Late Night tackles the Trump-Biden transition
January 8, 2021

The Late Show opened Thursday's show using North Korea to underscore how terrible Wednesday's assault on the U.S. Capitol was for U.S. democracy.

"That's right, a pro-Trump mob stormed the Capitol yesterday and forced the joint session of Congress to halt the certification of the Electoral College vote — and if this is the first you're hearing of it, welcome Fox viewers," Seth Meyers joked at Late Night. "After inciting yesterday's assault on the U.S. Capitol, President Trump released a statement early this morning pledging 'an orderly transition on Jan. 20.' Oh, he pledged? Well then, we're good. He never goes back on a pledge. Just ask Marla, Ivana, or this Bible."

Trump is clearly "terrified," because he released a video Thursday evening that "definitely has the feel of someone who has been told by their lawyer that in 13 days or less, they can be charged with insurrection, sedition, and inciting violence," Stephen Colbert said at The Late Show. But "he doesn't mean a word of it. A man facing a noose will say anything to save his neck."

There's "some serious someone-has-to-take-away-Grandpa's-car-keys energy" in Washington, but Trump's allies are suggesting antifa, not Trump supporters, was responsible for Wednesday's "angry, seditious mob," Colbert said. That would be more plausible "if the president's supporters would stop bragging that they're the ones who rioted," he added, showing examples.

"Things are so crazy, today Mexico was like, 'If you need a wall around your Capitol, we'll pay for it,'" Jimmy Fallon joked at The Tonight Show. "Trump finally acknowledged that there will be an 'orderly transition' of power on Jan. 20. When Trump says there will be an orderly transition, he means an orderly is going to have to drag him out the front door." Meanwhile, he said, "according to his closest allies, Trump is 'mentally unreachable,' while another source believes the president is 'out of his mind.' If any more news from 2016 breaks throughout the night, we'll be sure to keep you updated."

"I love that these people are just now realizing this man is not fit to be president," Jimmy Kimmel said on Kimmel Live. "Have you never seen his Pizza Hut commercials? But the end of this nonsense is near. We have 13 days of Trump to go, possibly less." He said the chaos of Trump's final days reminds him of "The Snake," a lyric poem Trump used to love to read. Watch Kimmel use it against Trump below. Peter Weber

December 15, 2020

"Just moments before tonight's taping, the Electoral College officially certified that Joseph R. Biden on the 2020 presidential election — again!" Stephen Colbert said on Monday's Late Show. "He did it! He's still the winner! At this point, Joe Biden has won the election so many times, he's our 46th president through 51st president."

"It looks like the president has finally run through all the possible ways he can attempt to destroy our democracy, but that doesn't mean his months-long assault hasn't done some damage," Colbert said. "Perhaps the worst recent assault against democracy was the super dumb lawsuit filed by Texas" and joined by other GOP attorneys general and 126 House Republicans. "This lawsuit was the president's last hope," he noted, and the Supreme Court shooting it down has "gotta sting. The president personally stacked the court to hand him the election, then they all went reasonable on his ass."

Even the Supreme Court's "extreme conservatives, including three Trump appointees, didn't want to be anywhere near this thing because it was too crazy," Seth Meyers said at Late Night. "They were all happy to go with Trump to TP the principal's house, but when he said, 'Now, should we go in and kill him?' he had to know they were going to back out."

Trump "was sure that he could count on his hand-picked Supreme Court justices to rule in is favor," but it was "such a weird case for them to get," Trevor Noah said at The Daily Show. Texas suing other states for how they ran their elections is "like telling the waiter that another table should have their food sent back." Between the Supreme Court defeat and the Electoral College defeat, "this really should be the end of it," Noah said. But "Donald Trump did not become a successful businessman by accepting that he was a failed businessman, and he's not about to accept that he lost the Electoral College, either."

The Electoral College's vote is the final chapter, and what a relief — "I would hate to start another week of shows without talking about the same election results we've all known for the last month and a half," James Corden deadpanned at The Late Late Show. "At this point, Trump's only remaining option is just going limp and just laying on the Oval Office floor, like my 3-year-old does when they refuse to leave a toy store." Peter Weber

December 3, 2020

"Yesterday it came out that President Trump might give Rudy Giuliani a pre-emptive pardon — well now he's thinking about the same thing for his son-in-law Jared Kushner and his kids Ivanka, Eric, and Don Jr.," Jimmy Fallon said on Wednesday's Tonight Show. "It's not a great look for your presidency when your biggest accomplishment is 'most family members pardoned.' It's pretty crazy. The last person who needed pardons for their whole family was Charles Manson."

