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last night on late night
April 16, 2019

The iconic Notre Dame cathedral burned in Paris on Monday. "Just colossal damage, and a lot of people are talking about it — and you know if people are talking about something, you know what that means: President Trump just had to tweet about it," Conan O'Brien said on Monday's Conan. He read what he assured everyone was Trump's "real tweet," suggesting France deploy "flying water tankers" and "act quickly!"

France explicitly rejected Trump's water-tanker idea, but "we're all grateful to the president that in a case of fire, water and acting quickly might be a good idea," Conan deadpanned. He imagined what else Trump might have plausibly tweeted.

Jimmy Kimmel was equally unimpressed with Trump's "practical advice to the people of France" on Kimmel Live. "I'm glad someone was thinking quickly enough to tell them to act quickly," he joked wryly, pivoting to Trump praising Tiger Woods and then Tax Day: "We still haven't seen the president's taxes, of course, and there's apparently a very good reason for that."

Trump knows his excuse about being audited is "a transparent lie," Seth Meyers explained on Late Night, so he's "moved on to a new excuse, that his tax returns are too complicated for people to understand." And White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, he noted, just "took Trump's argument one step further, saying members of Congress were literally too dumb to understand them."

"I will concede, if Sanders is talking about the Republican members of Congress, then yes, some of them are not smart enough to understand Trump's tax returns," Meyers said, showing examples, but some of the Democrats are clearly up to the task. It doesn't matter, though, because "the law is clear: Democrats have the power to request Trump's tax returns, which they did, and the request went to the IRS, not Trump — it's not up to him." Watch below. Peter Weber

April 9, 2019

"You know, the last Avengers movie, Infinity War, was very dramatic — grown adults left the theater crying," Jimmy Kimmel said on Monday's Kimmel Live, kicking off a week of Avengers mania on his Disney-owned network. "And while children lover superheroes, I'm not so sure how they feel about intergalactic genocide." He gave the first of several spoilers here, if you haven't see Infinity War. "So, to get the kids back, we wrote a version of that story that's kid-friendly — a children's book — and we asked the Avengers themselves to read it for us."

You can watch "story time with the Avengers" below, hosted by Mark "Hulk" Ruffalo. Spoiler: It's not really kid-friendly, everybody's a critic, and the Avengers haven't quite worked out their differences. Peter Weber

April 8, 2019

President Trump is trying his best to convince the American people that the situation along the southern border is dangerous, Seth Meyers said on Monday's Late Night, even going so far as to say the migrants seeking asylum look like scary mixed martial arts fighters and we should do away with immigration judges.

Trump has been directing his fury at asylum seekers for some time now, telling a crowd in Las Vegas over the weekend that many of them are scamming the system and are among the "roughest people you've ever seen," looking like they could be "fighting in the UFC." Trump doesn't care that the United States has a legal process for applying for asylum, Meyers said, which includes having your case heard before a judge. The president proved that in recent days, saying multiple times "we have to get rid of judges."

Meyers isn't sure if Trump knows what a judge does or how courtrooms operate, thanks to comments Trump made on Friday, when he blasted the decision in Reno v. Flores, which protects migrant kids from being held indefinitely in custody. Court cases are named after the parties involved, but Trump thought Flores was the name of the judge who presided over the case, and berated this nonexistent person. "Judge Flores, whoever you may be, that decision is a disaster for our country," Trump said. "There is no Judge Flores," Meyers sighed. "No one calls the O.J. Simpson trial 'The Lance Ito Case.'" Watch the video below. Catherine Garcia

April 4, 2019

Stephen Colbert just discovered that he and President Trump have something in common: "We are both terrible golfers." In a new book, Commander in Cheat: How Golf Explains Trump, sports writer Rick Reilly documents many of the ways Trump cheats to make himself look like a good golfer.

"Here's how Reilly summarizes Trump's approach to the game of golf," Colbert said on Wednesday's Late Show: "'He cheats at the highest level. He cheats when people are watching and he cheats when they aren't. He cheats whether you like it or not.' Fun fact: That is also a direct quote from the best man speech at all of Trump's weddings." Reilly's prose about Trump's cheating is delightful, "but the specific anecdotes are where the book really takes off," Colbert said, reading one such anecdote relayed by one of Trump's caddies.

"Trump's own caddy would not cover up for him, so Trump hired a new bag handler, William Barr," Colbert joked. "He won't let you see the score card. He's going to redact, summarize the score card." Watch below, and read Jeva Lange's analysis of Reilly's book and Trump's cheating at The Week. Peter Weber

April 4, 2019

President Trump has had a weird two weeks, Seth Meyers said on Wednesday's Late Night — he wants to claim total victory when it comes to Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation, but is also obsessed with how the whole thing got started.

