Taylor Tomlinson’s ‘After Midnight’ makes quiet debut: ‘Mediocre’ and ‘unwatchable’

Taylor Tomlinson’s ‘After Midnight’ makes quiet debut: ‘Mediocre’ and ‘unwatchable’



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There’s a new face on late-night TV, but she’s not winning over audiences just yet. 

Since James Corden made his exit from “The Late Late Show” on CBS, he has been replaced by comedian Taylor Tomlinson, 30. 

Her new show, “After Midnight,” quietly premiered on CBS on Tuesday, Jan. 16 (technically Wednesday morning), at 12:37 am, following “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert.”  

Corden, 45, used to occupy that time slot, hosting “Late Late” from 2015 until 2023, and he revealed that following his stint on CBS, he will shift his focus to theater work. 

Tomlinson — who has 2.6 million TikTok followers and two Netflix stand-up specials (2020’s “Quarter-Life Crisis” and 2022’s “Look at You”) — succeeded Corden, but her show appears to be stumbling out of the gate. 

Taylor Tomlinson is taking over James Corden’s timeslot. CBS
Taylor Tomlinson is the newest face in late-night TV. WireImage

“I really like Taylor Tomlinson, but I don’t think After Midnight is gonna work out. It’s frantic, pointless, and the comedians spend most of the show forcing themselves to laugh at each others’ mediocre jokes,” one fan commented on X (formerly Twitter). 

“After Midnight” began with Tomlinson not giving a monologue like a typical late-night show, but rather jumping straight into a game-show format with little setup or fanfare. 

“I’m Taylor Tomlinson and this is ‘After Midnight, where three comedians enter, one wins and two will regret participating,” she said in the opening of the series premiere.

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“We’re taking the internet and desperately trying to make it fun. It’s going to be fun, right?” 

Although she was joking, saying that she was “desperately trying to make it fun” did reek of desperation, especially since it wasn’t very funny. 

Taylor Tomlinson at the Emmys with Stephen Colbert and John Oliver. Rob Latour/Shutterstock
Fans weren’t impressed with Taylor Tomlinson’s game show format. RAMONA ROSALES

Three comedians – Whitney Cummings, Aparna Nancherla and Kurt Braunohler – then stepped up to play a game where panelists made jokes about pop culture and current events. 

In a segment titled “Group Chat,” Tomlinson shared trending stories for the panelists to make jokes about. For instance, she shared a viral tweet where somebody complained about their bartender Googling how to make a vodka soda. She poked fun at herself by saying, “How embarrassing, right? It’s not like I just Googled how to host a late night show!” 

She then prompted her three guests to say what they would never want to see somebody Googling, in the moment (their answers included circumcision, and “Anesthesia – before or after?”). She also showed a photo of the world’s biggest cruise ship, and asked the panelists, “What brand new disease will it introduce to the world?” (Their answers included “Type 2 scabies: sexy rabies”). 

Panelists Kurt Braunohler, Aparna Nancherla, and Whitney Cummings. CBS
Taylor Tomlinson’s new show immediately followed “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert.” REUTERS

In another segment called “Hashtag Wars,” panelists were prompted to invent “lesser known TV shows,” such as “Bottom Chef” and “NCIS: Modesto.” (The panelist’s answers included, “Sex in the City of Hoboken,” and “Rand Paul’s Drag Race”). 

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On the show, Tomlinson herself described “After Midnight,” as, “Kind of a talk show where there’s no conversation. It’s a game show but the points are fake. It’s vanity project, but it somehow makes me look worse.”

Sure enough, some viewers were not impressed. 

“I thought ‘after midnight’ the show that taylor tomlinson is hosting is supposed to take over james’ late late show. i thought it was going to be a talk show like james’ not a game show… am i the only one confused?” another disgruntled fan said. 

“I know it’s in its infancy but IMO @midnight needs to start with a short, A- block monologue so people understand @taylortomlinson humor, plus it would connect her to the audience better. Then move into the game show portions,” another viewer wrote. 

“For me, the first episode of ‘After Midnight’ with comedian Taylor Tomlinson (following The Late Show with Stephen Colbert) was unwatchable. I hope I’m wrong about it,” another viewer commented. 

Fans slammed “After Midnight” as “frenetic.” Getty Images
Viewers called “After Midnight” mediocre and “pointless.” CBS

Many fans who slammed the show even expressed that they liked Tomlinson, and hoped that “After Midnight” would be better. 

“I think Taylor Tomlinson is both funny and pretty. She truly needs to work on her speaking voice and figure out how to make the show less frenetic instead of a long version of a SNL skit. Every new show is a work in progress and I wish her and producer Colbert lots of luck,” another fan commented

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It’s not unusual for a new talk show host to stumble at first – “Kelly and Mark” drew harsh audience criticism when Mark Consuelos first replaced Ryan Seacrest, and Trevor Noah took time to find his footing, after replacing Jon Stewart on “The Daily Show.” 

“Was really looking forward to #TaylorTomlinson’s late nite show (since I’m a fan of her standup), especially as a post-@latelateshow entity,” another fan noted.  

“But wowzers….not a great format for late night. Hope it evolves to something better.”





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