Meanwhile, "Tiffany Trump is somewhere, like, 'Hello! I can commit crimes, too. Stop ignoring me, Dad,'" James Corden joked at The Late Late Show. "To be fair, Don Jr. says he doesn't need a pardon — unless cocaine is illegal."

"Usually presidents grant pardons after they've been vetted very carefully by the Justice Department," Jimmy Kimmel said at Kimmel Live. "Trump is shooting them out of a T-shirt cannon right now." Still, "Trump has a real opportunity here," he added. "He could pardon Joe Exotic, Rudy Giuliani, Jared from Subway, Suge Knight, Aunt Becky, put them all in a house, and boom! Donald Trump's Celebrity A-penitentiary, this summer on ABC."

Seriously, "Tiger King" Joe Exotic thinks he has a real shot at a lame-duck pardon from Trump, Stephen Colbert noted at The Late Show. "Oh come on! A ridiculous, washed-up, paranoid, obviously guilty reality star might pardon Joe Exotic?" Trump won't admit he lost, but the pardon talk gives the game away. It's not clear what crimes Trump thinks his kids might have committed, but "a pre-emptive blanket pardon for everything you might have done seems a little excessive," he said. "Crime-ing is like drinking: It's a red flag if you don't know exactly how many drinks you've had or how many crimes you've done."

"Trump is just handing out pardons like they're gift cards: 'I figured I'd let you pick your own crimes. So enjoy!'" Trevor Noah said at The Daily Show. In fact, "it turns out anyone may be able to get a pardon from Trump — for the right price." Trump isn't publicly implicated in a newly revealed "bribery-for-pardon" scheme, he noted, but "after knowing him for this long, I think we can assume that my man is not going to turn down some pardon cash. If anything, I think we should be impressed that he hasn't started targeting Instagram ads to former felons." Watch below. Peter Weber

December 2, 2020

It's already December, and "people are making their Christmas lists — for example, Rudy Giuliani is asking Trump for a pardon," Jimmy Fallon said on Tuesday's Tonight Show. "I'm actually not kidding," he clarified. "It's not a great sign when your lawyer comes to you like, 'Dude, you got to get me out of this jam.'" Now, "Rudy hasn't been charged with anything yet, so they're calling this a pre-emptive pardon," he added. "Apparently he told Trump that there's a Borat 3, and it's a lot worse."

On Monday, "Wisconsin and Arizona became the latest states to formally certify Biden's victory — and Arizona's ceremony happened at a particularly awkward moment for Donald Trump," Trevor Noah said at The Daily Show, showing Gov. Doug Ducey (R) not answering Trump's call on live TV. "That is cold, sending the president of the United States to voicemail like he's spam — which he is, but still. You know Fox & Friends were watching this like, 'Oh, that's a good trick.'" Trump is not losing the White House empty-handed, though, he added. "Damn, we all knew that he's probably grift hard on his way out, but hustling $170 million from his own supporters?"

"Uncle Scam has been raking it in," Jimmy Kimmel agreed on Kimmel Live. "And maybe that's the reason he won't concede." "Trump's "own attorney general today, William Barr, dropped a December surprise on him," saying there was essentially no election fraud, he added. "If Bill Barr had a neck, Trump would totally be wringing it right now." Kimmel also chuckled at Ducey "ghosting" Trump, but noted that "after being publicly screened, the president called in to hearing in Arizona on the subject of voter fraud to drop a Ducey on Doug," Still, privately Trump has reportedly accepted reality, Kimmel said. "I guess once he lost Wisconsin five times in 10 days, he realized the end might be near."

