Late-Night Lately: Ford-Kavanaugh Hearings Take Center Stage

7:00 AM 9/29/2018

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.

Courtesy of Lloyd Bishop/NBC; Brad Barket/Getty Images for Comedy Central; Scott Kowalchyk/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.

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: The hearings of Brett Kavanaugh and his accuser Dr. Christine Blasey Ford took over the conversations on late-night TV, starting with John Oliver eviscerating Kavanaugh supporters for their "disturbing argument" that his alleged sexual assault happened in high school. After more women came forward with accusations against Kavanaugh, Stephen Colbert used his time on air to demand an FBI investigation into the claims. The hosts praised Ford's brave testimony and Samantha Bee summed it up: "It's not a great week to be an American woman."

— Compiled by Jennifer Konerman  

  • John Oliver Blasts Brett Kavanaugh Supporters

    Courtesy of Eric Liebowitz/HBO

    John Oliver addressed the "biggest news this week" on Sunday's Late Week Tonight, speaking about Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and the sexual assault claims made against him by Christine Blasey Ford.

    "The details of these terrible allegations are really important and they cast a chilling light on past comments that he has made about his high school," said Oliver before sharing a clip of Kavanaugh speaking about his alma mater. "What happens at Georgetown Prep stays at Georgetown Prep. That's been a good thing for all of us," said the Supreme Court nominee.

    "For the record, the motto, 'What happens here, stays here' makes anything sound awful and creepy by default," responded Oliver. "If you saw that slogan at your dentist's office, there's no fucking way you would let him give you anesthesia."

    Oliver later summarized a particularly "disturbing argument" in response to the claims: "The suggestion that even if he is lying, this happened too long ago to be relevant."

    The host then aired an interview in which three Republican women downplayed Kavanaugh's alleged actions. "What the fuck are you talking about? That is a terrible thing for any high school girl to hear and perhaps an even worse thing for a high school boy to hear because she's acting like assault is a natural consequence of puberty," said Oliver. "'Oh, don't worry if your voice cracks, you grow hair in weird places and you start sexually attacking people. It's all perfectly normal.'"

    Oliver also noted Trump's take on the allegations. He tweeted a message questioning why "[Ford] or her loving parents" didn't immediately report the crime. "So the president cast out on someone who says she was sexually assaulted while also sort of implying that her parents don't love her," said Oliver. "To borrow a phrase, that's one of the most shithead things I've seen from the standpoint of shitheaded-ness."

  • Hosts Mock Kavanaugh After Second Woman Comes Forward

    YouTube

    After a second woman came forward accusing Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct, late-night hosts dedicated their Monday night shows to taking jabs at Kavanaugh and supporter Donald Trump.  

    Amid allegations from Christine Blasey Ford, a second accuser spoke out against Kavanaugh in a story posted on The New Yorker's website on Sunday, written by Ronan Farrow and Jane Mayer. Deborah Ramirez alleged that while she attended Yale University with Kavanaugh, he exposed himself at a dorm party where alcohol was present, put his penis in her face, and then, as she pushed him away, caused her to touch it without her consent.

    On The Late Show, Stephen Colbert referred to Kavanaugh as the "man about to show you how bunnies make more bunnies." Though Ramirez acknowledges gaps in her memory, she recalls someone yelling, “Brett Kavanaugh just put his penis in Debbie’s face.” 

    “And a little further down the hall, a 50-year-old Chuck Grassley said, 'Get that man on the Supreme Court,' ” Colbert quipped.

    Colbert also presented a mock calendar written by Kavanaugh in 1982 that he could submit as evidence for his innocence. Entries include "Stayed home to solve Rubik's cube (sober)" and "Party last night was awwwsome! I heard. Didn't go." 

    President Trump has voiced his support for Kavanagh, arguing that if his alleged attack on Dr. Ford was “as bad as she says,” then charges would have been “immediately filed.” His comments inspired many Hollywood stars to participate in a Time’s Up walkout Monday in support of Ford and Ramirez.

    Over at Late Night, Seth Meyers poked fun at Trump’s declaration during a rally on Friday that Kavanaugh was “born for the position."  

