Late Night Lately: The Hosts Celebrate Inauguration While Waving Goodbye to Trump

8:00 AM 1/23/2021

by THR staff

The Hollywood Reporter's Late Night Lately rounds up the best sketches and guests.

Late Night Lately Jan 22
CBS; NBC; Comedy Central

The Hollywood Reporter'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: Stephen Colbert kicked off Inauguration Night with a live show, congratulating Americans for making it through the last four years and looking ahead to the next four. James Corden performed a Trump-themed Les Mis song as his going away present, Seth Meyers addressed Trump's farewell address, Trevor Noah welcomed the country's "brand new dad," Jimmy Kimmel took a closer look at the day's performances, Samantha Bee looked to the next steps with Democrats and Jimmy Fallon sent a tired but hopeful message to President Biden: "Our nation turns its bleary eyes to you."

— Compiled by Jennifer Konerman

  • Stephen Colbert Goes Live After Inauguration

    Going live at the Ed Sullivan theater after the inauguration of President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris on Wednesday, Stephen Colbert made a declaration to his viewers: "Well, you did it. You survived the last four years and your reward, a shiny, new, old President."

    He referred to the day's events as a "joyful occasion" and said that he cried a lot. Colbert said that he felt "enormous relief" watching the inauguration and realized how worried he has been for his country over the last four years. 

    Colbert talked about how many former Presidents showed their respects – naming the Obamas, Clintons and more — with Trump notably absent from the list. Colbert described Biden and his wife, Dr. Jill Biden, as a presidential couple who held hands in a way that didn’t look professionally mandated.

    Referencing Biden's address to the nation for the first time as President, Colbert brought up the fact that he spoke of the Capitol riots and how they will not bring down the country. "Stirring words that I hope the rioters hear on the TV in the prison day room," said the host.

    Colbert also labeled Biden's call for the nation to come together in unity as "stirring." He went on to reference how Biden emphasized his commitment to pour his soul into his role as President. "It’s so nice to have a President with a soul again," said Colbert.

  • Seth Meyers Takes on Trump's "Meaningless and Lie-Filled" Farewell Message

    Seth Meyers critiqued Trump's final full day in office Tuesday and referred to the outgoing president's farewell message as "meaningless" and "lie-filled."

    Playing clips from Trump's pre-taped address, Meyers joked that it was filled with the "soaring oratory" he is known for. As Trump said, "My fellow Americans," Meyers interjected with, "You don't get to do that. You don't want to do any of the hard parts of leaving gracefully and admitting you lost and attending your successor's inauguration, but you want us to watch a 20-minute farewell speech, which I am certain you're reading for the first time like a tourist reading a menu in a foreign language."

    Meyers called Trump's overarching message "absurd," noting the outgoing president's assertion that four years ago he launched an effort to rebuild the U.S. and renew its spirit, and that he did "what he came here to do." The late night host asked, "Are you insane? You left the nation in ruins. What did you come here to do — wreck the economy, spread disease and take selfies with cans of beans where you smile like you just ate ice cream with a cavity?"

    He went on to say that, this time four years ago, the federal government was being mobilized in service of an "incredibly stupid lie — Trump's insistence that his inauguration crowd was the largest ever, even though we could all see that it had more white space than the back of a Hallmark card."

    Late Night then showed a CNN news clip where it was discussed that a government photographer intentionally cropped the images to remove spaces and make the crowd look larger. "As we've learned over the last four years," Meyers continued, "if you're willing to lie about inconsequential things like crowd size or a weather map, you're also willing to lie about far more important things, like the coronavirus pandemic, which has now passed a grim new death toll of 400,000."

    Meyers went on to note that a lot of how Trump behaved back then ended up being a "telling preamble" to how his presidency turned out. "It's not just that Trump inhabits an unhinged fantasy world, which he does, or that he and his aides lie as easily as they breathe, which they do, it's that the entire federal bureaucracy was dragged into defending a narcissistic president's delusion, and anyone who refused to support the lie was punished."

