The Hollywood Reporter's Late Night Lately rounds up the best sketches and guests with a look at what's to come next week.
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 pour 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 that you can't afford to miss.
This week: Trevor Noah and Stephen Colbert kicked off election week with live Tuesday night shows, and then the hosts grappled with the uncertain election race throughout the week as votes trickled in all week with frustration, disbelief and exasperation, as former Vice President encouraged calm and patience, and President Donald Trump claimed voter fraud.
— Compiled by Jennifer Konerman
After President Donald Trump made a speech Thursday in which he repeated claims that there were fraudulent votes in the 2020 presidential contest, Stephen Colbert blasted the president for trying to "poison American democracy."
Visibly upset over Trump's speech, Colbert said at the top of his show that he was "dressed for a funeral" because Trump "tried really hard to kill something" in his speech. Colbert explained that for over 15 minutes, Trump stated "nonsensical stuff" and "lied" to the American people.
"If you did not know that Joe Biden was getting close to 270, Donald Trump just provided all the proof you will ever need," Colbert said.
Though he says Trump's behavior is "predictable," Colbert argued that the president needs to "get a new act." "We all knew he would do this," Colbert added before pausing while at a loss for words.
"What I didn't know is that it would hurt so much," Colbert said. "I didn't expect this to break my heart. For him to cast a dark shadow on our most sacred right from the briefing room in the White House, our house. Not his. That is devastating."
Colbert continued to argue that holding office "means something" and a president "should have some shred of decency." But with Trump making continuous claims of voter fraud, Colbert says everything Trump says or does is "now in some way presidential behavior" unless "every single person rejects what he just did."
The late-night host then pleaded for Republicans to "speak up" because "for evil to succeed all that is necessary is for good men to do nothing."
"Donald Trump is a fascist and when it comes to democracy versus fascism, I'm sorry there are not fine people on both sides so you need to choose: Donald Trump or the American people. This is the time to get off the Trump train because he told you where the train is going and it's not a passenger train and he'll load you on it someday too."
Seth Meyers on Wednesday unloaded on Fox News after the network ran with President Donald Trump's statements concerning voting in the election.
Meyers said he was disgusted, with everything kicking off when Trump attempted to declare an early victory Tuesday. “Sure enough, Fox News picked up on Trump’s line of bullshit as soon as he ended his speech,” Meyers said, highlighting “ex-Bush hack” Dana Perino, who parroted Trump's blather in which he claimed Pennsylvania would “all of a sudden” locate 100,000 votes somewhere.
“You ghouls love your evidence-free musings, don’t you?” Meyers steamed. “That doesn’t belong in the news. That belongs in a Pennysaver column called ‘Dana’s Digressions.’ There’s literally no proof for what you’re saying. These people are so insane they think election officials are finding ballots the way George Constanza found that eclair.”
Meyers raged that the notion of ballots being "found" is nonsensical, as they are merely being tallied.
“Again, they are all valid ballots that are just getting counted the way we always count ballots days or weeks after an election,” Meyers said. “This always happens.”
While election ballots were still being counted in many states across the country Wednesday, Jimmy Kimmel offered his view about how the past day went down in the close presidential race. The host declared that the past 24 hours have been a "pollercoaster of emotions and nausea."
Clarifying that nothing is official yet, Kimmel pointed to Biden leaning toward a victory with the electoral college. "It isn’t official yet — but all signs are pointing to a Joe Biden win. Everyone seems to know it — everyone except for Donald Trump!" He referenced the unbelievability of Trump initiating lawsuits in multiple states where he is behind in the polls, or even ahead.
Kimmel later said that he is "very happy — and relieved — that it looks like we’re finally sending this monster back to Mar-A-Lago — but I’m also … shocked that it was this close."
The host called it "unimaginable" that close to half of American voters supported Trump, naming a list of things the president has done during the past four years such as "kowtowing to Vladimir Putin, cozying up to Kim Jong, putting children in cages, villainizing the press, hiding his tax returns, misleading us about COVID-19, dismantling the pandemic response, dismantling health care and calling neo-Nazis "very fine people."
Kimmel labeled Trump a "liar" and a "cheat" who wants to stop counting thousands of legitimate votes. "And almost half us are apparently OK with that," he said.
As the counting process continues, Kimmel anticipated that Trump is going to make things as "difficult," "painful" and as "damaging" to the country as he possibly can. "Because he can't admit that he is a loser."
Samantha Bee shared her political commentary Wednesday evening, declaring, "Welcome to who the hell knows what's going on," adding that "our long national nightmare is still going."
Bee went on to note that it's disappointing that it wasn't a "landslide" victory for Joe Biden, rattling off a list of reasons why Trump has not succeeded in his role as president including the worsening pandemic, human rights abuses at the border and record unemployment.
"Watching Trump announce he’s going to 'dismantle democracy' was the most disgusting thing I saw last night," said Bee.
