long as I can remember. I write to figure out how I feel, to move through my emotions, and to commemorate and honor seasons of my life. I also got the chance to write a song for the new Hunger Games movie recently and it taught me how much I also loved writing songs from another person’s point of view and how fun and collaborative it can be.”