Speed Reads

Late Night Tackles the DNC

Stephen Colbert recaps the 1st night of the Democratic National Convention

The Democratic National Convention started Monday night, and The Late Show commandeered John Legend to preview the unprecedented virtual event.

"Folks, for four years, we've looked on in horror as Donald Trump tore down every norm in American life," Stephen Colbert said on a live, post-DNC Late Show. "Well tonight, tonight the Democrats began what Joe Biden has called a battle for the soul of this nation," but what The Late Show turned into an elaborate Avengers homage, America: Endgame.

Former Ohio Gov. John Kasich and other Republicans spoke at Monday night's DNC to "underline the theme of this convention: 'Uniting America,'" Colbert said. "Slightly more inspiring than the Republican Convention theme: 'Gas Protesters and Throw Mailboxes in the Sea.'" Overall, he said, the convention's first night was "earnest" and "inspiring," and it felt "like the real beginning of the election, a chance for the American people to do the work that our elected officials failed to do for the past four years, and that's hold Donald Trump accountable."

To do that, "the Democrats attacked Donald Trump and the Republican administration with the most vicious cheap shot imaginable: accurately describing his presidency," Colbert said. "There were scenes of economic disaster, protests in the streets, a heartbreaking memoriam reel of everyone who has died of the coronavirus," plus one woman who blistered Trump for misleading her father into an early grave. They also featured Biden's fondness for Amtrak — "Smart ploy: Tug at our heartstrings by making us nostalgic for the bygone pastime of traveling anywhere," Colbert quipped — and ended the evening with headline speeches from Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and former first lady Michelle Obama.

"Bernie addressed America from our national strategic stockpile of firewood," and Michelle Obama brought the fire, he said. "I'll be honest with you: My job is to have a joke for every time somebody says anything in public. And after watching Michelle Obama's speech, I have never been more happy to fail at my job."

The Daily Show's Trevor Noah taped before the DNC was broadcast, but "you don't have to be a genius to see" that "tonight was meant to showcase the broad appeal of Joe Biden across the political spectrum," he said. "Joe Biden's basically the Cheerios of presidential candidates: He's not the most exciting option, but deep down, you know he's good for you." Watch below. Peter Weber