Late-Night Lately Election Edition: Hosts Abandon Jokes for Solemn Monologues

8:00 AM 11/12/2016

by THR staff

THR's Late-Night Lately: Election Edition rounds up the shows' somber but often optimistic messages after Tuesday's results.

Late Night Lately Split 11/11 - Publicity - H 2016
Courtesy of TBS; Courtesy of NBC; Courtesy of CBS

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.

This week, see how late-night hosts responded to Donald Trump's election victory, including hopeful messages from Samantha Bee, Seth Meyers, Stephen Colbert, Trevor Noah, Conan O'Brien, Chelsea Handler, James Corden and Jimmy Kimmel. 

— Compiled by Jennifer Konerman

  • Samantha Bee: "America Is Still a Great Country and It Is Still Worth Fighting For"

    Samantha Bee's Full Frontal on TBS began with a fun montage (starring Jon Stewart, Ana Navarro and Larry Wilmore) of Bee excited that the election was finally over, but the tone quickly turned incredulous and angry before she could turn hopeful. "How did everyone get this so spectacularly wrong?" she asked, saying it was "white people" who "ruined America."

    "The Caucasian nation showed up in droves to vote for Trump," she explained. 

    "America is still a great country and it is still worth fighting for," Bee said, on a hopeful note. "It has Shonda Rhimes shows, peanut butter, and Beyonce, and Lin-Manuel Miranda rap-weeping at awards shows, and it has the beautiful U.S. Constitution ... (which we should probably start teaching in schools)." 

    "We still have millions of nasty women who aren't going away, and as along as women over 25 are still allowed on television, I'll be here cheering them on." 

    She then broke down other results of the election, including the first Somali-American legislator, the first Latina U.S. senator, Tammy Duckworth's Congress election and more. 

  • Seth Meyers to the First Female President: "I Hope I Live to See Your Inauguration"

    Seth Meyers' Late Night on Wednesday was largely a reflection of his coverage of Trump thus far and a hopeful message for the future first female president. 

    "Well, that was a real grab in the pussy," Meyers began, adding that because he's been wrong on every single prediction he's had of Trump so far, "he's probably going to be a great f--king president." 

    "I do really feel for the parents who had to explain this to their kids this morning, especially parents with daughters. Because a lot of them, like me, probably thought Hillary would be our first woman president, but she won’t be. But that does mean that someone’s daughter is out there, right now, who will one day have that title." Choking up, he spoke about how excited his mother was for a possible Clinton win. 

    "Whoever you are, I hope I live to see your inauguration." 

    "I felt a lot of emotions last night and into today; some sadness, some anger, some fear. But I’m also aware that those are the same emotions a lot of Trump supporters felt; emotions that led them to make their choice. And it would be wrong for me to think my emotions are somehow more authentic than their emotions. We're always better as a society when we have empathy for one another," he concluded, offering his congratulations for Trump and his supporters. 

  • Stephen Colbert: "Don’t Stop Speaking Up"

    On his live CBS show Wednesday, 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 said, noting that he had to say it one more time “until I stop throwing up in my mouth a little bit."

    He ended his remarks with hid 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." 

    On Election Night, Colbert took the stage just prior to his Showtime special (Stephen Colbert’s Live Election Night Democracy’s Series Finale: Who’s Going to Clean Up This Sh*t?) to chat with the audience. "Calm down, it's still early," Colbert said as results began to pour in. "There's no need for crying. We're going to be together for a long time. I'm going to lock the door and we're going to stay in here." The soothing, comforting approach was one that Colbert kept coming back to, finding himself needing to assuage a shocked audience.

    "What a year tonight has been! Right now the election is too close to call and too terrifying to contemplate," he said. He then asked the crowd if they were on edge about the "passport-grabber" of a night, to which they replied with a resounding "YES!"

    "Let's agree we never, ever have another election like the one we just had," he said. "The election is over, you survived. Goodnight and may God bless America."

  • Trevor Noah: "Stay Strong, Stay Positive"

    “No matter how many times I hear that, it still doesn’t seem real," said Trevor Noah on Wednesday about Donald Trump's win. "This entire result is sort of like Trump’s hair, I know it’s real but my mind can’t accept it.” 