On Tuesday, Trump declared that he wants someone to look not into the "origins," but rather the "oranges" of the probe. "Why does he keep saying 'oranges?'" Meyers asked. "Is he hungry?" The White House also struggled to figure out what Trump was trying to convey, with the official transcript saying "oringes." Yes, Meyers said, they invented a word, and it's one that "looks like how a child would spell it on a piece of cardboard if they opened up their own fruit stand."

That wasn't the only strange thing Trump said on Tuesday. While speaking to a group of Republicans, he started roasting windmills, saying they ruin property values and their noise causes cancer. He also tried to insult Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), mocking her Green New Deal as being "done by a young bartender, 29 years old." She is "a member of Congress, and her name is Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez," Meyers said. "We call you Mr. President, not Crazy Windmill Cancer Guy." Watch the video below. Catherine Garcia

March 27, 2019

Prosecutors in Chicago on Tuesday dropped their fake-hate-crime case against Empire actor Jussie Smollett, and everyone's confused. At this point, "no one is exactly sure what happened or why it happened," Stephen Colbert shrugged on The Late Show. Smollett "said it was a hate crime, and I believe it, because I hate talking about this story. Smollett has maintained that he is a victim and said that today's decision vindicates him, but other people," like Chicago's police superintendent and mayor, "are not so sure."

Letting Smollett walk free "is wrong," Colbert said. "But on the other hand, isn't it a hopeful sign for America that regardless of your race or sexual orientation, all rich, famous people get off easily?"

"A month ago, the Empire actor was attacked by two Trump supporters who turned out to be Nigerian weightlifters who turned out to be American brothers," Trevor Noah recapped on The Daily Show. "But now the story is getting weird." Prosecutors say Smollett has agreed to community service and a financial penalty but insist they aren't exonerating him. "Okay, wait," Noah aid. "So Jussie was set free, but he's not innocent, but he's also not guilty. What? We need someone to figure this out. Mueller, we've got a new case for you! And this time, just tell us what happened!"

"The Chicago police are furious about this," Noah said. "And I'll be honest with you, I think it's pretty hilarious to see Chicago cops on the other side of a case gone wrong for once. Yeah, they're like, 'If only he had a body-cam. All black people should have body cams!' So that's where we are right now, the weirdest news story in America. I feel like in a week, we're going to turn on CNN and find out Smollett is now dating Mike Pence after they met at an R. Kelly concert." Watch below. Peter Weber

March 26, 2019

On Monday's Late Show, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) quickly shot down Stephen Colbert's suggestion that she was wearing purple as a sign of red-blue unity. This is a moment where we have to acknowledge Special Counsel Robert Mueller's report and demand that it be made public, she said. "If we don't see it, then millions of people around this country are going to keep asking, 'What's in it that nobody wants us to see?'"

Colbert asked if Warren was surprised Trump wasn't indicted, given all the public obstruction and collusion smoke. "For me, it was never about running against somebody who was indicted," Warren said. "It's really about running against somebody who is making the government work better and better and better for a thinner and thinner and thinner slice at the top and leaving everybody else behind."

Colbert asked about her wide array of policies, and she enthusiastically promoted her plan for a wealth tax. On the right's claim that Democrats are turning socialist, Warren said she believes in markets, but "markets without rules are theft, and we can't have that."

Warren told Colbert she doesn't trust Attorney General William Barr's judgment on whether Trump obstructed justice but said that of about 100 questions she got from voters of the weekend, none were about the Mueller report. The Mueller report "is important," she said, "but what people are focused on is what's happening in their lives," and what America will look like after 2020.


"What do you think you could do to appeal to more older voters, other than appearing on a CBS show?" Colbert asked puckishly. Warren returned to the importance of ideas, explaining she isn't taking money from PACs or asking wealthy donors for help because "I think the problem is money has too much influence in Washington," and "right now, in a Democratic primary, we have a chance to walk the walk." Watch below. Peter Weber

March 21, 2019

"Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was more recognizable to a focus group of Wisconsin swing voters than every Democratic presidential prospect except Bernie Sanders, Joe Biden, and Elizabeth Warren," Alexi McCammond reports at Axios, citing a focus group last week of 12 voters. The freshman Democrat from New York "has only been in Congress for a few months, yet she's breaking through even in rural areas of the Midwest. It's not a great start for the 2020 Democrats who aren't recognizable at all in Wisconsin, a key battleground state, despite all the national attention they're getting."

But it makes some sense. Ocasio-Cortez has excited young progressives and struck fascinated terror in Fox News pundits and conservative activists. "So, with AOC — as I call her, to save time — raising so many questions, I thought it was time to let members of my staff ask her questions of their own," Stephen Colbert said on Wednesday's Late Show.

In response to Late Show staff questions, Ocasio-Cortez explained how Medicare-or-all would work, named the one thing she'd change about Washington ("I think I'd make everyone relax a little bit more"), threw shade at questioner Molly Ringwald, and fielded a question about whether she has anything in common with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), blocker of all legislation Ocasio-Cortez holds dear. "Yeah," she responded, "we both have an awkward relationship with Mitch McConnell." Ouch. Peter Weber

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