Former Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg hosted Jimmy Kimmel Live on Thursday to an empty audience – they were shut out due to coronavirus.
Despite circumstances that would have challenged a seasoned comedian, Buttigieg turned in a solid performance by the end of the night. He finally won something other than the Iowa caucus.
Buttigieg’s monologue, interspersed with clips of huge audiences cheering and laughing, didn’t shy away from his sexuality. He gave a shout out to his husband Chasten and in a few jokes.
“I really thought we had a shot, but it turns out I was about 40 years too young, and 38 years too gay,” the former candidate said. “Although we didn’t win, we did achieve some pretty big milestones. I’m the first gay person ever to win a presidential primary, and the first gay man in 30 years to wear pleated pants. We all have our journey.”
But Buttigieg’s geeked out interview with Patrick Stewart, the acclaimed actor who played Captain Jean-Luc Picard in the Star Trek franchise, may have cemented his new role as a talk show host. The banter between the two let Buttigieg’s personality shine through from behind the stiff facade of a presidential candidate.
Stewart was on the show to promote his new show, Picard, a continuation of his character after Star Trek: The Next Generation and the subsequent movies. The show has been met with rave reviews by critics and fans.
The two played “Who’s the Captain Now,” a trivia game focused on Star Trek with surprise host LeVar Burton, who played the character LCdr. Geordi La Forge on the show. The winner got a star named after them.