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Real Time With Bill Maher (HBO)
A big part of Bill Maher's brand is telling his audience information they don't want to hear, an edginess embodied by the recent live post-RNC episode (July 20) featuring Moore's mournful, instantly booed prophesy: "I'm sorry to have to be the buzzkill here so early on, but I think Trump is going to win."
Last Week Tonight With John Oliver (HBO)
For months, Oliver stayed out of the Trump mockery business, using his longer segments for topics more esoteric than the orange-skinned gorilla in the room, but his extended deconstruction (Feb. 28) of Trump's branding practices, from his steaks to his surname (changed by his ancestors from Drumpf) was worth the wait.
The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon (NBC)
Politics isn't really Fallon's thing — witness his toothless Donald Trump impression — but instead of his competitors' edginess, he offers smooth, effortless cool. And slow-jamming the news with The Roots and President Obama on June 9 showcased what the late-night ratings king does best.
The Late Late Show With James Corden (CBS)
The July 20 segment violated many of the viral franchise's rules — Michelle Obama has no original songs and Corden only was able to drive in a limited circle due to security — but it also was a tribute to the spirit that has made this first lady unique. A tacit response to Melania-gate without an iota of politicizing.
Jimmy Kimmel Live! (ABC)
Kimmel has overused the "Mean Tweets" format, but it remains the best friend of any celebrity eager to prove they can laugh at their own expense. Romney's Trump-trashing March 8 turn, while not as popular in the viral space as Obama's 2015 visit, was perhaps the loosest the 2012 presidential loser has ever looked.
Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee (Crackle)
Jerry Seinfeld has driven some of the biggest names in comedy to grab a cup of joe since his online show's premiere in 2012, but the seventh season's opener was the first time he had a "comedian president" in his passenger seat. In a recent Q&A with THR, Seinfeld recounted his conversation with Obama about the episode's opening joke: "When I call you, you answer the phone, 'White House,' I'll say, 'I'd like to speak with the president, please,' and then you say, 'Speaking.'"
Read the full Q&A here.
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