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As the second Democratic debate of 2019 concluded Thursday in Miami, late-night hosts Stephen Colbert, Seth Meyers, Trevor Noah and Jimmy Fallon went live once again to offer their political and social commentary on the anticipated broadcast.
For the second night, hopeful candidates included former Vice President Joe Biden, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, California Sen. Kamala Harris and South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg. Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet, New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, California Rep. Eric Swalwell, author Marianne Williamson and entrepreneur Andrew Yang also took the stage to participate in the debate.
Moderators for the debate were NBC Nightly News anchor Lester Holt, Today show anchor Savannah Guthrie, Telemundo and NBC Nightly News anchor Jose Diaz-Balart, Meet the Press moderator Chuck Todd and MSNBC anchor Rachel Maddow.
On The Daily Show, which aired right after the debate, Noah described the second debate as a “fairly chill” event but one that still had some standout moments.
Of Buttigieg speaking Spanish, Noah quipped that “it was the same telenovela we started last night.” He also quipped, “I bet wherever Trump was, he was like, ‘Can we deport the Democrats’?”
Noah also made fun of Sanders consistently shouting throughout the debate, which is when Noah believes things really started to “heat up.” “Bernie! Who is dumb enough to engage with Bernie in a shouting match? You know there were 10 people on the stage shouting, along with the moderators, and Bernie just shouts down them all. ‘Just you wait until I shout on my mic!'”
One of the big topics was healthcare, with Noah describing the range of opinions as going “all the way from Medicare for All to whatever Marianne Williamson was talking about.” When discussing healthcare, Williamson began explaining how despite it being nice for candidates to have plans, “Trump didn’t win on a plan,” but rather “he won on ‘Make America Great Again.'”
“That’s a pretty bold move for a candidate to say ‘I”m anti-plan, OK? We don’t need a plan, just give me one vial of CBD oil and our chakras will be aligned,'” Noah said.
Noah then turned his attention to Swalwell taking a shot at “sleepy Joe” by telling him to “pass the torch.” “That’s right, Biden is not letting go of that torch, even though that torch is really uncomfortable and telling Biden he’s [not really into] him holding on to it,” the late-night host joked.
Meanwhile, Harris also took a shot at Biden, pressing him on his record on school busing legislation, something Noah said confirmed Biden had a “target on his back” throughout the night. “Holy shit, she just pulled an M. Night Shyamalan. She was black the whole movie! I didn’t see that moment coming, did you? That whole moment was so brutal on Joe Biden I wanted to give him a massage.”
On The Late Show, Colbert was quick to discuss front-runner Biden facing the “Kamala Harris flame thrower.”
“I believe in global warming because Kamala Harris was on fire,” the late-night host said. Colbert also riffed on the fact that Harris is a former prosecutor, as he joked, “She found everyone guilty of being less interesting.”
To celebrate Biden’s lead in the polls, his supporters were handed free ice cream called “Joe Cones,” which Colbert joked was “what Biden also wears to make sure he respects personal space each day.” “Tonight, the Joe Cone was met by the Kamala Harris flame-thrower. He had the Joe Cone, but she had the I-scream-you-scream-holy-cow-she-might-be-president!”
During the debate, Harris advised the arguing candidates that “America does not want to witness a food fight” because “they want to know how we are going to put food on their table.” This moment was one that Colbert described as something Harris was ready for. “She had that line ready. She had that and some Tupperware.”
Meanwhile, when Harris spoke about race to Biden, Colbert said: “I believe Harris on busing because she clearly just took Biden to school.” Colbert then turned his attention to Swalwell’s “pass the torch” jab at Biden. “Swalwell already has that torch because that was a sick burn.”
Apart from discussing Biden and Harris, Colbert also made a quip about the night’s continuous Spanish-speaking. “Wow! I knew Buttigieg spoke Norwegian but I had no idea he spoke Beto O’Rourke.” He also commented on Sanders’ argument that Democrats would win against Trump “by exposing him of being a fraud.” “Not sure we need to do that, Senator, Trump already has a long history of exposing himself — kinda icky,” Colbert said.
On Late Night, Meyers took a “Closer Look” at the second debate night, primarily focusing on how much of a target Biden seemed to be among candidates.
Of Swalwell’s jab, Meyers said: “Damn. You’re bringing a Biden quote to take down Biden? Come on! If anyone is going to take down Joe Biden with a Joe Biden quote, it’s Joe Biden,” Meyers said. The host also mentioned that Biden tends to flash a big smile despite the circumstances: “Joe Biden uses his teeth like Wonder Woman uses her bracelets. That zinger just bounced right off the pearly white wall.”
“It was clear everyone wanted a shot at Biden tonight,” the late-night host added. “Man, who didn’t get a crack at Biden during this debate? Surprised one of the moderators didn’t go ‘Hey, man, you were great in Gran Torino.'”
Meyers further described Biden as the candidate who appeared to be the most “defeated,” even stopping mid-sentence when it was his chance to speak. “You know it’s bad when you’re cutting yourself off. Also when everyone is saying you’re too old to be president, don’t say your time is up,” Meyers said.
Meyers also took a moment to praise Harris for her “food fight” comment, something he says “embarrassed them so badly” that “John Hickenlooper had to go stand in the corner.” He then joked about the “cockfight” the candidates seemed to have as they all shouted at the same time. “You guys think you can win a scream fight with Bernie Sanders? You’re bringing a kazoo to a bullhorn fight.”
The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon also broadcast a live show after the political event, which Fallon described as “Operation Destroy Joe Biden.” “Everyone went after Biden, but with 10 people onstage it seemed less like a debate and more of a lightning round,” Fallon said.
Fallon also said that Harris had the “line of the night” with her “food fight” comment. “She was so good, Trump endorsed Biden so he wouldn’t have to face her.” The late-night host also addressed Biden and Sanders being among the oldest of the candidates. “I’m not saying those two are old but their podiums were the only ones with tennis balls at the bottom.”
Further commenting on the “40 year age difference” among candidates, Fallon referenced Buttigieg’s comment that his fellow candidates wanted to go back to the 1990s. “Hey Pete, the top movies right now are Toy Story, Men in Black and Aladdin. We’re already back in the ’90s.”
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