How Late-Night Hosts Handled the Melania Trump Speech Controversy
Stephen Colbert, Jimmy Fallon, Samantha Bee, Jimmy Kimmel and Seth Meyers all weighed in on the controversy surrounding the plagiarized speech from the GOP convention.
Melania Trump's Monday night speech at the Republican National Convention sparked backlash online after one Twitter user pointed out how strikingly similar it was to a speech given by Michelle Obama in 2008.
She told Today's Matt Lauer that she wrote the speech "with as little help as possible," and Paul Manafort, Donald Trump's campaign chairman, told CBS This Morning that "a couple of phrases" might be similar to Michelle Obama's past Democratic National Convention speech. Later on Tuesday, Donald Trump Jr. blamed the speechwriters for the mistake.
Many late-night hosts are covering the convention throughout the week, and even the hosts that are not physically there took to their shows and Twitter accounts to respond to the controversy.
Jimmy Fallon, in character as Donald Trump, gave a speech on Tuesday's Tonight Show covering the first night of the convention as well as Melania Trump's speech.
"Did you see Melania? She stole the show ... literally," he said. "She delivered her speech like a true First Lady. That First Lady being Michelle Obama, but still ..."
Fallon, as Trump, also added that Melania "might have plagiarized some of it, but you've got to admit, she did it harder, better, faster, stronger. And you can quote me on that."
Samantha Bee, who is airing a Full Frontal convention special on Wednesday, tweeted a reference to Donald Trump's Star of David controversy, saying that "plagiarizing is wrong even when it's not from white supremacist Twitter."
Today the Trump campaign was shocked to learn that plagiarizing is wrong even when it's not from white supremacist Twitter. #RNCinCLE— Full Frontal (@FullFrontalSamB) July 20, 2016
Stephen Colbert, covering the convention partly in his Colbert Report character this week for The Late Show, joked about Melania Trump's speech ahead of show time on Twitter, saying that his show on Tuesday would feature "comedy bits originally written by Michelle Obama!"
He also devoted the show's open to "defend" Melania Trump, welcoming Melania herself (Laura Benanti with a spot-on impression) who took the podium to deliver a new speech. "This is truly the best of times," she began, promising that she really wrote this one. She quotes Dr. Seuss, Braveheart, even the Fresh Prince himself in her new speech that promises, "they will never take our freedom!"
Seth Meyers had a "Closer Look" segment about the speech on Late Night, covering Melania Trump seeking to "humanize her husband and show some authenticity" until "the Trump campaign found a way to screw it up."
"Melania did it ... she found something less original than being a model married to an old billionaire," said Meyers.
The Late Late Show introduced a "brand new segment" called the "Top 10 List," featuring an impression of David Letterman, even introducing Reggie Watts as Paul in homage to the late-night host.
Host James Corden read "excuses Melania gave for plagiarizing Michelle Obama's speech," which included "I'm from a communist country where we share everything" and some references to Pokemon Go.
Jimmy Kimmel joked that Melania Trump "gave the speech of Michelle Obama's life" on Live! before telling viewers that he felt sympathetic towards her because he, too, had been accused of plagiarism in the past. Kimmel then proceeded to air a side-by-side clip of himself reciting the exact words of Mike Tyson: "I'm the best ever. I'm the most brutal and most vicious and most ruthless champion there's ever been."