While the show itself was preparing to celebrate during the episode, it also feared a "funeral of democracy." Amid the uncertain results, Bee noted that being in the unknown middle is a "bad place to be."
The comedian did acknowledge that there are some clear victories, such as Biden's projected win in Arizona. "In order to protect our democracy we must keep fighting to make sure every vote is counted."
As the country awaits the results, Bee said that America is "deep breaths into a paper bag." She went on to talk about the Calm meditation app, joking that people can use a Full Frontal code to download it.
She also praised the "record number" of voters of this year's election.
With things up in the air, Bee reflected on the 2016 election and how the TBS show feels more prepared this time. "We didn't remotely plan for a world where Trump would win," she said. "We were so naïve in 2016." She went on to explain that they had intended to drop 200 red, white and blue balloons once it was announced Hillary Clinton would win.
"The bubble has burst," she continued. "As of this morning, we still don’t now anything, but that's OK because this year we bought three possible endings to cover our bases."
Trevor Noah continued his election tradition by hosting a live election-night special Tuesday night. The one-hour broadcast, Votegasm 2020: What Could Go Wrong? (Again), appeared live on both coasts as the country awaited the results in the presidential race.
The host broadcasted from his "special election fallout shelter" stocked with items such as hand sanitizer, board games, toilet paper, a boombox and surrounded by boarded up windows. "I've already thrown up on myself and I've had time to clean it up," Noah quipped. He was later joined by Roy Wood Jr., who brought liquor and discussed the current race stats.
After learning voters in New Jersey voted to legalize marijuana and Washington D.C. decriminalized mushrooms, Noah said, "If Trump wins again, all drugs should just become legal. We cannot go through the next four years sober. I need heroin gummies, at least."
Later, The Daily Show correspondent Jaboukie Young-White joined Noah and admitted that instead of joining the Trump headquarters, he wants to sleep through the rest of the night in an "elective coma," but his insurance policy doesn't cover that. "That's why we need Medicare for all," he quipped. Meanwhile, senior correspondent Michael Kosta reported from Biden's headquarters and admitted since everyone continues to be in waiting mode, he's decided to write erotic election fan fiction.
Kicking off his second-ever Showtime election night live special, Stephen Colbert quickly addressed questions about why he would do such a show again, given that during his 2016 special, as it increasingly became clear that Trump would win the election, Colbert faced the daunting task of trying to reassure his New York City audience as they reacted with audible groans and gasps.
Less than two weeks later, Colbert revealed at an event that his team hadn't prepared jokes for what ended up happening — Trump winning — and that the live show was "the hardest thing I've ever done in my life."
This year, Colbert, who was dressed up for the occasion in a blue suit and silver tie and sitting on a set that looked like a replica of the Oval Office, said that while the 2016 show was "quite famously a painful experience, I wouldn't want to be with anyone but you right now."
Beyond that, Colbert was glad to be on Showtime, where he could curse with abandon, saying "Holy shit, this is a weird fucking election."
The show, officially titled Stephen Colbert's Election Night 2020: Democracy's Last Stand: Building Back America Great Again Better 2020, opened with an animated segment, much like his 2016 special did, but this time Trump was shown using Attorney General Bill Barr to close the polls as the president declares victory first over the "China virus" and now over "China Biden." After a bat signal went up, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris sprang into action, confronting Trump at a parade where he's throwing stimulus money at audience and telling people to breathe in the coronavirus and not let it "dominate you."
The show also featured a traditional monologue, including jokes about some of the early states called for Biden and Trump and early Senate results, with Colbert going off of CBS News' projections. Colbert even joined CBS News' election night team live, communicating with them via video, even though, as Colbert said, they were so close in New York City that they could "open the windows and shout at each other."
Colbert also brought on Charlamagne Tha God, who took over for Colbert, while sitting at another desk, as Colbert took a quick break. During his segment, Charlamagne spoke about what Black people lost with Trump as the president, picking up on Trump's 2016 pitch of, "What do you have to lose?" In particular, Charlamagne said Black people lost "voting rights … health care … our lives [due to the novel coronavirus pandemic] … and movies," repeatedly ripping how Green Book won best picture at the 2019 Oscars.
He also explored what people could lose with another four years of Trump, saying people would lose both everything he said they'd already lost, noting it could always get worse, and the soul of this country. "Black people have to believe in the promise of America's purpose," he said in part. "If America loses its soul, Lord have mercy, it's all over."
In closing, Colbert once again urged patience and suggested that if voters could wait four years for the end of Donald Trump's presidency, they can certainly wait a few more days for the results of this election.
"It's actually a good thing we don't know who won yet," Colbert said. "The reason it's taking so long to declare is because there was such a massive turnout, and each and every ballot deserves to be counted. We've been able to wait for this moment since 2016 and waited in lines for hours, so we all can wait a little longer."