×
FOLLOW THE WEEK ON FACEBOOK
June 15, 2018

President Trump "is still basking in the glow of his successful play date" with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, Stephen Colbert said on Thursday's Late Show, "but it has been kind of shocking to hear all the nice things Trump said about one of the most vicious dictators alive." He played some clips, but one compliment jumped out. "Funny?" Colbert asked. "Mr. President, when they talk about how much Kim Jong Un 'kills,' they're not talking about his new Comedy Central special, 'Kim Jong Un-censored.'"

"And it's not just their leader he respects — today, North Korean television broadcast some behind-the-scenes footage of Trump meeting North Korean officials, and — wait for it — and he salutes!" Colbert narrated. "He salutes a North Korean general. Our commander in chief saluted our enemy. Either that or he was just confused. 'I'm a huge fan of your chicken, Gen. Tso.'"

Trump didn't get much concrete from Kim, but he did get a promise that North Korea will return the remains of U.S. soldiers killed in the Korean War. "Finally these soldiers' families will get some closure — well done, Mr. President," Colbert said. "But, then he had to lie about it." Trump suggested to Fox News that "so many 101-year-old couples asked him for this — Trump isn't just bending the truth anymore, he's bending the fabric of space-time," Colbert said. "My father-in-law served during the Korean War. If his parents were alive, I think they would be 127 years old — or as we call them here at CBS, our target demo." He ended on Russia and the World Cup, and you can watch that below. Peter Weber

June 13, 2018

President Trump "didn't just talk the talk" in Tuesday's summit with Kim Jong Un, "he showed Kim a video that, for some reason, they made look like a movie trailer," Stephen Colbert said on Tuesday's Late Show. "The video shows Kim that peace brings all of the incredible riches stock footage can provide," he added, but it "really could have used an editor, because they repeated themselves a lot," including five sunrises. Still, "I'm worried this video isn't quite enough to convince Kim Jong Un," Colbert said, "so I've had my best editors go through the finest stock footage and huff the best ether available to create an ever more compelling trailer." It takes some odd turns.

"Everything about this summit was weird, but to me I think the weirdest part is that Donald Trump showed Kim a video on his iPad, like your mom does," Jimmy Kimmel said on Kimmel Live. The video "is quite a production," he added. "It looks like a Scientology recruitment video from the '90s." Like Colbert, Kimmel also made some creative edits.

"The fact is, Trump has the unique skills necessary to connect with Kim," Jordan Klepper explained at The Opposition. "The left likes to call him the reality show president. But guess what? Kim Jong Un is a reality show dictator. ... And when a reality show dictator meets with a reality show president, you don't make a peace agreement, you pitch a crossover episode." And "I cannot stress enough how amazing and actually-from-the-White House this video is," he added. "I didn't know Trump University offered a master's in screenwriting."

"The liberals want you to think that Trump is in over his head, but the president is not out of his depth," Klepper said. "He's splashing around in the deep end of the pool with the confidence of a drunk cousin who just yelled, 'F--k it, how hard can swimming be?'" Peter Weber

June 13, 2018

Stephen Colbert had some questions for President Trump after Tuesday's summit with North Korea's Kim Jong Un, so on Tuesday's Late Show, he stepped in for ABC's George Stephanopoulos. "Kim Jong Un got respect on the world stage, an end to military exercises between the United States and South Korea, and no timeline to give up nuclear weapons or human rights abuses. Did you get anything in return?" he asked. Trump showed off his new tattoo.

There was news from the summit, Colbert said. For example, "Trump ate a vegetable! Wow! They said it couldn't be done, they scoffed. By the way, Korean stuffed cucumber is stuffed with Koreans — Kim is a monster."

And after Trump made a fat joke and showed Kim the inside of his limo, they signed their "historish agreement," he said. According to the reviews, Trump didn't get much, including what he'd asked for. "You know he ordered a hamburger and they gave him a cucumber," Colbert joked. "Kim gave us so little, you have to promise more than Kim did when you sign the iTunes user agreement — and I'm not making that up."

"Usually when Trump signs an agreement with a foreigner, its a prenup, and those are all in writing," Jimmy Kimmel explained on Kimmel Live, speculating that Trump was so eager to look like he was making a deal, he'd sign anything. "In fact, the only thing we know they signed was a declaration of friendship — for real."

