THE LATE NOW has been described by its creators as "The Tonight Show as hosted by a caffeine- and absinthe-addled Marcel Duchamp." And it's impressive how close host Leo Daedalus and his gang of collaborators come to approximating that kind of experience. The monthly variety show has an anarchic air, mashing together experimental poetry, dangerous cooking demonstrations, dance, and music, while keeping room for improvisation and random accidents.
AGENDA: How did you come up with the concept for The Late Now?
LEO DAEDALUS: The Late Now, for me, is about connecting and collaborating with people from different creative disciplines. I also have a morbid fascination with late-night shows. It seemed like the perfect format to bring people from all these different disciplines together, sometimes in collaboration, but often just to juxtapose them. This was the show that I always wanted to see on late-night TV, but it doesn't exist. So I figured I might as well make it myself.
For such a freewheeling show, is much of it planned or rehearsed?
I'm a diehard improviser. I thrive on not really knowing what's going to happen next. We plan the structure so we can come up with a satisfying rhythm for the show, and there are some rehearsed pieces, but otherwise, everything is improvised. The wheels could come off of this at any time. You don't want them to actually come off, but it's fun to watch it wobble. The prime directive is connecting. I really want to connect with the room and the people that I'm onstage with. And for me, the connection is at its highest when everyone is on their toes.
Who would be your ideal guest on The Late Now?
I'm going to answer that question upside down, and say that I would love to be doing this show five nights a week. The most difficult thing about doing the show is limiting it to what we can put into two hours, once a month. Choosing just a couple of guests, and not the 75 I would love to have on... that is very painful to me.
What do you have in the works for your next edition?
We're going to go with an "April Is The Cruelest Month" theme. We are talking about having some urban moonshiners [as guests], people who are distilling alcohol under the table. This ties in with a conversation I was having with a mixologist about how you can test the proof of alcohol by seeing how it reacts to gunpowder. We have a regular segment called Danger Kitchen, and we're talking about doing that testing with gunpowder. This show might veer into the not-quite-legal, "Don't tell the fire marshal" territory.
The Late Now runs every First Thursday (with occasional variations) at Vie de Bohème, 1530 SE 7th, 7:30 pm, $10-20, thelatenow.com