"Christmas has come early this year, as the president continues to shower us all with the gift of watching him lose every day — sometimes several times a day," Stephen Colbert said at The Late Show. "The president has failed to the vote certification in all six states where he contested his defeat. So that's 0 and 6 in the certification and 0 and 3 in recounts, and he hasn't won a a single fraud case. He is undefeated at losing. He is the Michael Jordan of playing baseball." Watch below. Peter Weber

December 1, 2020

"On Sunday morning, President Trump did his first post-election TV interview with Maria Bartiromo on Fox News — it lasted 46 minutes, and I'm getting the sense he's not quite over the election," Jimmy Fallon deadpanned on Monday's Tonight Show. "It started as a conspiracy theory about fraud, it turned into a commercial for the Squatty Potty. Yeah, I was worried that the end of Trump's presidency might get embarrassing, but at least he's only on national TV saying 'big massive dumps.'" Seriously, he added, "even the biggest Trump supporters were like, 'Maybe we should let Rudy Giuliani talk about this instead.'"

Tooning Out the News focused on Trump's fraud claims to Bartiromo — and then sat him down for "the talk."

Trump "called in to the always sycophantic Maria Bartiromo show to make a cornucopia of unchallenged false claims," and to be fair, "when you get to his age, a lot of your conversation is about the size of your dumps," Jimmy Kimmel joked at Kimmel Live. "Trump still hasn't made a concession speech, he continues to dispute the results of the election," he noted. "We might have to file a restraining order against him." Meanwhile, every state Trump is contesting has now certified Biden's win, including Wisconsin, where Trump's $3 million recount added 87 votes to Biden's tally, he laughed. "Money well spent. No president has ever lost one election so many times."

"This is how the lame duck chose to spend his final Thanksgiving at the White House: He threw a world class Trumper-tantrum from behind a tiny little desk," Kimmel said. "Sitting at a little baby desk, screaming 'You can't talk to the president that way,' this is how I want to remember him."

Trump is still president for two months, and he's using that time to make it "much harder for legal immigrants to become citizens" and "expanding the ways the federal government can execute someone," Trevor Noah said at The Daily Show. But "what's really interesting is that Donald Trump isn't the only one who's trying to go big before he goes home. Many of his international allies know that when Joe Biden steps into the White House, they won't have as much leeway to do whatever they want," and "I don't think this kind of thing is going to stop with Israel." Watch below. Peter Weber

November 25, 2020

President Trump pardoned a turkey on Tuesday, and The Late Show turned that into a dark, Thelma and Louise-themed comedy.

Yes, Seth Meyers said at Late Night, "Trump today presided over the annual Thanksgiving White House turkey pardon — though the Southern District of New York reminded the turkey that he could still be prosecuted for state crimes."

The pardoned turkey, Corn, was "a lucky, lucky bird — to have a better legal team than the president," Stephen Colbert joked at The Late Show. But "there you have it: An innocent turkey pardoned by a lame duck." Trump is "distancing himself from the national embarrassment that is Rudy Giuliani," his lawyer, who amazingly "wasn't always the troll living under America's bridge," and he's "looking to align himself with the more reputable figure" of Randy Quaid, Colbert deadpanned, going through Trump's retweets of the colorful actor's posts, especially a video Quaid shared. "I believe he's using what's known as mood lighting. The mood? Peyote bender."

"Trump took a break from his busy schedule of retweeting Randy Quaid and carried out the presidential tradition of pardoning a turkey," Jimmy Fallon said at The Tonight Show. "The bird needed to be pardoned after it was let down by its bumbling lawyer, Rooster Giuliani." It turns out "people could go online and vote for the turkey they wanted pardoned, Corn or Cob," he added, but "Corn might have won because the vote was rigged by Hugo Chavez."

With Trump's legal avenues blocked, his administration "paved the way for what has been the most highly anticipated transition since Caitlyn Jenner," Jimmy Kimmel said on Kimmel Live. But Trump isn't conceding, and "he isn't happy with Fox News, or some of his fellow Republicans. This morning he expressed that displeasure by retweeting actor Randy Quaid" five times, including that bizarre "video attack on Fox News." Kimmel laughed "Look out kids, Santa's been eating bath salts this year," he said. "Randy Quaid, let's just say he makes Gary Busey look like Dr. Fauci."

