Stephen Colbert's Most Memorable Political Commentary of 2016

7:00 AM 12/30/2016

by THR Staff

The CBS host, even after shedding his 'Colbert Report' character, uses the late-night stage for some subtle (and some not-so-subtle) messages on current events.

Courtesy of The Late Show with Stephen Colbert

Stephen Colbert may have said goodbye to his Comedy Central character months ago, but he has still managed to squeeze in his thoughts on current events now that he's at CBS. 

Between Donald Trump's sniffles during the debates and his revamped "Werd" segments to his poignant and powerful words after the election, Colbert managed to keep his political mind at work on network TV. 

Below are just a few of his more memorable politically motivated moments on The Late Show this year. 

— Compiled by Jennifer Konerman

  • Colbert on Election Night: "Don’t Stop Speaking Up"

    Showtime

    On his live CBS show the day after the election, Stephen Colbert addressed his audience with a more serious monologue than usual. “I’m not sure what to believe about anything anymore,” said the host. “I’m so glad to be with you tonight, I wouldn’t want to be alone right now.”

    “We’ve got four very interesting years in front of us,” he said, noting that he didn’t get much sleep the night before and things looked bleak on his way to work. “There’s no way around it, this is what it feels like when America’s made great again,” he joked. “I was really hoping it would feel better because this sucks.”

    "Don’t stop speaking up. Don’t ever be cowed by what happens in the next four years," said Colbert. “But, like it or not … for the record, not … we have to accept that Donald Trump will be the 45th president of the United States."

    He ended his remarks with his advice of what people could tell their kids about the election: "Tell them to work hard, care about other people, don't be selfish, don't grab them where they don't want to be grabbed, and they'll make the world a better place than Donald Trump can."

  • Colbert's Trump Conspiracy Diagram

    Screengrab

    This October, after the Billy Bush hot mic tapes were released, Colbert broke down Trump's sex scandal with a Venn diagram that, after two circles and a straight line, illustrated the culprit behind all of Trump's poor decisions: his penis.

    Colbert said the image was behind Trump's walking into Miss Universe dressing rooms, bragging on the bus with Bush and deciding to run for president in the first place. "I can assure you, like a rearview mirror, objects on this chalkboard are smaller than they appear," he added.

  • Post-Trump Thanksgiving Survival Tips

    Screengrab

    Stephen Colbert celebrated Thanksgiving eve with some advice for anyone visiting a politically charged home for the holidays.

    "You have a family duty to treat your political opinion just like Grandma's Jello mold: Choke it down, and keep it down until the guests leave." 

    Some of his pieces of advice for anyone visiting home for the first time since the election included adding some shaved Xanax to the pumpkin pie and cooking a second turkey for everyone to stab. Also: Create new things to talk about by deep-frying the turkey. "You can't talk about politics when you're busy battling the garage fire."

    "You can pick your friends, but you can't pick your relatives — or, evidently, pick your president, thanks to the electoral college."

  • On That 'Hamilton' Feud

    Courtesy of The Late Show with Stephen Colbert

    Colbert immediately took Donald Trump to task for starting a Twitter feud with Hamilton after the cast addressed Mike Pence after a show in November. 

    Colbert dressed up as colonial Trump to showcase the new hip-hop musical about Trump vs. Hamilton. "How does an orange bully son of a bitch and a con man/ Grab a pussy with Gary Busey — No taxes evident/ Grow up to be a hero and a president?" rapped Colbert. 

    In his monologue, Colbert talked about Pence's visit to the popular musical. "It's surprising he went to Broadway because Pence believes that being on Broadway is a choice that can be cured," said Colbert, alluding to Pence's support of gay "conversion therapy." "It's 'pray away the Broadway' right?"

  • Laura Benanti's Melania Trump Impression

    Scott Kowalchyk/CBS

    Laura Benanti first appeared as Melania Trump in July, when she defended her plagiarized speech at the Republican National Convention. 

    Benanti was introduced by Colbert to address the controversy, speaking in between brief poses behind her podium and sneaking in familar lines from Dr. Seuss, the Fresh Prince, Braveheart, even Kit Kat commercials. 