    “What position? Surprise villain in a Law & Order episode? 'It was the judge this whole time,'" Meyers said.

    Meyers also argued that because Trump didn’t “wake up at 5 a.m. to scream tweet in all caps,” the president was “lavished with praise." After showing clips of CNN reporters discussing Trump’s aides being surprised by his “restraint,” Meyers argued that it was all an act. 

    “Oh my God, you guys. How can you keep falling for this restrained Trump act after three years? You guys are like a monkey watching a magic trick,” the host said. 

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    Trevor Noah also addressed Kavanaugh’s decision to submit his calendar from 1982 as proof of his innocence. "If the man has a calendar, then the case is closed. Because everyone knows if it’s not on your calendar, then you never did shit," he said.

    The host said he understands that some people like Kavanaugh, because he’s a “conservative judge” who looks like “a guy who gives postage stamps on Christmas,” but argues that the public can’t ignore his former roommate siding with his accusers. 

    On TBS' Conan, Conan O'Brien also poked fun at Kavanaugh and Trump, saying that because Kavanaugh claims he was a virgin throughout high school and college, Trump is having a change of heart. "In a new interview with Fox News, Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh said he was a virgin in high school, and 'for many years thereafter.' So now, President Trump is calling on him to withdraw," O'Brien joked. 

    "A second woman has come forward to accuse Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct. For those of you keeping track, 13 more and Kavanaugh can run for president," the host added. 

  • Stephen Colbert Demands FBI Investigation

    Stephen Colbert offered a rare bit of advice to Republican legislators on Wednesday night's show.

    After spending his monologue on the third accuser to come forward in the Kavanagh saga, Colbert reflected on Trump's press conference about Judge Brett Kavanaugh, where the president said that accusations against his Supreme Court nominee were "all false to me." Colbert began his monologue by saying that the long press conference had not yet finished before he took the stage.

    "I walked away while he was still talking. And I encourage you to go watch it. With someone you love. And I can't convey to you the shambling mess that reassured no one who is going to see it," Colbert said. "But they're going ahead with the hearing tomorrow, with only one of the accusers, right? Only one of the accusers, no witnesses, and then a vote at 9:30 the next morning."

    On Thursday Kavanaugh's first accuser, Christine Blasey Ford, will testify before the Senate. Since Ford, at least four more people have come forward with accusations of sexual misconduct.

    Colbert added, "I'm not normally in the business of giving Republican senators advice. But, gentlemen — and I use that term inaccurately — you need to call for an FBI investigation now," he said to roaring audience applause. "With all these dark allegations. Because if you don't, there are not enough moths in the world to drink your tears on Nov. 6."

  • Samantha Bee "Goes Full Carrie" Over Kavanaugh Hearings

    Screengrab/YouTube

    "It's not a great week to be an American woman," Samantha Bee concluded her show Wednesday night.

    The night before Brett Kavanaugh and Dr. Christine Blasey Ford's testimonies on Thursday morning, Bee addressed the question: "How many sexual abusers is too many on the Supreme Court?"

    While she described her way of coping with the news of the week ("Carrie-ing", aka lighting fires with her eyes), she summed up the week's "shit tornado of terrible news," including Kavanaugh's yearbook details, the new accuser and the fact that Republicans were trying to accelerate the vote for his confirmation instead of investigating accusations against him. 

    "As of the moment that I'm taping this show, I don't know if Kavanaugh is going to withdraw from the nomination or if the GOP is going to crown him 'King of the Good Boys.' If they do, Americans are going to have to ive for decades knowing that there is an accused sexual, predator on the Supreme Court. Well you know, more decades. At least Clarence Thomas will have a friend on the Supreme Court who he can share a Coke with." 

  • The Hosts Praise Ford's Emotional Testimony

    Screengrab/The Daily Show with Trevor Noah

    The explosive Senate Judiciary Committee testimonies of Brett Kavanaugh and Christine Blasey Ford dominated news coverage Thursday, and late-night comedy programs were no exception.

