Stephen Colbert explains how Trump and America both lost the 1st Trump-Biden debate

Stephen Colbert and Seth Meyers

Tuesday night was the first presidential debate between President Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden — or as The Late Show called it Tuesday night: "Old Man Slap Fight!!!"

Stephen Colbert was as pleased with the debate as his late-night colleagues — which is to say, not at all. "I never thought I'd say this, but I am so looking forward to the vice presidential debate. I mean, for Pete's sake, children watched that!"

"It seemed pretty clear from the beginning that Trump's debate strategy was just to talk over everyone," Colbert said. "And he just kept doing it all night. It reminded me of that time Abraham Lincoln debated a leaf blower." Now, "Joe Biden did get in some zingers," and at one point, "Joe, he just got fed up," he said, but there was also "an interesting moment of civility from Biden," when he called Trump "a clown," then changed it to "a person." "Whew, it's a good thing Joe corrected himself," Colbert said. "He wouldn't want to lose the clown vote. It's also not accurate: If Trump was a clown, he'd have a much more professional face paint."

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"One of the most telling, one of the most upsetting moments not only of the night but of my lifetime," Colbert said, was "when the president of the United States was asked simply to condemn white supremacy," and he just "didn't do it! 'I don't support white supremacists, I just command them.'"

"After an hour and a half of soul-pulverizing menace, I feel like I did coming out of Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace — how can we possibly do this two more times?" Colbert asked. "Ultimately, I think the American people, they were hurt tonight. And if you look online, they're angry, because this is a serious moment where human lives and the future of this irreplaceable country is on the line," and Trump delivered "one and a half hours of chaos and lies."

Seth Meyers taped Late Night before the debate, so he was still able to joke about it — pretty presciently, it turns out: "The topics included coronavirus response, mail-in ballots, Hunter Biden, taxes, Hunter Biden, climate change, the Supreme Court, and Hunter Biden. According to a new poll, 41 percent of voters expected President Trump to win tonight's debate; the other 59 percent think he'll lose and claim the loss on his 2020 tax returns." Watch below. Peter Weber

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Peter Weber

Peter Weber is a senior editor at, and has handled the editorial night shift since the website launched in 2008. A graduate of Northwestern University, Peter has worked at Facts on File and The New York Times Magazine. He speaks Spanish and Italian and plays bass and rhythm cello in an Austin rock band. Follow him on Twitter.