    In October, Benanti reprised her hit impression, after the real Melania told Anderson Cooper that her husband was “egged on” by Billy Bush “to say dirty and bad stuff” on a hot mic in 2005. “I said to my husband that those words are very inappropriate,” said the Broadway star as Melania, who appeared to be coached off-camera about what to tell Colbert via satellite. 

    After catching the eye of her adviser, Benanti’s Melania noted she “apparently” has forgiven her husband because Donald “explained it was locker room talk,” she said. “I did not know this, but when American men gather to sport, they always brag of grabbing women by the Billy Bush.”

    She continued to defend the GOP candidate against the women who have accused him of unwanted advances. “Those are all lies, Stephen. Except the ones where there’s videotape. Then, it’s locker room talk,” she clarified. 

  • Colbert Revives "The Werd"

    This August, his revamped Late Show "Werd" segment featured "What the F?" "For space considerations we've had to shorten it to What the F?, but know that it means What the Family?" said Colbert. 

    Colbert said he has met Donald Trump so he's on solid ground when he says Trump is being a "Dad-bag." "Which again, due to space we've had to shorten," said Colbert, smiling as "D-Bag" is written next to him.

    He also called Trump a "P.O.S.," meaning "part of society," Colbert explained. 

  • On Trump's First-Debate-Sniffles

    Courtesy of The Late Show with Stephen Colbert

    During his monologue after the first debate, Colbert joked about Trump's apparent cold and Clinton's lopsided expectations.

    "Of course the expectations for the two sides were very different." Clinton had to be "charming but not effective" and hopefully "not coughing." "Meanwhile, Donald Trump had to not commit murder...on camera."

    Trump's sniffling moment also didn't go unnoticed, with Colbert saying that he "sounded like he was fighting off a cold ...of cocaine."

    "He sounded like the coked-up best man in the bathroom at a wedding."  

  • Trump's Birthday

    Colbert honored Trump's 70th birthday this June by wishing his "close, personal friend" a happy birthday and gifting him with a special birthday package since "as a late-night host he's given me so much."

    Colbert's presents included an iTunes gift card, tiny gloves that "might be a little big" for Trump, and a "pungent" "scented candle" in a brown paper bag that Colbert offered to light for him and put on his doorstep. "Just make a wish before you stomp it out," he said.

  • The Final Presidential Debate

    Courtesy of The Late Show with Stephen Colbert

    After the final presidential debate this October, in which Donald Trump claimed he would "keep you in suspense" to see if he would accept the results of the election, Colbert stalled a bit during his live episode. 

    "I want to make sure I heard that correctly," he said. "Suspense! Democracy's going to end with a cliffhanger! I guess we're all going to have to wait until Nov. 9 to find out if we still have a country. If Donald Trump is in the mood for a peaceful transfer of power, or if he's just gonna wipe his fat ass with the Constitution!"

    On Trump's claim that he "should've gotten" an Emmy for The Apprentice, Colbert simply told him: "You really should get one, they're fantastic," as he began lifting his own Emmys as hand weights. 

    "He lost to the Amazing Race. This year, it could go to the Amazing Racist."

  • Mocking Mitt Romney's Dinner With Donald Trump

    Getty Images

    Several late-night hosts teased Mitt Romney for having dinner with president-elect Donald Trump, a man he had previously criticized regularly.

    Colbert said reporters covered the event by making their own reservations at the restaurant. "It's all about reservations, and I have a lot of them," joked Colbert. He commented on the menu options, saying that "billionaire of the people" Donald Trump ordered young garlic soup with thyme and sauteed frogs' legs.

    "I thought he said he was going to drain the swamp, not eat its contents," said Colbert. 

    Moving on to the photo of the two of them eating dinner, he commented on Trump's glee in the picture, saying he's glad it was shot from the waist up and that Trump "looks like he's feasting on baby souls." As for Romney, Colbert said, "I know he ordered the frog, but it looks like he's eating crow." 

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