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The presence of Republicans, virtual blunders, and speeches from Michelle Obama and Bernie Sanders were the focus of Late Show host Stephen Colbert’s scorching take on the first night of the 2020 Democratic National Convention.
The late night host quickly shouted out his team for pulling off a live edition of the CBS program before poking holes in the “earnest” feel of the night. After quipping about the DNC’s choices to deliver renditions of the national anthem featuring singers from all 50 states alongside scenes of “economic disaster [and] protests in the streets,” Colbert at one point described the entire event as “the most beautiful and moving Gap ad ever.”
A running Avengers: Endgame gag, in which the Democratic Party “assembled” to take down a Trumpian Thanos, kicked off the 13-minute monologue wherein Colbert picked apart the theme of “We the People.” The Late Show host noted how moved he was by the DNC featuring “regular people all evening” and “not just because some of my best friends are people.
“This feels like the real beginning of the election, a chance for the American people to do the work that our elected officials failed to do for the past four years, and that’s hold Donald Trump accountable,” Colbert said.
Colbert also pilloried the convention’s awkward recording blunders and its higher-profile political guests. One of Colbert’s biggest targets was the general presence of Republicans on night one, including former Ohio Gov. John Kasich, who received criticism for his appearance.
While featuring a clip from Kasich’s speech, which showed him standing at a literal crossroads, Colbert called out the genuineness of the Republican’s “America is at a crossroads” statement, joking that the politician likely knows that place as “that’s where [he] made the deal with that fiery red guy.
“He was there to underline the theme of this convention, ‘Uniting America,'” Colbert said of Kasich’s appearance. “Slightly more inspiring than the Republican Convention theme, ‘Gas protesters and throw mailboxes into the sea.'”
The monologue’s other big moments saw Colbert highlight the night’s “two primetime speakers,” Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders and former first lady Michelle Obama. Colbert first delivered a Sanders impression that acknowledged his work pushing Democrats toward embracing his Medicare-for-All plan but roasted one of the senator’s former colleagues who said Sanders might now feel like Moses.
“Thank you for the compliment, but I knew Moses, I’m nothing like the guy,” Colbert said in a Sanders-like voice. “The top 10 percent of his commandments, only applied to the top 1 percent of the Tribe of Zebulun.”
Pivoting to the night’s big headliner, Michelle Obama, Colbert described her speech as “stirring” but noted that shift from hopeful to “real” “was a short walk from ‘hope and change’ to ‘duck and cover.'” He also joked that her endorsement of the 2020 Democratic candidate was anything but ringing.
“Four years of Trump has really lowered the bar for president,” Colbert said. “‘I support Joe Biden, he believes the Earth orbits the sun, and he won’t stab you.'”
Colbert didn’t just take digs at who did and didn’t appear on the first night. The first entirely virtual convention in American history was anything but smooth, and Colbert capitalized on the awkwardness of socially distanced inspirational speeches.
Among the night’s blunders were Congressman Jim Clyburn’s speech restart. Colbert also pointedly highlighted the cutaways to virtual audience members, one of which followed Bernie’s speech but featured audience members who “didn’t seem to know they were on camera until it was too late.” Another featured two women that lasted “about 100 years.”
“All the awkwardness of the kiss cam and none of the fun of a baseball game,” Colbert quipped.
Watch the full segment below.
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