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Some people have trouble recognizing today's United States, "but for some residents of New Jersey, the united state they thought they knew might never have existed at all," Stephen Colbert said Thursday night. "So tonight, The Late Show takes a look at a small civil war between the north, the south, and the — the middle part."

New Jersey lived steadily if unhappily between its two warring factions, North Jersey and South Jersey, for 250 years, until new Gov. Phil Murphy (D) roiled the state by introducing the concept of Central Jersey. Colbert interviewed Murphy, who claims to be from this "mystical kingdom" of Central Jersey, but he was no help in settling the question. So Colbert turned to "the chief justice of the Garden State," Jon Stewart, who rendered his definitive judgment — and also shared some other opinions about the region. Watch below. Peter Weber

June 19, 2018

"On Saturday I was in Houston to play Texas Sen. Ted Cruz in what we called the Blobfish Basketball Classic, and just like a blobfish, the game was ugly, sloppy, and within moments, we were gasping for air," Jimmy Kimmel recalled on Monday's Kimmel Live. "We played one-on-one, it took almost an hour to get to 6 points — which would be a lot if this was a World Cup soccer game but it was not. When we agreed to play to 11, I didn't realize that meant 11:00."

"The game was very rough, there were nothing but fouls the whole game long," Kimmel said. "I have bruises all over my body — he kept poking me with his hooves." Six thousand people turned out to watch the game, which Gus Johnson and Isiah Thomas announced, and thankfully, Kimmel Live edited down the contest to a brisk 14 minutes. Kimmel even got in some policy questions among his trash-talking, and they raised $80,000 for charitable causes. You can watch the condensed action — or whatever — below. And don't miss Guillermo's wicked hook shot. Peter Weber

June 14, 2018

In May, The New York Times reported that a television agent was shopping around a Crossfire-type show starring Michael Avenatti, the lawyer representing porn star Stormy Daniels, and short-lived White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci. They tried out the concept on Wednesday's Late Show. Stephen Colbert started off the interview by asking, "What is this?" It never quite became clear, but you got a taste of what could be: Avenatti with the punchy answers, Scaramucci filibustering.

Colbert asked about reports that Michael Cohen, President Trump's lawyer and fixer, might flip. "There's no question in my mind," Avenatti said. "I think that Michael Cohen is in a very, very bad spot, and I think that the president is in a very, very bad spot, because this is what happens when you trust your innermost secrets to a moron." Scaramucci said it was more complicated and depends on the indictment. "When my producer asked you about Michael Cohen, whether he was going to flip, you actually called Michael Cohen on the phone backstage," Colbert told Scaramucci. "Did you bring your phone out with you?" "I don't have my phone, do you want to talk to Michael?" Scaramucci asked, but sadly, he wasn't serious. Colbert ordered a bottle of rosé and three glasses.

Colbert asked Avenatti and Scaramucci — both lawyers — about Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani and two lies the Trump team has been caught telling: about paying Stormy Daniels and about dictating the misleading letter about Donald Trump Jr.'s meeting with Russian officials. "Lying is the rule rather than the exception with this administration, and when you can't keep your lies straight, this is what happens," Avenatti said. Scaramucci put it in the "historical context" of everybody lies, especially politicians, and Colbert wasn't having it: "Not about colluding with the Russian government to undermine our democracy!" They ended on the common ground of the first amendment. Watch below. Peter Weber

June 8, 2018

President Trump and several Cabinet members attended a FEMA hurricane-preparedness meeting on Wednesday, and though Trump barely mentioned hurricanes or preparedness in his remarks, he did at one point pick up his water bottle and set it on the floor for no apparent reason. Without missing a beat, Vice President Mike Pence did the exact same thing. Nobody else felt the need to follow Trump's lead and it isn't clear what either Trump or Pence was thinking, but The Late Show imagined what happened next on Thursday's show, and there seems to be an assumption of sycophancy. Watch below. Peter Weber

June 6, 2018

Former President Bill Clinton and bestselling author James Patterson were on Tuesday's Late Show to promote their thriller, The President is Missing, but Stephen Colbert jumped straight into Clinton's widely panned response to a question about Monica Lewinsky on Today. "Do you want a do-over on that answer?" Colbert asked. "Do you understand why some people thought that was a tone-deaf response to his questions about the #MeToo movement and how you might reflect on your behavior 20 years ago?"

"When I saw the interview," Clinton said, "it looked like I was saying I didn't apologize and I had no intention to, and I was mad at me. ... It wasn't my finest hour." He did apologize to Lewinsky, their families, and America, Clinton said. "And I still believe this #MeToo movement is long overdue, necessary, and should be supported."