    Noah's The Daily Show also concluded months of election coverage with a somber live show on Tuesday night. In an episode titled "Election Night 2016: No no please no, oh God no, noooooo!" the host admitted he was "very much afraid" of what the outcome of the presidential election may be, as Trump led the polls at the time.

    "This is it, the end of the presidential race, and it feels like the end of the world," Noah said. "I don't know if you came to the right place for jokes tonight, because this is the first time throughout this entire race where I'm officially shitting my pants. I genuinely do not understand how America can be this disorganized or this hateful."

    Noah joked that he had prepared all sorts of props to relay breaking news to viewers as new poll numbers rolled in, but "now the news is just breaking me."

    He left the audience with a hopeful message: "You can be dejected, you can be sad, but I will say this — don't let it turn into fear. Because that is the thing that Donald Trump has used to get his side to do something that they never should have done. Stay strong, stay positive."

  • Conan O'Brien: "We Get to Choose Who's Going to Ruin Our Country"

    On TBS, Conan O'Brien spoke to his audience about the importance of history. "Today is a really strange day," said the host. "Half the country is really happy, half the country is somewhere between despondent and furious."

    Speaking as a "history buff," he reminded the audience that "We have been here before. We have had bitter, angry elections for 200 years." 

    "In America, we get to choose who's going to ruin our country," he continued, saying that he chose to remain positive and be thankful "that we have fair and free elections at all."  

  • Chelsea Handler: "I'm Disappointed and I'm Confused"

    Chelsea Handler hosted an emotional post-election episode of her Netflix show on Wednesday. "Obviously the result is not what I was hoping for," said Handler. "Like a lot of people in this country, I'm sad, I'm disappointed and I'm confused. But if Hillary [Clinton] can make it through a concession speech, then I can make it through a stupid television show."

    Handler interviewed Sen. Barbara Boxer, who got choked up when talking about how she hasn't spoken to Clinton yet about her loss. Handler got emotional in response, saying, "I know for a woman, as a woman it feels so sexist." She started crying and said, "I guess the message that I want to spread out to other women is exactly what you're saying, is not to give up. Sorry, I hate f—ing crying on camera."

    Through their disappointment, Handler and Boxer shared a message of hope and resilience. "My heart is on the floor," admitted Boxer, but she said it's important to remember that a person is not defined by how he or she acts when in despair. "It's not where you are when you're high and doing great; it's when you fall down," said Boxer, adding, "A lot of us are on the ground right now."

    "When you say, 'I want to leave. I want to go,' of course — it's the flight syndrome," Boxer told Handler. "That's just what the people who gave this hateful message want us to do, and we're not going to do it."

  • James Corden: "America Is Great and Always Has Been"

    The Late Late Show's James Corden shared a story about his family moving to the U.S. in order to lift his audience's spirits. 

    "When me and my wife told my son that we were going to be moving to America, he looked at us, and I'll never forget, and he said, 'Daddy that's great.' Somehow he knew this was a fantastic place to live," explained Corden. "It's a country of opportunity and diversity and hope, and that will never change."

    "Whoever you voted for last night Trump, Hillary, those other two ... now is the time more than ever to remember our values," he said. "It’s the tone you set that will define who we are. Treat people with love and respect – go out and put your arm around someone, even if you hate their politics, tell them that you care." 

    "If this country can unite together and work together," he concluded, "we will remember America is great and always has been."

  • Jimmy Kimmel: "Finally We Can Look to the Future"

    Jimmy Kimmel took his audience through the stages of grief in the wake of the election results. He said people were in denial that the person who hosted The Apprentice is now president-elect and discussed the anger and blame being thrown about.

    Kimmel said the one thing everyone can feel is a sense of relief that the election is finally over. He said he's going to take a guess at what the future holds for the cast of characters we've gotten to know from the election. The host played a video montage set to the song "Shout" depicting the future candidates and their supporters.

    In this fictional future, Eric Trump has killed Donald Trump Jr., Chris Christie is a George Washington Bridge tollbooth operator and Scott Baio is starring in Sharknado 5. Bernie Sanders is a Walmart greeter, Ivanka Trump has blocked her father on Tinder and Hillary Clinton is screaming into a pillow.