Late-Night Hosts Take on the First Presidential Debate

Seth Meyers_Trevor Noah_Stephen Colbert_Split - Publicity - H 2016
Lloyd Bishop/NBC; Gavin Bond/Comedy Central; Jeffrey R. Staab/CBS

Seth Meyers_Trevor Noah_Stephen Colbert_Split - Publicity - H 2016

Stephen Colbert concluded that Donald Trump "sounded like he was fighting off a cold...of cocaine."

The first presidential debate was held Monday at Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y., with Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump facing off for the first time in the general election. 

The event, moderated by NBC's Lester Holt, was the focus of several late-night hosts, some of whom aired their shows live Monday in honor of the debate. 

Trevor Noah and Stephen Colbert offered their takes on the night. Colbert even got the opinion of "Ghost Abraham Lincoln." 

As part of The Daily Show's ongoing "Democalypse 2016" coverage, Noah was enthusiastic about the duo going head to head. "And we did not have to wait long for the first lie," said Noah, cutting to a clip of Clinton telling Trump it was good to be there with him. 

He also had plenty to say about Trump's sniffle, which became a trending moment of the night, when several Twitter users called out Trump for possibly having a cold after criticizing Clinton's health for so long. 

"Before the debate started, everyone had their own thought on how this night would go," said Noah. "Was Trump going to be presidential? Would Hillary cough and destroy the world? Would Matt Lauer show up and ask for a second chance?" Noah concluded that Trump's comments at the event needed to be fact-checked. 

Jordan Klepper offered his "insta-pinion," joking that after "being ignored by the media," Trump finally got his moment in the spotlight Monday night. 

After Noah questioned his statement, Klepper got defensive. "Are you fact-checking me? Trevor, this show is biased!"

Klepper visited with The Washington Post's fact-checking team, concluding that while fact-checking Clinton is like "playing chess," fact-checking Trump "is like playing checkers...with someone who's not very good at's pretty boring." He added, "his facts are so easily disproven, there's no joy in the hunt." 

On the live Late Show, Colbert first spoke with "Ghost Abraham Lincoln," who offered his own ideas on debates these days before warning Colbert against going into the theater. 

During his monologue, Colbert joked about Trump's apparent cold and Clinton's lopsided expectations. "Democrats have not been this nervous since Anthony Weiner asked to borrow their phone," he said, "of course the expectations for the two sides were very different." Clinton had to be "charming but not effective" and hopefully "not coughing." 

"Meanwhile, Donald Trump had to not commit murder...on camera. And that low bar was reflected in Donald Trump's debate prep," Colbert continued, reporting that he "tested out zingers" over dinner with friends. 

"He may not have prepared," he said, "but it also looked like he didn't." 

Colbert also pointed out Clinton's "Donald, it's good to be with you" comment, calling on the fact-checkers to call out her "lie." 

Trump's sniffling moment also didn't go unnoticed, with Colbert saying that he "sounded like he was fighting off a cold ...of cocaine." 

"He sounded like the coked-up best man in the bathroom at a wedding." 

Colbert then investigated the elusive "undecided voter" in a segment in which he interviewed one such voter, played by Rob Lowe. 

"I really liked when he said he wanted to bring back Law & Order, I love Mariska Hargitay!" said a clueless Lowe. He answered the rest of Colbert's questions using a Magic 8 ball. 

Over on Late Night, the debate gave Seth Meyers an opportunity for "A Closer Look." 

He was excited about the event, which he says "was moderated by Lester Holt, and heckled by Donald Trump."

"Leading up to the debate, there was a lot of what seemed like spin about how much Donald Trump was preparing for the debate," said Meyers, "and it turns out he really didn't!" 

"The media hyped it like a prize fight," he continued, showing clips of CNN's promos for the event. "Based on that intro, you'd assume the debate was taking place in the UFC Octagon." 

Meyers said that both sides were playing the "expectations game," trying to lower the bar for themselves, with Trump's campaign going so far as to "worry about the difficulty of standing still." 

He broke down what each candidate was advised to do in order to win the debate, calling it a double standard, saying, "basically her tasks looked like advice you'd give a secretary before a job interview in 1950...meanwhile his sounds like you'd give a murderer at a parole hearing. They need to believe you won't kill again." 

The second debate between Clinton and Trump will be a town hall, co-moderated by ABC News' Martha Raddatz and CNN's Anderson Cooper, on Oct. 9 at Washington University in St. Louis. The second debate of the season will be between the vice presidential candidates, Tim Kaine and Mike Pence. CBS News' Elaine Quijano will moderate that debate, scheduled for Oct. 4 at Longwood University in Farmville, Va.