"It seemed tone-deaf to me because you seemed offended to be asked about this thing when, in all due respect, sir, your behavior was the most famous example of a powerful man sexually misbehaving in the workplace of my lifetime," Colbert said. Clinton said he wasn't surprised or offended, and he'd been asked the same question before. "But I didn't like this one because it started with an assertion that basically I had never apologized, as if I had never tried to come to grips with it, and as if there had been no attempt to hold me accountable — which anybody who lived through that and knew the facts knew wasn't so. Nonetheless, I realized later a lot of people don't have any memory of that, and all they saw was me mad, and I seemed to be tone-deaf, to put it mildly."

The donkey in the room dispatched, they discussed the book, the special knowledge Clinton brought to it, and, inevitably, President Trump. Colbert dropped in some jokes; Clinton explained how we should evaluate Trump's North Korea negotiations. Peter Weber

June 5, 2018

Melania Trump has been laying low since May 10, four days before her kidney operation, and "as of the time we're taping the show right now, the first lady has not been seen in public for 25 days," Stephen Colbert said on Monday's Late Show. "Well, I'm not surprised — it took that Shawshank guy years to tunnel out." The first lady's Twitter account insisted she was fine in late May, but "I have my doubts that Melania wrote that," he said. "For one thing, Michelle Obama never said it in a speech."

"This is just weird," Colbert said. "We're used to our first ladies being out and about. Nancy Reagan was always out there telling kids to just say no, Michelle Obama would sometimes just show up in people's living rooms and tell them to drop and give her 20. Even Martha Washington had more pictures of herself — and remember, back then the paparazzi were oil painters." Now, "Melania is supposedly re-emerging to attend an event in the White House tonight, but who can be sure, because the event will be closed to the press," he said, and he had a guess what the White House proof-of-Melania photo might look like.

Melania Trump did attend Monday night's candlelight ceremony to honor fallen military service members, attendees tell The Washington Post, though she did not say anything. President Trump nodded to her public absence, getting a laugh by quashing rumors they were breaking up and explaining that "Melania had a little problem a couple weeks ago, but she wouldn't miss this for anything." The White House did, it turns out, release some photos of the first lady, and none involved a broom wearing a dress. Peter Weber

June 1, 2018

On Wednesday, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) took umbrage at some comments Jimmy Kimmel made about him on Tuesday night's Jimmy Kimmel Live, and on Thursday's show, Kimmel read the challenge Cruz tweeted at him.

"Besmirched? He really knows his way around a diss track, this Ted," Kimmel joked. "So I immediately went online and googled 'how to guard a blobfish,'" then accepted Cruz's challenge, on one condition: "We both wear VERY short shorts." Cruz said no, Kimmel countered with "crop tops?" and Cruz tweeted back: "Never mind the dress code. We can play to 10, or 21, or 50, your choice." Kimmel saw a flaw: "Well, first of all, if we play to 50, we'll both be dead by the end of the game. So maybe that's the way to go — I sacrifice myself for the good of the land."

"But this now could be a real thing," Kimmel said. "Why he wants to do this, I have no idea. You really want to play basketball against a talk-show host? You already lost an election to a realty show host, isn't that enough?" But he accepted the challenge: "Who needs to watch LeBron and Kevin Durant again when we can instead focus on two out-of-shape white men in their 50s with little to no athletic ability?" He offered a date to Cruz, too: "Maybe we should do this the Monday before the midterms — it would be fun to see him lose twice in one week, right?"

Cruz said yes, nodding to the joke about losing to a reality show host.

And points for relative civility all around. Peter Weber

June 1, 2018

When Kim Kardashian West met with President Trump in the White House on Wednesday to discuss prison reform, it made perfect sense to Trevor Noah.

"I know some of you were thinking, 'I can't believe this reality show moron is in the Oval Office,' but don't forget he was elected by the American people, so show some respect," he said on Thursday's Daily Show. The pair actually have "so much in common," he continued. "They're both reality stars, they're both big on social media, Kanye loves both of them, they both believe in employing everyone in their family no matter how useless they are."

The purpose of the meeting was for Kardashian West to lobby on behalf of Alice Marie Johnson, 62, a great-grandmother serving a life sentence in federal prison on drug charges. So, was she successful, and able to convince Trump to use his power to pardon? "The answer is yes, although as always with any Kardashian story, there's a big but," Noah quipped. Trump announced on Thursday he was pardoning someone, but instead of Johnson it was Dinesh D'Souza, a conservative provocateur who peddles conspiracy theories and outlandish stories about Democrats, with Barack Obama a favorite target.

By ignoring Johnson and pardoning a "right-wing troll," Trump showed he doesn't care about "sentencing reform or government overreach," Noah said. "All he cares about is doing favors for people he likes." If Kardashian West is serious about getting a pardon for Johnson, Noah added, "forget the meetings and tell her to start sending racist Obama tweets, and she'll be out in a week." Catherine Garcia

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