    Later in the segment, Meyers referenced Trump's previous statement that COVID-19 would "magically disappear" and that it could be easily cured. "Much like the inauguration lie, everyone around him, from his closest aides to government scientists, resorted to falling in line or face consequences — and while some stood up to him, his closest sycophants decided to take part in the lie and deny reality."

  • James Corden Performs "One Day More"

    James Corden took a dramatic approach to saying farewell to former President Trump, performing "One Day More" from Les Misérables with some special guests.

    Celebrating only one more day of Trump jokes for his show, the host kicked off his CBS late night show on Tuesday with a performance with appearances on TV screens from Joshua Grosso, Jillian Butler, Emily Bautista, Kyle Scatliffe, Shuler Hensley, Patti LuPone and Matt Lucas.

    Corden began: "One day more, final day of Trump as president. The White House has a brand new resident. It's been four years of endless crimes but now he's finally out of time, one day more."

    "One more day of Trump rallies, one more day with him not caring. What a year this month has been, at Four Seasons Landscaping," sang Bautista.

    The video was also meant to bring awareness to the struggling Broadway community, encouraging people to work with the Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS and COVID-19 Assistance Fund. 

  • Trevor Noah: "America Just Got a Brand New Dad"

    Trevor Noah celebrated Inauguration Day with a simple conclusion: "America just got a brand new dad."

    On Wednesday night, Noah declared that the country is ready to welcome "the fresh, young face" of Joe Biden as its new president. On Trump's farewell address, Noah mocked the line, "have a good life," saying, "that's not what a departing president is supposed to say, that's what you tell your best friend in high school when she starts dating your ex."

    "But Trump's last day in office wasn't all just whining and stealing silverware. No, my friends, he also made sure to hand out some very nice parting gifts to all his friends," he said, noting the pardons and commutations he issued this week.

    "So, my friends, Donald 'Jesus Christ That Was Crazy' Trump has officially departed the White House for the last time," said Noah. "And I know that many people are angry right now at the state that he left this country in but I implore you to try and look at the few silver linings."


  • Jimmy Kimmel: "They Go Low, We Go J.Lo"

    Calling the inauguration ceremony beautiful, Jimmy Kimmel declared, "I have to think this is what it feels like when the oncologist calls and tells you the tumor is benign."

    Praising the performances of the day and "the poem that wasn't boring," Kimmel joked, "to paraphrase Michelle Obama, 'when they go low, we go J.Lo."

    Kimmel went on to say that Trump spent his final hours as president "making a list of his criminal friends and checking it twice, like evil Santa Claus," commenting on the last-minute pardons.

    He added: "The bar for Joe Biden is low. And it's going to be an adjustment to have a president who is presidential."

    In an interview with John Oliver, the HBO host called the day "a huge relief", saying "it was nice to enjoy an inauguration without a pit of dread in your stomach."

  • Samantha Bee Cheers Our "Brand New Very Old President"

    Samantha Bee couldn't even get through the introduction of her show Wednesday before celebrating Trump's departure. "We finally have a brand new very old president!" She cheered.

    "Unsurprisingly, Republicans are furious that Joe Biden chose to divide America by becoming president, and if that isn't divisive enough, he's openly plotting to DO stuff," she began, breaking down his executive orders signed on day one, as well as plans for COVID-19 relief and climate change actions. 

    Bee later called out Republicans for their demands for unity now that Biden is in office, but as Bee put it, "it's hard to compromise with a group that spent years gleefully tearing down the country."

  • Jimmy Fallon to Biden: "Our Nation Turns Its Bleary Eyes to You"

    "Joe Biden, our nation turns its bleary eyes to you," Jimmy Fallon said during his Tonight Show monologue on Wednesday.

    Fallon celebrated the "bright, shiny day" in Washington, adding that "we finally have a president who knows not to stare directly at the sun."

    Addressing "the elephant who wasn't in the room," Trump, Fallon joked about Trump's statement that he'd be "back in some form." "Who wrote this speech, Voldemort?"