Late-Night Lately: How the Hosts Covered the Midterms

7:00 AM 11/10/2018

by THR staff

The Hollywood Reporter's Late-Night Lately rounds up the best sketches and guests with a look at what's to come next week.

Late Night Lately Split 07-13 - Publicity - H 2018
Courtesy of CBS; Courtesy of NBC; Courtesy of TBS

The Hollywood Reporter's Late-Night Lately is a one-stop shop for all of the most memorable moments of late-night TV, coming to you each Saturday morning to ease you into your weekend.

So fill up your coffee, set your DVR for the week and sit back. Below are a few of the week's best, funniest and strangest late-night moments you can't afford to miss.

This week: Several hosts went live on election night, with Stephen Colbert creating a musical number and partnering with Triumph the Insult Comic Dog, Seth Meyers and Amber Ruffin breaking down the historic wins , Jimmy Kimmel welcoming L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti and Borat himself (Sacha Baron Cohen in character), Samantha Bee recapping the week of election results on her 100th episode: "That went OK!" and Trevor Noah discussing "Is America racist? Or is it openly racist?"

— Compiled by Jennifer Konerman  

  • Colbert Goes Live, Creates 'Christmas Carol' Spoof

    To kick off the week, Stephen Colbert borrowed Triumph the Insult Comic Dog from fellow late-night host Conan O'Brien, currently on hiatus, for some political reporting. The dog interviewed Beto O'Rourke, who was running against Ted Cruz. "Does it concern you that half your base thinks they can vote for you through Instagram?" he asked. Triumph then made his way to a Ted Cruz rally, which he compared to "a Duck Dynasty cosplay convention." 

    Jake Gyllenhaal helped celebrate Election Day eve in a pretaped sketch titled ’Twas the Night Before Election Day, starring Colbert as an Ebenezer Scrooge-type character who was visited by three ghosts (Republican leaders Chuck Grassley, Mitch McConnell and Orrin Hatch). 

    In his live show on election night, the CBS host was joined by The Circus' John Heilemann, Alex Wagner and Patriot Act host Hasan Minhaj. The host kicked off the show by pretending to vote ("What a strange couple of centuries the last two years have been") and with a song about the 2016 election and compared America’s current state to a sinking submarine: “We may collapse from all the pressure but if we do at least we’ll all crumble together." 

    During his monologue, Colbert addressed the Democrats taking control of the House of Representatives. “They can now open investigations into the president and we can finally find out if Donald Trump has ever done anything unethical,” the host said. 

    After tossing to a clip of Trump saying that the midterms used to be “boring” and are now a much bigger deal, Colbert said, “Gee, I wonder why? It used to be super boring to run out of the pool screaming, but ever since I pooped in it, it became all the rage.”

    Colbert did, of course, reference his 2016 live show. “If you remember our last live election show, well, that makes one of us. The bad news that night took me a bit off-guard, but tonight I’m prepared,” he said as he pulled out a bottle of bourbon.

    Bringing up Ted Cruz’s victory over Beto O’Rourke in Texas, Colbert quipped, “By not being Ted Cruz, Beto is still a winner.”

    Minhaj came on later to discuss. "I am sad that he lost, but it’s actually not a partisan thing. He had all of black excellence backing him. Beyonce, Travis Scott…LeBron James,” he said, to which Colbert added Willie Nelson.

    When Colbert asked Minhaj why he didn't focus on Trump on his show, the Netflix host compared the president to Harry Potter villain Voldemort and said he didn't want to "give him the time."

  • Seth Meyers, Amber Ruffin Break Down Historic Midterms

    Seth Meyers began Tuesday's live episode of Late Night with a warning. "When has that ever gone wrong for NBC?" said the host, referencing Kanye West's Saturday Night Live appearance and pro-Trump rant. 

    The host then jokingly announced that "bourbon has defeated Xanax" at the polls during the Election Day episode.

    Later in the episode, writer Amber Ruffin recapped recent current events, including the president boarding a plane with toilet paper on his shoe, a new dating app that sets up Trump supporters and criticism of Kendall Jenner's Vogue photo shoot in which the model wears her hair styled as an afro in the segment "Amber Says What." Mostly, Ruffin was excited that People magazine named Idris Elba the sexiest man alive.

    The segment concluded with Ruffin addressing Democrats. "You campaigned hard, you registered thousands of new voters and you had a lot of firsts tonight," she said.

    She applauded the new Colorado Gov. Jared Polis for becoming the first openly gay man with the position. She then congratulated Massachusetts' first black congresswoman, Ayanna Pressley; Connecticut's first black congresswoman, Jahana Hayes; the youngest congresswoman ever, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez; and Texas' first two Latina congresswomen, Veronica Escobar and Sylvia Garcia. She also applauded Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar for becoming the first two Muslim congresswomen, and Sharice Davids and Deb Haaland for being the first two Native Americans elected to Congress. "What, what, what, what!" she said.