Trump explained he didn't need to record the specifics of his oral agreements with Kim "because he has 'one of the great memories of all time' — except when it comes to Stormy Daniels, then it's all a blur," Kimmel said. But the White House "tried to fill in the blanks," he said, and in Kimmel Live's imagining, Trump gave away a comically large number of things. Watch below. Peter Weber

May 25, 2018

On Thursday's Late Show, Stephen Colbert walked through the steps leading up to the implosion of President Trump's June 12 summit with North Korea's Kim Jong Un — a failure Trump seemed pretty chill about on Wednesday. "Did the president of the United States really just say 'Some day a date will happen?'" Colbert asked. "I would call to complain if that was written inside a fortune cookie." Still, Trump and Kim have no choice but to meet now, Colbert said. "They've already made the commemorative coin marking the occasion of the summit." And since that one was obviously such a prescient success, he added, "here at The Late Show we have received an exclusive first peek of the new coin celebrating Mideast peace. It's just a carton of eggs labeled 'Chickens!'"

If it seemed weird that Colbert didn't mention that Trump has, in fact, called off the summit, that's because the show was clearly recorded Wednesday, as The Late Show copped to in the cold open.

But the troubles of Trump lawyer Michael Cohen are timeless, and Colbert jumped into Cohen's new legal problem with business partner Evgeny "Taxi King" Freidman. Freidman faced up to 125 years in jail, but he cut "a pretty good deal," Colbert said. "You get to stay out of prison plus you don't have to be friends with Michael Cohen anymore."

Cohen is also in the news because he was reportedly paid $400,000 to set up a meeting between Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and Trump. "In this case, Cohen's not Trump's fixer, he's Trump's pimp," Colbert said. "But most disgusting of all is that this seems to have worked." Shortly after Trump hosted Poroshenko last June, "Ukraine's anti-corruption agency stopped its investigation into Trump's former campaign manager, Paul Manafort," he said. "Now, to save Manafort, all Cohen has to do is arrange a meeting between the Ukrainian president and Robert Mueller." Watch below. Peter Weber

May 25, 2018

"Only Donald Trump could cancel a summit with Kim Jong Un in the morning and then have a meeting with Sylvester Stallone later in the day — soak it up, we'll probably never see anything like this again," Jimmy Kimmel said on Thursday's Kimmel Live. Trump broke off the summit with a "Dear John letter" that "was the nuclear nonproliferation equivalent of 'You break up with me? I break up with you!'" Kimmel said. The most interesting part of the letter, which was "not exactly what you would call Lincolnesque," was the juxtaposition of threats and outreach, he said. "See, that's Trump diplomacy in a nutshell: I look forward to our friendship, but if not, I will kill you."

Trump left the door ajar to future talks, Kimmel said, and if you want to be optimistic, this "feels kind of like we're at the part of the movie where the couple breaks up but then they realize they can't live without each other, and one of them has to run through the airport to stop the other one from getting on a flight."

As it turns out, The Late Show imagined such a "rom bomb" on Wednesday night.

Trump pulling out "shouldn't surprise anyone," Seth Meyers said on Late Night. "He earned backslaps from a media desperate to praise him for something, but he repeatedly made clear he had no idea what he was doing," like "a teenager who didn't prepare his oral report and is now stalling for the bell to ring." He went on to dig into the latest in the Trump-Russia investigation, focusing on Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), Rudy Giluiani, and the role of the media, both mainstream and right-wing. Watch below. Peter Weber

March 9, 2018

The Late Show was already taping Thursday evening when South Korea announced that President Trump has agreed to meet with North Korea's Kim Jong Un by May, and Jimmy Kimmel was about to go live, but big news like that can't wait, so their joke writers went into overdrive. "This can only mean one thing: Dennis Rodman is going to get the Nobel Peace Prize," Stephen Colbert said. "We don't know all the details yet, but because North Korea is an economically starved country, the invitation is BYO everything."

While Washington and Pyongyang work out the details, Kim has pledged to refrain from missile tests, and "that's great," Colbert said. "They've gone from 'We'll blow up Guam' to 'We pinky-swear not to blow up Guam for a few days." He was willing to give Trump credit if he pulls this off, but punchily stumbled over the punch line: "How about bringing peace to your own country first?"

