Speed Reads

Late Night Tackles Scott Pruitt

Stephen Colbert bids a toxic farewell to Scott Pruitt, Hunger Games–style

While The Late Show was on break last week, President Trump ousted scandal-plagued Environmental Protection Agency head Scott Pruitt. On Monday's show, Stephen Colbert noted that Pruitt is just the latest official to leave the Trump administration, by choice or, usually, otherwise. "For those of us in the media, this ongoing staff purge is amazing to watch," Colbert said. "It's like a form of blood sport. We're riveted. It's like something out of The Hunger Games — no, wait! It's 'The Hungry to Leave Power Games.'"

That was Colbert's cue to transform into his Caesar Flickerman character. "Tonight, citizens, we honor EPA head Scott Pruitt, a man whose only flaw was being terrible," he said, recapping some of Pruitt's scandals, even after his theatrical huffing of chlorpyrifos — a brain-damaging chemical Pruitt green-lighted after meeting with the head of its manufacturer, Dow Chemicals — fatally fogged up his glasses. Before playing the Hunger Games theme music, he placed a Pruitt action figure into a soundproof box with moisturizer lotion and a few sprays of chlorpyrifos, promising to put the box into a polluted river. Then it was farewell to the tribute from "District Fancy Pens." (Some of Flickerman's language is borderline NSFW.)

Colbert also gawked at Trump's campaign rally in Montana last week, starting with his threat to gently lob a DNA kit at Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.). "So, crazy stuff, but I know what you're saying," he said. "You're saying, Stephen, did he ramble for two straight minutes about Elton John, hockey, and brains? Let's find out." (Spoiler: He did.) "Now, we have to remember, this is the president of the United States talking, and I, frankly, do not feel qualified to respond to his Elton John-brain speech," Colbert said. "So I've decided to bring in someone who's more qualified." That teed up a new Late Show segment. Watch below. Peter Weber