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One day after President Donald Trump slammed three late-night hosts in one rally speech, Stephen Colbert, Jimmy Fallon and Conan O’Brien joined forces and imagined how to reply to the slight Tuesday on CBS’ The Late Show and NBC’s The Tonight Show.
Trump’s comments followed a brief spat with Fallon on Sunday and Monday, in which the president attacked the NBC host for expressing regrets on a Hollywood Reporter podcast for a Tonight Show episode in which he’d tussled Trump’s hair. Trump continued his verbal assault on late-night TV at a South Carolina rally Monday, where he took shots at Fallon, as well as Colbert and ABC’s Live! host Jimmy Kimmel.
In a joint cold open to both The Late Show and The Tonight Show on Tuesday, Colbert video-chatted with Fallon and discussed the insults. “Hey lowlife!” Fallon greeted his CBS compatriot, mimicking Trump’s name for him at the rally.
“Hey lost soul!” Colbert said back. Moments later, he told Fallon to “be a man,” referencing Trump’s tweet at the NBC host Sunday. For his part, Colbert said that he was “busy having no talent.”
Fallon then introduced Colbert to Trump’s rally comments, citing the president’s remark that the hosts are “no-talent, lowlife lost souls.”
“Well that’s not right,” Colbert joked. “That’s Conan.” He then called O’Brien, who appeared onscreen in shaving cream and seemed not to know Trump is president. He warned the hosts to “be civil, in case this could get ugly.”
Colbert and Fallon then made lunch plans to eat at Red Hen, the Lexington, Va., establishment that kicked press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders out last weekend because, in Sanders’ words, “I work for @POTUS.”
Watch the full segment above.
Colbert continued to lean into Trump calling him “the guy on CBS,” replacing all of the references to Stephen Colbert in his show’s theme song with “the guy” and introducing himself at the top of his monologue as “the guy on CBS.”
In a later monologue segment, Colbert addressed Trump’s criticism directly, first joking that, since the president didn’t name “the guy on CBS,” he must have been talking about James Corden.
“Hey, Mr. President, I will not stand here and let you talk that way about James Corden. He’s very talented. He sings, he dances,” Colbert said. “Have you seen his ‘Carpool Karaoke’ with Paul McCartney? James Corden is a fine man; he is my friend. Did you see his ‘Carpool Karaoke’ with Paul McCartney? I laughed, I cried. They sang ‘Penny Lane’ on Penny Lane. You’re an animal.”
After realizing Trump was talking about him, he tried to rebut the “no talent” claim by doing a trick with his right ear.
“All these women are pregnant now,” Colbert joked. “That’s how virile this is.”
He went on to claim Trump didn’t mention his name because the South Carolina native is beloved in his home state.
“I think he called me the guy on CBS because he’s afraid to say my name. This rally was in South Carolina, and I am a favorite son of the Palmetto State.… Those people know I love them. That’s why he didn’t say my name. If you say my name three times there, I appear. It’s actually very hard on my personal life. I am South Carolina to the core.… I am South Carolina’s second-favorite celebrity, right after the Confederate flag.”
Colbert also teed off on Trump saying he liked Johnny Carson, playing a clip of the late Tonight Show host making a joke that made fun of Trump.
Kimmel, whom Trump also criticized, is off this week.
CBS This Morning on Wednesday revealed some behind-the-scenes details about the opener, perhaps via Colbert’s executive producer and CBS This Morning alum Chris Licht. According to Gayle King, “The idea was Stephen’s. He called Jimmy [Fallon] yesterday and the Tonight Show host quickly agreed. Jimmy Kimmel, by the way, is on vacation and totally off the grid. But Conan O’Brien also agreed to join in. The entire open was shot yesterday afternoon.”
June 26, 6:52 p.m.: Updated to reflect cold open appearing on Tonight Show.
June 27, 6:24 a.m.: Updated to include Colbert’s additional comments.
June 27, 1:31 p.m. Updated to include behind-the-scenes details from CBS This Morning.
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