Speed Reads

Late night tackles the 2020 debates

Jimmy Kimmel, Jimmy Fallon, and Trevor Noah unhappily recap the chaotic Trump-Biden debate

Late night hosts recap the 1st presidential debate

Tuesday night "was the main event, Sleepy vs. Sleazy, the first — and hopefully last — debate between Joe Biden and Donald Trump," Jimmy Kimmel said on Tuesday's Kimmel Live. " It got off to an interesting start: you know, they flipped a coin to determine who would get the first question, but when Trump saw the quarter in the air, he said, 'Hey, that's how much I paid in taxes last year,' and it went downhill from there."

"It was a terrible debate — I'd call it a nightmare, but at least during a nightmare, you get some sleep," Kimmel said. "Trump treated Chris Wallace like he was Eric asking for more allowance money."

"Before the debate, Chris Wallace said that if he does his job right, it will be like he's not there," Jimmy Fallon said on The Tonight Show. "Well, mission accomplished." Seriously, "what the hell was that debate?" he asked. "Was that helpful to any American? The only person who enjoyed that was Vladimir Putin while he was stroking a cat."

"Tonight's debate was presented without commercials," so "the only interruptions were Trump cutting off Biden and Chris Wallace every 8 seconds," Fallon said. "You know it was a rough debate when the guy who told the president to 'shut up' was seen as the classy candidate" — though after telling Trump to shush for the umpteenth time, "Biden got a standing ovation from Melania."

"Trump would not shut up!" Trevor Noah agreed at The Daily Show. He had some suggestions for the next debate moderator, including spray bottles — "I promise you, Trump will be quiet, because his hair turns into a gremlin if it gets wet" — and a new fact-checking feature where for every lie a candidate tells, "a brick should come down on their side of the screen, you know, like Tetris. ... I mean the best part for Trump is that 5 minutes into the debate, he'll finally have his wall."

"What is my takeaway? I don't actually know. I mean, I don't know how Biden did, because Trump did more interrupting than Kanye West in a room full of Taylor Swifts," Noah said. "And as for Trump's performance, two things: One, now we finally know what it would be like if he read his Twitter feed out loud, and two, I can't believe how hard his brain malfunctioned when they asked him to denounce white supremacists." Peter Weber