  • Samantha Bee Adds Bonus Show, Celebrates 100th Episode

    Samantha Bee broke down the "mixed bag" of Tuesday's midterm election on her 100th show Wednesday, highlighting the Democrats' re-taking of the House of Representatives and bemoaning the re-elections of Rep. Steve King and Rep. Duncan Hunter.

    The Full Frontal host also addressed the spat that CNN chief White House correspondent Jim Acosta and President Trump had during a press conference on the midterms earlier in the day. During the fight, Trump told Acosta, "CNN should be ashamed of itself having you working for them."

    "No, we should be ashamed of you working for us," Bee countered. "Oh, my god! You are at work. This is behavior that would have gotten me fired from Tim Horton's and they didn't even fire me for turning their donuts into bongs."

    Bee also praised the news that the 2018 midterms ushered in a record number of women to serve in Congress and Florida passed Amendment 4, returning the right to vote to felons. "So I'm going to say something I rarely get to say: Good job, Florida," Bee joked.

    Still: "I have to admit, I was a little disappointed in the size of the blue wave," Bee said, noting that Democrats only gained 23 seats in the House. She also added in downsides to the night's results that Rep. Steve King of Iowa and Rep. Duncan Hunter of California, who have both been accused of racism, were re-elected. 

    Bee concluded, "Last night was a mixed bag, but overall we should take it as a win" given the gerrymandering and voter suppression that Bee said was hurting the Democrats.

  • Kimmel Welcomes Borat, Eric Garcetti, George Washington Hologram on Live Election Show

    Jimmy Kimmel went live Tuesday night, when he was joined by Sacha Baron Cohen, L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti and a hologram of George Washington.

    During his monologue, Kimmel took shots at Donald Trump Jr. and the so-called "blue wave" describing theories that Democrats would dominate the midterms. Kimmel joked, "All day today it felt like America was in the doctor's office waiting for our STD results to come in." He added, "I think we can all agree that the big losers are our Thanksgiving dinners."

    Throughout the night, Kimmel consulted what he called his "Wall of Wolf Blitzers," which featured 11 real versions of the CNN host and Kimmel's dad, who looks like Blitzer. (Kimmel has made this joke on the show before.) Also featured during the show was a "Lie Witness News" sketch that saw a Live! correspondent taking to Hollywood Boulevard to ask pedestrians to respond to Kid Rock winning the Michigan Senate Race (a fictional scenario, though most featured on the show didn't know it).

    Kimmel additionally welcomed a hologram of George Washington, to whom the late-night host broke the news that Trump was president and Twitter had been invented. 

    Before his Borat sketch, in which he canvassed for the GOP at polling places in Los Angeles, Cohen first appeared as a guest, entering wearing an "I Voted" sticker, which perplexed Kimmel. When the ABC host asked Cohen how he exercised Americans' right to the franchise as a British citizen, Cohen said, "You just go in and you vote ... It's not hard. You just call up your agent and sort it out."

    Cohen then reviewed some of the most viral moments from his Showtime series Who Is America?. The actor said, for instance, he was "surprised" that Dick Cheney signed a waterboard for one sketch. He added that he realized he had no backstory to his character 20 minutes before Cheney arrived. "Mr. Cheney, at the age of 8, I went to school with a lunchbox under one arm and a gas mask under the other," Cohen says he eventually told the former vice president.

    Cohen also commented on Jason Spencer, a former Georgia U.S. representative who resigned after mooning Cohen and saying a racial slur four times. "The amazing thing is that he did not resign for 48 hours" after his episode aired, Cohen said. "Which I actually quite respect." 

    Cohen also said that for one sketch, in which he told Kingston, Arizona, citizens that he was going to build a "state-of-the-art" mosque in their town, a production member built him what he called a "bulletproof clipboard" in case one of the attendees decided to draw a firearm on the performer.

  • Trevor Noah and Correspondents Go Live for Midterm Show

    Trevor Noah's Daily Show went live on election night, when, according to the host, "the day when voters were officially going to decide: Is America racist? Or is it openly racist?"

    During his live show, the Comedy Central host concluded: "After a night sponsored by Pepto Bismol, it's official: The Democrats have taken the House."

    He went on to praise Colorado for electing the country's first openly gay man governor, checked in with correspondent Desi Lydic at a Beto O'Rourke rally, followed Michael Kosta to California interviewing apathetic non-voters and Ronny Chieng's up-close voter speculation on one specific voter, Kyle. 

  • Late-Night Lineup: November 11-17

    Monday, November 12
    The Late Late Show With James Corden: The CBS show rings in the holiday season (a bit early) with a performance by Pentatonix.

    Tuesday, November 13
    The Late Show With Stephen Colbert: Tuesday's Late Show features a "special appearance" by Rocky star Dolph Lundgren, so speculate away. 

    Wednesday, November 14
    Jimmy Kimmel Live!: Mary Poppins Returns star, and notable Kimmel prankster, Emily Blunt stops by one day ahead of her co-star, Lin-Manuel Miranda.