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

May 30, 2018

"Roseanne — you're not going to believe this, but she tweeted something outrageous," Jimmy Kimmel deadpanned on Tuesday's Kimmel Live. He ran through the Roseanne Barr tweet that caused his network to pull the plug on its highest-rated show. This "is a huge blow to business — I mean, we don't have much on this network," Kimmel said. "We're hoping the NBA Finals goes 11 games this year. We're still airing America's Funniest Home Videos, okay? Roseanne was a very bigly hit for ABC, and we needed it," and he had a plan. "Just hear me out," he said. "Just because Roseanne it gone doesn't mean the whole show has to go. The show must go on! — that's what we say in show business, and with that said, I have an idea that I think makes this work for everyone." The idea, in the form of a Season 2 preview, involves a show where "America's favorite working-class family is back, with all the cast members you love."

Obviously, the show — now called Dan — is missing its former titular character. Kimmel doesn't explain what happened to Roseanne's character, but perhaps she was killed off by MS-13 gang members for muscling in on their sex-trafficking operations with a secret trafficking ring she ran out of the basement of a Langford pizzeria. Or maybe she and Dan just got a TV divorce and he got to keep the show in the settlement. Peter Weber

May 25, 2018

Jimmy Kimmel dug up a clip of Full Frontal's Samantha Bee interviewing Kellyanne Conway on The Daily Show in about 2007, and according to Bee — his guest on Thursday's Kimmel Live — that was a surprisingly common occurrence. "Our interactions were quite pleasant and lovely," Bee said, and Conway "was on The Daily Show many, many times in the years that I was there. And it got to a point where ... the producers were, like, 'Uhhh, should we call Kellyanne? She'll say anything that we want her to.' And they were like, 'No, we kind of used her too much, let's not call Kellyanne this time.' Because, you know, even back then we had a sense that she was very thirsty."

"She's still saying anything somebody wants her to, too," Kimmel said. "She does seem to be the smartest member of that group, though." Bee agreed: "I would say so, very canny." Kimmel asked if "talking about Donald Trump all the time is a plus or a minus," and Bee said "an absolute minus, across the board. ... You know, we make sour lemonade out of those lemons, I guess?"

Bee also talked about how her native Canada views Trump's America — with concern, like the Desperate Housewives — and she and Kimmel discussed the travails of writing topical comedy shows in the news firehose of the Trump administration. "It's funny, because we're watching cable news, going 'No! No!' No!'" Kimmel said, laughing. "We're actually rooting against world peace so we don't have to rewrite our monologues." Watch below. Peter Weber

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