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Most late-night shows were on hiatus on Election Night in favor of news coverage, so when they returned to their posts on Wednesday, they had plenty to talk about.
Stephen Colbert and Trevor Noah aired live shows on Tuesday, sharing somber messages as well as their usual lighthearted jokes and monologues. Other hosts followed suit on Wednesday, including Samantha Bee, Conan O’Brien, Seth Meyers, Colbert and James Corden.
On TBS, O’Brien spoke to his audience about history. “Today is a really strange day,” said the host. “Half the country is really happy, half the country is somewhere between despondent and furious.”
Speaking about history, he reminded the audience that, “We have been here before. We have had bitter, angry elections for 200 years.”
“In America, we get to choose who’s going to ruin our country,” he continued, saying that he chose to remain positive and be thankful “that we have fair and free elections at all.”
Meyers’ Late Night was largely a reflection on his coverage of Trump thus far and a hopeful message for the future first female president.
“Well, that was a real grab in the pussy,” Meyers began, adding that because he’s been wrong on every single prediction he’s had of Trump so far, “he’s probably going to be a great f—ing president.”
“I do really feel for the parents who had to explain this to their kids this morning, especially parents with daughters. Because a lot of them, like me, probably thought Hillary would be our first woman president, but she won’t be. But that does mean that someone’s daughter is out there, right now, who will one day have that title.” Choking up, he spoke about how excited his mother was for a possible Clinton win. “Whoever you are, I hope I live to see your inauguration.”
“I felt a lot of emotions last night and into today; some sadness, some anger, some fear. But I’m also aware that those are the same emotions a lot of Trump supporters felt; emotions that led them to make their choice. And it would be wrong for me to think my emotions are somehow more authentic than their emotions. We’re always better as a society when we have empathy for one another,” he concluded, offering his congratulations for Trump and his supporters.
Bee’s Full Frontal began with a fun montage (starring Jon Stewart, Ana Navarro and Larry Wilmore) of Bee excited that the election was finally over, but the tone quickly turned incredulous and angry before she could turn hopeful.
“How did everyone get this so spectacularly wrong?” she asked, saying it was “white people” who “ruined America.”
“The Caucasian nation showed up in droves to vote for Trump,” she explained.
“America is still a great country and it is still worth fighting for,” Bee said, on a hopeful note. “It has Shonda Rhimes shows, peanut butter, and Beyonce, and Lin-Manuel Miranda rap-weeping at awards shows, and it has the beautiful U.S. Constitution … (which we should probably start teaching in schools).”
“We still have millions of nasty women who aren’t going away, and as along as women over 25 are still allowed on television, I’ll be here cheering them on.”
She then broke down other results of the election, including the first Somali-American legislator, the first Latina U.S. senator, Tammy Duckworth’s Congress election and more.
Over on The Late Show, when Colbert told guest Neil deGrasse Tyson that “it might be hard to do a comedy show” after the election results, the scientist advised him to “invoke the cosmic perspective.” When that didn’t work, they just threw a telescope off the roof.
“I’m not sure what to believe about anything anymore,” said the host in his monologue. “I’m so glad to be with you tonight, I wouldn’t want to be alone right now.”
“We’ve got four very interesting years in front of us,” he said, noting that he didn’t get much sleep last night and things looked bleak on his way to work. “There’s no way around it. This is what it feels like when America’s made great again,” he joked. “I was really hoping it would feel better because this sucks.”
“Don’t stop speaking up. Don’t ever be cowed by what happens in the next four years,” Colbert said. “But, like it or not … for the record, not … we have to accept that Donald Trump will be the 45th president of the United States,” he said, noting that he had to say it one more time “until I stop throwing up in my mouth a little bit.”
He also struggled with what people should tell their kids about the election: “Tell them to work hard, care about other people, don’t be selfish, don’t grab them where they don’t want to be grabbed, and they’ll make the world a better place than Donald Trump can.”
The Late Late Show’s James Corden shared a story about his family moving to the U.S. in order to lift his audience’s spirits.
“When me and my wife told my son that we were going to be moving to America, he looked at us, and I’ll never forget, and he said, ‘Daddy, that’s great.’ Somehow he knew this was a fantastic place to live,” explained Corden. “It’s a country of opportunity and diversity and hope, and that will never change.”
“Whoever you voted for last night Trump, Hillary, those other two … now is the time more than ever to remember our values,” he said. “It’s the tone you set that will define who we are. Treat people with love and respect — go out and put your arm around someone, even if you hate their politics, tell them that you care.”
“If this country can unite together and work together,” he concluded, “we will remember America is great and always has been.”
Jimmy Kimmel took his audience through the stages of grief in the wake of the election results. He said people were in denial that the person who hosted The Apprentice is now president-elect and discussed the anger and blame being thrown about.
Kimmel said the one thing everyone can feel is a sense of relief that the election is finally over. He said he’s going to take a guess at what the future holds for the cast of characters we’ve gotten to know from the election. The host played a video montage set to the song “Shout” depicting the future candidates and their supporters.
In this fictional future, Eric Trump has killed Donald Trump Jr., Chris Christie is a George Washington Bridge tollbooth operator and Scott Baio is starring in Sharknado 5. Bernie Sanders is a Walmart greeter, Ivanka Trump has blocked her father on Tinder and Hillary Clinton is screaming into a pillow.
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