"The North Korean leader extended an olive branch to Donald Trump, which is a big deal because olive branches are really the only thing they have to eat there," Kimmel said. He wasn't sure about Trump's time frame, though. "May? He's not still going to be president by May," Kimmel said hopefully. "This needs to happen by Wednesday."

Kimmel was bullish on the two leaders getting along. "Imagine Kim Jong Un meeting Donald Trump, just the two worst hair cuts in the world, together," he said. "I wonder if they'll invite Dennis Rodman? He is a mutual friend. And you know those two are going to hit it off. ... They'll be golfing together, they'll be sharing a bucket of chicken. Maybe Kim Jong Un will be the next host of Celebrity Apprentice — who knows where this could lead? But it's never dull." Watch below. Peter Weber

September 20, 2017

President Trump is "on a trip to a very hostile region: New York City," Stephen Colbert said on Tuesday's Late Show. He's in New York for the United Nations General Assembly, and on Tuesday, he gave his first big speech to the U.N. "Of course, the U.N. was founded after World War II in hopes of creating a lasting peace, so naturally the highlight of the president's speech was threatening thermonuclear war," Colbert said. And while threatening to annihilate North Korea, "Trump doubled down on his new nickname for Kim Jong Un," Colbert said, puzzled. "Rocket Man? Mr. President, please don't give our enemies nicknames that make them sound cooler. 'I will destroy Commander Jetpack, and Adm. Ice Cream Sex Machine.'"

Trump also griped that America wasn't getting its money's worth with the U.N., and Colbert agreed. "He's right, we're paying top dollar and we're nowhere near world peace," he said. "I mean, I just saw some guy at the podium say he's going to destroy North Korea."

Kim Jong Un didn't immediately respond to his new nickname and the public threat to wipe him out, but The Late Show imagined him hitting back at Trump with an Elton John parody record that would actually be pretty amusing, if real.

Colbert also caught up on Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian election meddling and the Trump campaign. He had a lot of fun with his own nicknames for Trump lawyer Ty Cobb, who blabbed about internal Trump lawyers fighting at a steakhouse, next to a New York Times reporter. Colbert ran down all the news about Paul Manafort, and said that while Mueller's investigation is reportedly moving with unusual speed, "we don't need unusual speed, we need high speed, we need maximum warp ... I'm talking Law & Order speed." And if you're not familiar with the pace of justice on the long-running cop drama, Colbert has you covered. Watch below. Peter Weber

September 20, 2017

Trevor Noah said that if you're excited about the United Nations General Assembly this week, you either don't live in New York City or you really like delayed-gratification "diplomatic shade"-throwing. But Tuesday's big event, he said on Tuesday's Daily Show, was President Trump's inaugural address to the U.N. body, "and expectations were high." The White House promised a "deeply philosophical" speech, but Trump was just Trump. Noah summed up the "Trump Doctrine": "The only way to grow together is to grow apart — It sounds like Donald Trump is trying to break up with the U.N. without getting into a fight."

Noah did find something to like, however, at least on its face. "From a global perspective, it is refreshing to see an American leader who's not going to dictate to the world," he said. But that's only true for Trump "unless he doesn't like how other countries are run." That list includes Venezuela, Cuba, Iran, Syria, and "ever the showman, he saved the end of the world for last," Noah said, playing Trump's threat to North Korea. "I don't know what's more insane: the fact that Donald Trump just stood in front of the United Nations and threatened to wipe out a country of 25 million people, or the fact that he followed that up with 'Rocket Man,'" a "little catch-phrase joke."

"Honestly, when you watched this address, it felt less like a presidential address to the U.N. and more like an insult comic roasting the world," he said. And with a little music and change of scenery, it almost worked. (The annihilation threat still bombed.)

On Tuesday's Late Night, Seth Meyers was puzzled by Trump's nickname for Kim Jong Un, too, but not because it insults a leader with nukes. "Why are you calling him 'Rocket Man'?" he asked. "That's not a diss, that's a cool nickname. You're making him sound like a character from Top Gun." The graphics are pretty eye-catching. Meyers also discussed the Russia investigation and GOP health-care bill, and you can watch below. Peter Weber

See More Speed Reads