last night on late night
November 5, 2020

The day after a divisive election that revealed a country split sharply along partisan, demographic, and geographical lines, Jimmy Kimmel Live showed leading politicians reading mean tweets about themselves, perhaps suggesting self-deprecation as a way to bridge America's political chasm. Not all the politicians reacted to the mean tweets with the grace of celebrities, musicians, and athletes, but you do get a real sense of their personality and sense of humor. Watch below. Peter Weber

October 28, 2020

Trevor Noah had a good laugh on Tuesday's Daily Show about a Florida man who stole a bulldozer from an Arby's and tore up Joe Biden lawn signs in people's yards, followed by a good-natured lecture on how politics has taken over our lives. "Meanwhile, President Trump, the Florida Man in chief, is holding coronavirus giveaways all across the Midwest — and he clearly is getting tired of attacking Joe Biden because now he's putting effort into getting Kamala Harris," he said. Trump's attacks on the Democratic vice presidential nominee are outlandish, mendacious, and a little revealing.

"I love that a 'female socialist' president is Trump's worst nightmare," Noah said. "Because now I can just picture him waking up in a cold sweat and Melania just being like, 'Oh no, honey, was it the female socialist president again?' I'm just kidding, Melania and Trump don't share a bedroom." He also found it amusing that Trump is criticizing Harris' laugh, or anything else about her. "My man, you look like you were built by the same company who made the Tower of Pisa," Noah said. "I'm surprised people don't pose in front of you as well."

At The Late Show, musical director Jon Batiste went the other direction and created a whole song about Harris, his MVP, "most vice presidential."

The Late Show also mocked Jared Kushner's comments on Black people not wanting success. You can watch that below. Peter Weber

October 27, 2020

With the presidential election a week away, Democrat Joe Biden is the clear favorite. Yet "all of us — Republicans and Democrats, journalists and party operatives, political junkies and casual observers — are held hostage by memories of four Novembers ago," when President Trump scored his huge upset, Tim Alberta writes at Politico. "The bad news for Trump supporters: 2020 is nothing like 2016."

"We know what those polls suggest," Peggy Noonan observed in The Wall Street Journal. "But there is little air of defeat among Trump supporters and no triumphalism among Democrats. Trump supporters believe he will win because of his special magic, Trump foes fear he will win because of his dark magic. Pollsters and pundits stare at the data and wonder how to quantify his unfathomable magic."

Real Time's Bill Maher is nervous about the election, too, "but it's not election night, it's Nov. 4 to Jan. 20, and then after," he told Jimmy Kimmel on Monday's Kimmel Live. "It's impossible to imagine, I think, Trump losing and then and then saying, 'Well, we fought the good fight but the best man won, and I'm telling my staff to graciously allow Biden to take over.' No, he's never going to do that. He's going to lose — my prediction. Now, last time I didn't even say Hillary was going to win, when most people did. This time I do think Biden's gonna win by large numbers, popular vote and even the Electoral vote, and then Trump is gonna go apes--t."

Trump "doesn't do losing — other than three marriages, three casinos, four magazines, an airline, a football league, a charity, and a university, he's never lost anything," Maher deadpanned. "So he's not going to go gently into the night. That's what I worry about. And he's a master of 'It isn't written down, so I can do it.'" Watch Maher's explanation of how that might work with the Electoral College below. Peter Weber

October 27, 2020

Borat showed up to taunt Jimmy Kimmel on Jimmy Kimmel Live last week, but Stephen Colbert got to interview Sacha Baron Cohen on Monday's Late Show. And Cohen had some new details about Borat Subsequent Moviefilm's most infamous scene, where Rudy Giuliani, President Trump's personal lawyer, puts himself in a compromising position with a young actress playing Borat's daughter, Tutar.

Giuliani "has denied that he was actually doing anything untoward toward this girl, this 24-year-old woman playing your 15-year-old daughter," Colbert said. "Do you have anything to say to Rudy Giuliani about going into a bedroom with a supposedly teenage girl to drink whisky and zip your pants up and down?" Cohen noted that Giuliani "said that he did nothing inappropriate, and you know, my feeling is if he sees that as appropriate, then heaven knows what he's intended to do with other women in hotel rooms with a glass of whisky in his hand."

Cohen explained that while the actress, Maria Bakalova, was in the hotel room with Giuliani, he was hiding in a custom-built box in the wardrobe, unable to see but supposed to be getting updates from his producer based on the cameras hidden in the room. "You don't want Maria left alone with Giuliani," Colbert suggested, and Cohen said Giuliani thought he was alone with her. "He brought a cop with him, an ex-policeman, and the policeman does a sweep of the entire hotel suite," he explained, and then Rudy's security guard left and "sits outside the room, ensuring that no one could come in and out — which is actually more scary when you think about it, for her." Things got even dicier when he turned on the phone, Cohen said.