    The Supreme Court nominee and judge now faces at least five accusations of sexual misconduct, but only Ford has been invited to testify before Congress. On Thursday, Ford told the Senate Judiciary Committee that she was "100 percent" sure that Kavanaugh was her attacker at a high school party in the 1980s.

    On The Daily Show, Trevor Noah called the testimonies "the only story anyone was talking about today." He focused in part on a clip that showed Ford, a psychology professor, explaining how she was sure that her alleged attacker was Kavanaugh by referring to norepinephrine and epinephrine encoding memories into the hippocampus of the brain.

    "Oh snap! Oh! People were asking how 'the lady' can trust her brain, turns out she's a brain scientist," Noah said. "Those senators were probably like, 'Oh yes, we're also familiar with the hippopotamus. We all know that ... let's move on, let's move on."

    Noah also played clips of Ford responding to senators' questions with phrases like "I'm happy to answer in further detail if you want me to" and "I wish that I could be more helpful."

    "How insane is that? After all she's been through, she still has such a good and warm attitude. I feel like after the hearings, she'll be in the parking lot offering to jump-start people's cars," he joked.

    The Late Show's Stephen Colbert called Thursday "the most divisive day in America since Laurel and Yanny, if Yanny was trying to get on the Supreme Court and Laurel had some really disturbing stories to tell about him."

    Colbert also took a jab at the Senate Judiciary Committee after playing a clip of Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) telling Ford that she could request anything that she needed and didn't have during the proceedings. "OK, how about an FBI investigation?" Colbert said to gasps and applause.

    Jimmy Kimmel on ABC's Jimmy Kimmel Live! pointed out that the hearings made for weepy television. "People were crying in front of their televisions so hard you’d have thought Milo Ventimiglia got killed by a crock pot," he joked.

    Kimmel, like other hosts, pointed out that even the right-leaning Fox News called Ford a credible witness. "She was everything the Democrats hoped she would be. She was polite, likable and well-spoken. Maybe more than anything, it was striking to see someone questioned before the Senate who actually answered questions. I think that’s a first," he said.

    Late Night's Seth Meyers devoted his "A Closer Look" segment to the hearings. Like Noah, Meyers unpacked the moment when Ford explained how brains shelve away particular memories: "She's in the middle of testifying in the intense glare of the national spotlight about an alleged sexual assault committed by a Supreme Court nominee and she just taught everyone how the brain works. She gave a detailed anatomy of the hippocampus and the memory centers in the brain to a room of guys who look like they eat brains," he joked.

    Meyers also slammed Kavanaugh's angry written testimony, where he called the allegations part of an elaborate Democratic "political hit."

    "Holy shit, I'm surprised he didn't start attacking George Washington. 'If he's so honest, why does he wear a wig?'" Meyers joked. "Republicans always act like they're in a slasher film and the killer around the corner is Hillary Clinton."

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    Meanwhile, Jimmy Fallon poked fun at the testimony, mentioning that Trump knew "it wasn't going well" while watching aboard Air Force One. "Trump watched the hearing while flying on Air Force One," the late-night host said. "You could tell it wasn’t going well because halfway through Trump tried to walk outside to get some air."

    Fallon also quipped that the testimony should've hired a different judge, in particular Judge Judy or Judge Joe Brown. 

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    James Corden pointed out a moment when Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley, who was leading the proceedings, interrupted Democratic Sen. Diane Feinstein. "Feinstein said it was her turn to speak, but since she was a woman, he didn't believe her," Corden joked.

  • Late-Night Lineup: September 30 - October 6

    Monday, October 1
    The Late Show With Stephen Colbert: Morning Joe's Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski stop by after a week of very tense political news. 

    Late Night With Seth Meyers: SNL alum Meyers and current castmember Kenan Thompson chat as the long-running castmember is eyeing his exit of the sketch series with a primetime NBC show. 

    Wednesday, October 3
    Watch What Happens Live: The stars of the Murphy Brown revival, Candice Bergen and Faith Ford, join Andy Cohen in the clubhouse. 

    Thursday, October 4
    The Late Show With Stephen Colbert: The one and only Lady Gaga, star of the new Star Is Born movie, begins making her late-night rounds to promote the Bradley Cooper-directed film.