Thursday night's Late Show kicked off with the presidential heads on Mt. Rushmore discussing the executive order President Trump signed on Wednesday, instructing the Interior Department to review all national monuments designated since 1996. "He's trying to weaken my Antiquities Act!" said the head of Theodore Roosevelt. "Bully! He's a bully." The conversation got stranger from there.
Stephen Colbert returned to the order in his monologue, noting that the review could lead to drilling, mining, and logging on protected lands. "Guys, he's just trying to do the right thing," he said when the audience booed, "because it's important that we finally find out how much oil is in Lincoln's eyeball." The executive order is controversial, but "Trump really believes in it," Colbert said, playing a truncated clip of Trump saying he "sometimes" looks at some of the things he's signing. "Sometimes he looks at the things he's signing?" Colbert said. "Sometimes? Just randomly? Not all the time? Has anyone tried putting a resignation letter in front of him? It's worth a shot."
He played the rest of the clip, which included Trump patting himself on the back for his courage and pointing out that Gov. Paul LePage (R-Maine) has lost a lot of weight, but he liked him when he was fat, too. "He likes him both ways," Colbert repeated, making some ... let's say guitar-playing motions. Colbert also quaked over the "unprecedented nuclear crisis" with North Korea, and noted that former President Barack Obama is back on the national stage — and giving a speech to investment firm Cantor Fitzgerald for a cool $400,000. "So, Hillary wasn't able to continue Obama's legacy, but at least Obama was able to continue hers," Colbert said. "$400,000? With that kind of money, you could join Mar-a-Lago." Peter Weber
The big news from Washington on Wednesday was President Trump's tax plan. "That plan? Never release Trump's taxes," Stephen Colbert said on Wednesday's Late Show. "To explain the plan, Trump sent out his team of workin' class, blue collar former Goldman Sachs executives, Gary Cohn and Steven Mnuchin." The plan itself is just "one page of double-spaced bullet points with some hefty margins," Colbert said. "I'm going to say it's not really confidence-building when your tax reform plan is half as long as the instructions to set up a Vitamix."
One of the main bullet points is reducing the current seven tax brackets to three. "It's really going to simplify your office pool during Tax Madness," Colbert said. "Look at the brackets, it's poor versus middle class, and rich versus nobody, because they win."
He next reminded his viewers that Trump and Russia had a thing going on during the campaign, and laid out the new developments involving former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, fired for lying about this conversation with Russia's ambassador. "It turns out, that was just the tip of the corruption-berg," Colbert said. The House Government Oversight Committee reviewed a first batch of Flynn documents, and committee chairman Jason Chaffetz gave what Colbert termed a coy and "flaccid" condemnation of Flynn's apparently illegal failure to disclose payments from foreign governments. "Jason Chaffetz, please, just grow a pair and tell us what Flynn did, you gutless Charles Schultz rough draft," he said, to loud cheers.
Colbert ended with a look at the red button Trump had installed on his Oval Office desk — to summon his butler. "Thank God, I was worried there," he said. "He's just turning the Oval Office into an 8-year-old's drawing of a dream treehouse: 'There'll be a button where I get a Coke wherever I want, a slide into a ball pit, and Bigfoot sleeps over and he teaches me karate.'" Not that there's anything wrong with that. "He should have some fun, a president deserves to be refreshed," Colbert said. "A butler bringing him his Coke, really living the dream. I believe we have a photograph of the butler?" On a related note, don't expect Gov. Chris Christie (R-N.J.) to come on The Late Show anytime soon. Watch below. Peter Weber
Stephen Colbert warns of a Canada trade war: 'Trump is now a friend of Putin and an enemy of poutine'
The Late Show doesn't always cover global events, "but you see the news, it's a dangerous world," Stephen Colbert said Tuesday night. "Every day, tensions are rising between the United States and our sworn enemy, Canada: Cold Mexico, the Great White North Korea." On Monday night, Trump announced that he was slapping a 20 percent tariff on Canadian softwood lumber. "As far as I know, this is the first time anyone has rejected Justin Trudeau's wood," Colbert joked, noting Canada's relatively fiery response. "For those keeping score at home, Trump is now a friend of Putin and an enemy of poutine."
"That's Donald Trump on the international stage — rare, because since becoming president, Donald Trump has not left the country; he's barely left the country club," Colbert said. But he did send daughter Ivanka to Berlin on Tuesday to attend a women's conference, "making her the first Trump to attend a women's conference that didn't include a swimsuit competition." She was not greeted warmly, at least when she mentioned her father. But things aren't going great for Ivanka back home, either, he said. "They've had trouble moving Ivanka's line of clothing, so they secretly relabeled it as Adrianne Vittadini. That's how unpopular the Trump name is right now: Her clothing has been put in the witness protection program." He suggested the entire Trump White House could undergo a similar rebranding. Meet President Enrico Vittadini below. Peter Weber
Last month, President Trump dismissed speculation that White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer's job is in jeopardy, telling a small working lunch that he's "not firing Sean Spicer" because "that guy gets great ratings. Everyone tunes in," The Washington Post reports. Trump reportedly added, proudly, that Spicer's daily briefings draw nearly as many viewers as daytime soap operas. "Clearly, Sean Spicer is a soap opera," Stephen Colbert joked on Monday's Late Show. "That explains why his character is constantly getting amnesia."
