Stephen Colbert Reveals Why He Cried Over Election News, Hopes Post-Trump

Stephen Colbert
CBS

Separately, 'Late Night' host Seth Meyers joked about what his show would be like after the headline-making president's term ends and told a touching story about President-elect Joe Biden.

Stephen Colbert appeared elated on Monday's Late Show at the news that Joe Biden was the projected winner of the 2020 presidential election.

The CBS host kicked off his monologue by pouring two glasses of champagne, one for himself and one for his wife, Evie, who had joined him in his small, COVID-19-era studio.

And, as he recapped how people were celebrating and cheering on city streets, he too danced and fired a T-shirt cannon at his crew.

"It's never a good sign when the majority of Americans react to you losing your job the way they did to us getting Bin Laden," Colbert said. "It feels like America is — what's the word — great again."

Beyond that, Colbert revealed how he, specifically, reacted to the news, announced Saturday shortly before noon on the East Coast, that Biden had won enough states to receive the necessary 270 votes for an Electoral College victory, explaining that he and his wife were on their porch and he sat down and "just started crying with relief."

He added, "Evie said, 'You never have to talk about him again.' And then I cried with joy."

And, despite discussing the president's refusal to concede, Colbert mused about his hopes for a calmer, "nicer" era.

"When he leaves, you know what I'm looking forward to? Sleep. But also the possibility that for the first time in four years, we will be able to shift our collective focus away from him, onto anything else, maybe each other," he said. "Wouldn't that be nice?"

He added, "I got up this morning. I was walking down the steps, and I just felt all of this available brain space. It's not filled with anything else yet. It's just like a clean kitchen counter where something could be made, if we're just not cluttering it up with that guy."

He argued that even though former President Barack Obama was "charismatic" and considered by some to be a celebrity, "there were whole days when you didn't think about him. Remember that? Probably not, because you weren't thinking about him."

And Colbert hoped that after Trump's term ends, people, including himself, he said, might be "nicer."

"One of the things that I've found about this job is that I tend to reflect back the national tone, and that tone comes from the top," he explained. "The president's only emotions are 'I'm angry,' 'Look at me,' and 'I'm angry you're not looking at me.' And because he was the only thing we were focused on for the last four years, and this was entirely my responsibility, I've done harsher jokes than I've ever done in my entire life.

"This is why they say, 'Don't wrestle with a pig,' because you'll both get filthy and the pig likes it. And also your pig impression really hasn't gotten better in the past four years," Colbert said. "But I'm mostly looking forward to the idea of knowing things again. The last four years have been an assault on objective reality … We have spent the last four years debating the value of the Enlightenment with a reality show host."

Later, on NBC's Late Night, host Seth Meyers recalled asking Biden to be the second guest on his first show, feeling strongly that his friend Amy Poehler should be his first guest.

"I did not believe then and do not believe now that I would ever have this job, if it wasn't for her," he said, explaining that despite asking the United States' then-vice president to follow Poehler, Biden "said without hesitation that it would be an honor to follow the great Amy Poehler.

"I believe he said that for two reasons: Number one, he is at his core a decent human being, and number two, he knew that if we asked Amy to go second, it would be a whole thing," Meyers said, joking about Poehler's attitude.

Meyers then showed off the presents that Amtrak fan Biden gave him, including a conductor's hat in his size and a train whistle, which Meyers explained has become increasingly valuable to him because he blows it after he tells his sons goodnight and before he does the show.

"So every day that I look at it, I think about Joe Biden. I also think about Trump, because the last four years have totally blown," Meyers said, blowing the whistle.

The NBC host also tweaked the assumption that Trump gave late night hosts a trove of material. He kicked off the show by greeting his audience before noticing that the rest of his cue card was empty.

"Huh, I guess we were over-reliant on him," Meyers mused.

Later, after the train story, he joked, "Everybody's like, 'What are you going to do if he loses?' 'Whistle bits, duh.'"