6:47pm PT by Katie Kilkenny, Allison Crist
Late-Night Hosts Say Their Goodbyes to Paul Ryan
Late-night hosts seized on the big political news of Wednesday morning, when House Speaker Paul Ryan announced he would not be running for re-election to Congress in November.
CBS' The Late Show With Stephen Colbert commemorated Ryan's stint as House Speaker with a video compilation of the representative's "most courageous stances." They included one of his comments on President Donald Trump's tweets ("I've decided I'm not going to comment on the tweets of the day or the hour," he noted), a remark made on NBC's Today show about Trump accusers alleging sexual harassment ("I don't even know what these accusations are"), his racially weighted remarks about Trump ("I know his heart's in the right place," he said on CBS' Face the Nation) and others.
Host Stephen Colbert also spent some time on Ryan during his opening monologue, joking, "He said today he wants to spend some more time with his wife and kids, which is of course what he calls his biceps." Colbert also noted Trump's farewell tweet to Ryan, which said that "Republicans are with you." "Yes, Republicans are with you, Paul. And by with you, I mean leaving office in November," Colbert said.
The Late Late Show with James Corden also dedicated a portion of the host's monologue to Ryan's departure, with the Corden joking that by leaving a full-time job with benefits, Ryan is achieving one of his dreams: "depriving an American family of their health insurance."
For Corden, Ryan stepping down meant that the infamous photos of the House Speaker lifting weights could also be retired. "Thankfully, we don't have to show you those anymore," Corden said, only to then flash the series of photos.
Jimmy Kimmel Live! touched on the same points, and Kimmel took issue with Ryan saying he's retiring with no regrets. "His only regret is not taking healthcare away from more poor people," Kimmel said. "That will haunt him for some time."
The ABC host added that the saddest part of Ryan's departure will be figuring out who else in Congress is going to use the Congressional Gym.
"This is gonna be a sad day for the [gym] staff on Paul Ryan's last ever Washington workout," Kimmel said before playing a black-and-white video complete with sad music, which shows an empty gym and a sorrowful employee standing in front of Ryan's old locker.
Over on TBS' Conan, host Conan O'Brien delivered a zinger about Ryan into his opening monologue. "House Speaker Paul Ryan said he is not seeking re-election because he wants to spend more time with his kids," he said. "Ryan said, 'As a dad, there comes a time when you want to be there to take away their healthcare in person.'"
The Tonight Show's Jimmy Fallon took a different approach to the same remark from Ryan, "He said he wants to spend more time with his children at home, and less time with the child in the White House."
Trevor Noah of Comedy Central's The Daily Show reminded viewers that though the 48-year-old Ryan might look young, he's been in Congress since 1999. "That was so long ago, Britney Spears hadn't done it 'again' yet," Noah joked. He also pointed out that Ryan's primary objective in his time in the House of Representatives was to lower the nation's debt, but that a Republican-led House, of which he was speaker, passed a sweeping tax bill that reportedly will cause the deficit to balloon.
"It turns out that after two decades of claiming to be all about fiscal discipline, Paul Ryan exploded the deficit with his tax cuts and then just walks away," Noah said.
NBC's Late Night With Seth Meyers went the extra mile with the news, penning a song about how the show felt about the resignation. Late Night writer Amber Ruffin performed Roy Orbison's "Crying" as "Roy Amberson" thusly: "You creep me out / With just a smile / You're a scary vampire child."
Meyers didn't stop there, though. "House speaker Paul Ryan announced today that he will not seek re-election. I believe his exact words were, ‘squeak, squeak, squeak,'" Meyers said, laughing alongside a photo of a rat escaping a sinking ship.
The NBC host also took a jab at a common phrase used by Ryan and the GOP in response to tragedies like mass shootings. "So now his family are the ones asking for thoughts and prayers."
And on The Opposition, host Jordan Klepper joked that Ryan's resignation might be a symptom of a fictional illness he termed "Coward's back."
“Paul Ryan is retiring because of a serious medical condition. You see, Paul Ryan has no spine. It's tragic," Jordan said. He later added, "“Don't feel bad for the Speaker. Paul Ryan is going out doing the thing he does best: not standing up for anything.”