On Tuesday, The Late Show picked up the Spicer-soap opera thread again, this time splicing Spicer into his own soap opera, The Bold and the Babbling. (The actual soap opera The Bold and the Beautiful, not coincidentally, is on CBS, like The Late Show.) Instead of amnesia, though, the bold, babbling Spicer appears to have a paternity problem. Watch below. Peter Weber
At a news conference with Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni on Thursday, President Trump called the great tenor Luciano Pavarotti a "friend of mine, great friend of mine." Well, said Jimmy Kimmel on Thursday's Kimmel Live, "that's an interesting statement to make, because Luciano Pavarotti has been dead since 2007. He's been dead for 10 years, so it kind of makes you wonder about how deep their friendship is." Apparently just mentioning Pavarotti's name is enough to conjure up his angelically voiced ghost, at least on network TV, so Kimmel asked the ghost if he and Trump were really great friends. You may be able to guess the dead tenor's reply, but if the premise sounds a little freaky, well, it turns out it's meant to be. Watch below. Peter Weber
"Today is basically National Weed Day," April 20, Trevor Noah said on Thursday's Daily Show, and do you know who knows it? "Your news anchors in America." It used to be you couldn't joke about marijuana on network TV, "but it's easier these days, because support for legalizing pot is at record levels — partly because Americans have started to realize that unnecessarily incarcerating people for marijuana does more harm than good," he said. "But even as most people are moving in that direction, unfortunately there is one very powerful little man who disagrees."
After playing a video of Attorney General Jeff Sessions dissing pot, Noah showed a picture of him as a Keebler elf and told him to "think of the upside, man: More people smoke marijuana, more people buy your cookies." He conceded that marijuana can have its downsides along with its medical and fiscal benefits, and argued that alcohol is 10 times more dangerous — and infinitely more available. "4/20 is only once a year," Noah said. "Miller Time is every day." Then things got a little stoney.
"There's another reason it's weird Trump's attorney general is against marijuana," Noah said. "And I know this might sound crazy, but just hear me out for a second. I have a theory that President Donald Trump is always high." His evidence included Trump's forgetting names, losing an entire U.S. Navy carrier strike force, and other erratic behavior, like getting the munchies when discussing his Syrian missile strike. And if that doesn't convince you of Noah's hazy theory, maybe a little photoshopping will do the trick. Watch below. Peter Weber
Late last week, the White House said it will not make White House visitor logs public, a reversal of former President Barack Obama's stab at transparency. "Which I'm sure is fine," Jimmy Kimmel said on Tuesday's Kimmel Live. "It's like when your teenage son borrows your laptop and when you get it back, he cleared the browser history. Not suspicious at all."
"But you have to wonder if Trump supporters are concerned about this, or really about anything he does," Kimmel said. "He does a lot of interesting things, and no one seems to mind, so we went out on the street this afternoon and we asked people who identified themselves as pro-Trump about a list of individuals we told them visited the White House. Now, none of these individuals are on the White House visitor logs, we assume, but that didn't stop people from weighing in" in his new "Lie-Witness News" segment.
As with all of Kimmel's person-on-the-street interviews, it's the eagerness to commit to excusing ridiculous things in great detail that makes you cringe for humanity. So kudos to the last guy for having no opinion on Trump allowing John Wilkes Booth to sleep in the Lincoln Bedroom. Peter Weber
Tuesday was Tax Day, or "the day we all release our tax returns to the man who won't release his," Stephen Colbert said on The Late Show. On the usual Tax Day, April 15, thousands of Americans took to the streets to demand that President Trump cough up his returns. "Lovely idea," Colbert said, "but the tax march did not get Trump to release his taxes, much like the women's march did not get Trump to release his women." But Trump did release plenty of tweets, including one demanding to know "who paid for the small organized rallies." Colbert bit: "Yes, who paid for the rallies? I mean, they were authentic and drew people of all ages, so we know it wasn't Pepsi."
He turned to a sunnier topic, North Korea. Trump has put Vice President Mike Pence on the case, but he has his work cut out for him, since a North Korean U.N. representative warned Monday that "thermonuclear war could break out at any moment." Colbert paused. "Now this show pre-tapes, so if you're watching this at home right now, we made it!" he said. "And this time, it isn't North Korea with an erratic trigger-happy leader. According to one Russian official, 'Trump is more impulsive and unpredictable than Kim Jong Un.' Well then, Russia, you should have thought of that before you elected him!"
It's not clear that Trump even knows who Kim is, Colbert said, playing a clip from Tuesday's Fox & Friends in which Trump repeatedly referred to North Korea's leader as "this gentleman." So either Trump doesn't know his name, he said, "or the best nickname he can come up with is 'this gentleman.' And Mr. President, you're known for your nicknames — your Lyin' Ted, your Crooked Hillary — and this guy is a name bonanza!" He had some suggestions.
Colbert ended with some people who appear to be enjoying the Trump presidency: the Obamas. "Posing for a picture on a yacht?" he said, showing a photo of the former president snapping a photo of his wife. "Wow, Michelle decided to plagiarize Melania for once." Oddly, Colbert added, "the Obamas weren't even the most powerful people on the boat. Because joining them on the super-yacht were Oprah, as well as Tom Hanks and Bruce Springsteen. That is nearly all of America's strategic likability reserve. I just pray to God they put Dwayne 'the Rock' Johnson in a secure location." Watch below. Peter Weber