"Now, you might remember Randy Quaid as the nutty Cousin Eddie from Christmas Vacation, or as the nutty fighter pilot from Independence Day, or as the nutty criminal fugitive from real life," James Corden said at The Late Late Show. Still, "five Randy Quaid retweets! Two, sure; three, pushing it. Five? I think that makes him secretary of agriculture." Watch below. Peter Weber

November 24, 2020

"The president's slow-moving coup is not going that well," Stephen Colbert said on Monday's Late Show. "This afternoon, the Michigan election board certified Joe Biden's win in that state, then tonight we just learned moments ago that the General Services Administration informed President-elect Joe Biden the administration is ready to begin the formal transition process." That makes it official, he said. "Our next commander in chief will be President Biden. Which means somewhere, right now, Rudy Giuliani is filing a last-ditch legal claim that our current president's name has always been Joe Biden."

"With so many people humiliated by the absolute incompetence of his legal team, the president did what had to be done and fired someone named Sidney Powell," Colbert said. "If you don't know who she is, congratulations, now you don't have to know. But I'm going to tell you anyway." And he did.

Powell "got kicked off Trump's legal team for being too crazy," Jimmy Fallon marveled at The Tonight show. "That's like getting kicked off of Real Housewives for being too crazy. Seriously, you know how nuts you have to be when Rudy Giuliani's head starts leaking and you're the one who gets fired?"

"Here's how big of an embarrassment she was to the Trump team," James Corden elaborated at The Late Late Show: "The guy who held a press conference next to a sex shop, and last week had hair dye running down his face, and who wears loafers that look like clown shoes — that guy, still on the team. But I saw this coming, I did. Any good conspiracy theorist will tell you if you rearrange the letters in Sidney Powell, you get Needy Pillows, which is obviously nod to the MyPillow CEO, who invented coronavirus to destabilize the neck-support industry. I gotta be honest, I spent a lot of time on the internet this weekend."

"Trump is concerned that his legal team is made up of fools that are making him look bad," Jimmy Kimmel laughed at Kimmel Live. "They said the same thing about you." Meanwhile, "we still haven't seen the president concede — we've barely even seen the president," thanks largely to golf, he shrugged. "I've never seen a guy try so hard to keep a job he doesn't even do." Watch another one of Kimmel's "great ideas" to get Trump to leave office below. Peter Weber

November 19, 2020

President Trump is bunkered in the White House, unwilling to admit he lost the election and causing logistical dilemmas for his staff. The Late Show offered a solution Wednesday night.

"Bad news first: the president is actively working to undermine our democracy, usurp the will of the people, and hold onto power in violation of our Constitution," Stephen Colbert said on The Late Show. "Good news: He's really bad at it. The president is desperate to somehow throw out the votes for Biden, but like everything else in his administration, it's a race between autocracy and incompetence," and incompetence is winning.

Despite Trump's "coupnanigans," states are "starting to certify their results, and that will be the end of his one term," Colbert said. Still, "the Republicans are throwing some pretty disgraceful Hail Marys," like the brief efforts by two GOP election officials in Michigan, to cancel Detroit's ballots. "Oh, hell no! You can disenfranchise Motown," he said, explaining why with a medley.

"Basically what happened was, the Republicans on this commission tried to disenfranchise Detroit voters, but people on the Zoom call shut that down by exposing their hypocrisy," Trevor Noah explained at The Daily Show. "So on the one hand, it's great that this election board's scheme was stopped, but on the other hand, you know things are going bad when an election board is making national news."

And "while it's true that no one has turned up evidence of widespread fraud, Georgia just finished recounting its votes, and they found 2,600 ballots that had not been counted, with most of those votes being for Trump," Noah said, suggesting that's also a bad look for democracy.

"Look, it's very unlikely this dumbass coup attempt by Trump and his gang of weirdo, lopsided goons — or as I'm calling them, The Kooky Cuckoo Coup Crew — will succeed, but it's alarming enough that they're trying," Seth Meyers said at Late Night. "And we are finding out who in the Republican Party would be willing to go along with an actual coup attempt in the future if, say, an election was much closer, or if they had another chance to accept criminal interference from a foreign country, of if Rudy Giuliani tried to break into a ballot machine to change votes for Trump only to realize it's a pinball machine at a pizzeria in Yonkers." Watch below. Peter Weber

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