Speed Reads

Late Night Tackles President Trump

Stephen Colbert's conservative alter-ego returns to beg Obama to stay

Thursday night was President Obama's last night as president, and Stephen Colbert kicked it up a notch on The Late Show, bringing out an old friend for a sort of end-of-administration eulogy. Colbert set it up by ribbing Obama. "Whether or not you liked him or voted for him, we can all agree eight years later, it's still kind of crazy that his middle name was Hussein," he said. "I can't believe he got elected."

"Now I tried very hard to come up with a way to talk about Barack Obama's legacy tonight, but after looking at the scope of his presidency, I realized that anyone who thinks they can sum up the last eight years in a few minutes would have to be a delusional egomaniac," Colbert said. His Colbert Report alter-ego appeared (well, close enough for lawyers): "Did someone say delusional egomaniac?" After the Report Colbert said he was up to the task of recapping Obama's presidency, Late Show Colbert stepped aside: "Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome conservative pundit Stephen Colbert."

Colbert Report Colbert started off with all the hits from Obama's early years, when Colbert was still on Comedy Central. "Well, well, well, at long last our America-hating, secret-Muslim, lead-from-behind, terrorist-fist-bumping, hopey-changey apologist in chief is leaving office," he said, in character. "Well, I have just one thing to say to him, and it's tonight's WERD." The WERD was "Thanks, Obama," and it started out sarcastic. "I don't want to exaggerate here," he said. "Every year of the Obama regime felt like he was strangling a bald eagle with the American flag while taking a dump on an apple pie." (WERD: "A La Commode.") "That's why I want to say, Thanks Obama," Report Colbert said. "You reminded guys like me what we truly stand for: the opposite of whatever you said." (WERD: "The Audacity of Nope.") The bit is a reminder of Obama's presidency, but also of why Colbert's old persona was such effective and brutal satire — at the end, it's not quite clear which Colbert is speaking, or whether it's funny. Watch below. Peter Weber