Cohen also recounted what really happened when he interviewed Trump as another of his alter-egos, Ali G, and showed unreleased footage of Borat narrowly escaping a gun-rights rally after being recognized by undercover Black Lives Matter activists. Watch below. Peter Weber

October 21, 2020

"Joining me tonight is legend who has written over 3,000 songs, won 10 Grammy Awards, and has a new book called Dolly Parton: Songteller," Stephen Colbert said on Tuesday's Late Show. He asked Parton about the title of her book. "I really think of myself as a songteller, because I write songs but I tell stories in my songs," she said. Parton said loves singing and performing for her fans, "but there's just something about writing songs, it's just kind of like my personal time with God, you know. I don't need anything other than me and whatever instrument I'm using at the time."

Colbert asked Parton if she remembered any of the songs her mother used to sing to her, and she said yes, all of them. "Mamma used to sing all of those old songs brought over from the Old World," Parton said, "and so many of those songs were sad — and as I say, some of them just plum pitiful. But I remember many songs. There was a song she used to sing called 'Bury Me Beneath the Willow.'"

She sang it, a cappella, and Colbert teared up. "Oh, are you crying?" Parton asked in the middle of the song. "So I'd better hush before you cry yourself to death and we can't finish the show," she teased him at the end. Colbert laughed: "Like a lot of Americans, I'm under a lot of stress right now, Dolly. And you got under my tripwire right there." Parton said she and her mom would also cry when she sang those songs, and they agreed that crying is good for cleansing your soul.

"Everybody's got their favorite Dolly Parton songs," his being "Butterfly," Colbert said. "What are your Top 3 Dolly Parton songs?" Her top one was "The Coat of Many Colors," and there was also the deep cut "Down From Dover." And if we're going to be strict about it "Jolene" didn't make the cut. Watch below. Peter Weber

October 20, 2020

Sacha Baron Cohen is getting good reviews for his portrayal of Abbie Hoffman in The Trial of the Chicago 7, but it was Borat who showed up on Monday's Jimmy Kimmel Live. And he performed the full Borat, from blaming the coronavirus on Wuhan, Israel, to hijacking the interview with his own list of questions and medical exams. "In the last week, have you been in the presence for more than 15 minutes of any Jews?" he asked in his health screening, before dipping into QAnon territory. "As member of Hollywood elite, have you recently drunk any unpasteurized children's blood. ... Really, not in any pizza parlors recently? Very surprising."

Borat's daughter, Tutar (played by Irina Novak, or maybe Maria Bakalova?), joined him in the second part of the interview, and hijinks ensued. Kimmel managed to both not ask any questions and lose his pants, but somehow you get a taste of Borat 2 anyway. Watch below. Peter Weber

The Week Staff

October 13, 2020

If you need a reason to listen to a new cover of John Denver's enduring classic "Take Me Home, Country Roads," Monday was the 23rd anniversary of the day Denver died in a plane crash in the Pacific Ocean on Oct. 12, 1997. That's why the band Whitney performed the song for Stephen Colbert's Late Show. But it's also just a really great song for listening to at any time, and Whitney does a good job with it. Peter Weber

September 30, 2020

Watching Tuesday night's presidential debate "was painful," Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) told Stephen Colbert on Tuesday night's Late Show. "I mean, to see a Fox News commentator have to try to constantly wrestle with the president of the United States just so Joe Biden would have time to speak, it was embarrassing to our country." President Trump acted like he thinks, "Well, Putin doesn't have to go through these things, why do I even have to be here?" he added, "What I liked about Joe Biden is he kept trying to turn it away from the two men on the stage and back to the American people."

"The whole night was just sad" and "our commander in chief was just so ugly," Booker said, but Trump's comments about the Proud Boys alone was "like a dagger to the heart of that American aspiration" and "truly menacing to all that we stand for." Because he didn't just fail to condemn white supremacists, "he said 'stand back and stand by' to the Proud Boys, a right-wing hate organization," Booker said, and they seem to have embraced "those words almost as if they're a license from the president to stand ready in an election to engage."

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I) told Jimmy Kimmel that Biden had a "very, very difficult" job in debating Trump, "who is a bully, who is a liar, who doesn't even respect the rules of the debate." Kimmel asked if he thinks "these televised debates are constructive," and Sanders said probably not: "I don't think tonight was a great night for America, and I think I was probably not the only person yelling at the TV."

"I wonder if you were surprised when specifically asked if he would denounce white supremacists, that the president dodged it and did not do that," Kimmel said. "I guess that it's hard to be shocked anymore, but that was shocking to me." Sanders said Trump is a "racist" and a "xenophobe" and urged people to vote: "The American people have got to make this clear — and I say this to Republicans and I say this to independents, not just Democrats: If you believe in democracy, if you believe in the Constitution and in the rule of law, Trump has got to go, because he does not believe in those things." Watch below. Peter Weber

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