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Gillian Anderson grades Stephen Colbert’s Margaret Thatcher on The Late Show

What happened when Olivia Colman and Gillian Anderson were on The Late Show

On its Nov. 11 episode, The Late Show with Stephen Colbert welcomed not one, but two, accomplished actresses for its main interview segment. Gillian Anderson and Olivia Colman visited the show to promote The Crown Season 4, but the interview might have inadvertently given more evidence to the claim that Anderson really should star in her own comedy.

Before welcoming his two distinguished guests, Colbert opened the show with a fake political ad. In it, a certain political party claimed votes don’t matter because of their baseless claims of fraud but also encouraged their followers to get out the vote in the runoffs for the Georgia Senate race.

Then, it was time for the Stephen monologue, followed by a jab at Goop’s holiday gift guide. After highlighting some products and pointing out that they were part of an “out of touch cash grab,” Colbert spoofed the latest Goop offerings with even more ridiculous options from The Late Show’s Covetton line.

Gillian Anderson made everyone laugh when she visited The Late Show

And then, it was time for the interview with Gillian Anderson and Olivia Colman. Before the two actresses could even discuss The Crown Season 4 together, Colbert asked them how they were spending England’s latest coronavirus lockdown. Anderson’s answer? “Indoors,” completely deadpan.

The Late Show interview was an opportunity for both actresses to promote their work on The Crown Season 4. Both Colman and Anderson gave thoughtful answers about how they crafted their versions of Queen Elizabeth II and Margaret Thatcher, respectively. They also pointed out the more human, “three-dimensional,” side of the women created by the drama’s writers.

It was an interesting look at the acting process, especially for anyone who is interested in Gillian Anderson, Olivia Colman, or The Crown. But then, things unintentionally took a turn for the comedic. Most often recognized for dramatic work, Anderson’s Late Show interview turned into a chance for her to show the audience she could go toe-to-toe with Colbert when it came to being funny.

While she was explaining to The Late Show’s host about holding her teeth a certain way to get Thatcher right, Stephen Colbert attempted to follow her process and make the character his own. His version of Margaret Thatcher…did not turn out very well. Or at least, the attempt wasn’t particularly successful if Colbert wanted to be anywhere near as “extraordinary” as he called Anderson’s portrayal of The Iron Lady.

The acting lessons, if you will, were definitely successful in one important way: They were hilarious. Even better? Olivia Colman was clearly having a good time, laughing on the third part of the split-screen during what we’ll just go ahead and call The Late Show“s newest segment: Thatcher-Off.

How bad was Stephen Colbert’s version of Thatcher? Let’s take a look. The host thought he was more Cryptkeeper than Iron Lady, while Gillian Anderson said he looked “a little like a dummy.” But it was all in good fun. It was probably Stephen Colbert’s biggest laugh of the night—which is really saying something since his monologue included a retelling of this week’s most ridiculous news story.

Just give Gillian Anderson her own comedy already. And obviously, she’ll have to promote it on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert so she and Stephen can trade characters again.

TV gods, are you listening?

You can watch Olivia Colman and Gillian Anderson on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert on CBS.com and CBS All Access.