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Late Night Tackles 2020
May 17, 2019

"This morning, yet another new Democratic candidate pushed his way into the clown car," Stephen Colbert said on Thursday's Late Show, welcoming New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio to the race — kind of. "You hear the hometown crowd warmly receiving that," he joked as the audience groaned. "De Blasio's announcement was met with a resounding: 'Really? Why?'" One poll found that 76 percent of New York City voters didn't want de Blasio to run, and "it's not like de Blasio's popular outside of New York City, either," Colbert said, pointing to a New Hampshire poll in which de Blasio got 0 percent support.

De Blasio's top campaign priority, at least as laid out in his launch video, is putting "working people first" — and Colbert finished his thought: "Except the working people of New York, because I'm going to spend the next two years not becoming president."

In Los Angeles, Jimmy Kimmel groaned at de Blasio's "Con Don" nickname for President Trump. "He really puts the 'blah' in de Blasio," he said on Kimmel Live. "Maybe he's running for president so he can get away from all the people who hate him in New York. I really don't know what Bill de Blasio is thinking — he has no chance of winning." He compared de Blasio's campaign to "the saddest birthday in town," with props.

But it's not just de Blasio. "At this point, announcing you're running for president is like announcing you're running a 5K," Kimmel said. "Good for you. No one cares. Don't post pictures. There are now 23 Democrats in the race, and unless one of these guys has a dragon we don't know about, I don't know how any of them come out of this alive." Watch him switch to mocking another "beloved New York City politician," Anthony Weiner, below. Peter Weber

May 14, 2019

"You've been busy this past week — you got insulted by the president of the United States," Jimmy Fallon reminded 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg on Monday's Tonight Show. Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Indiana, laughed. "Yeah, that's how you know you've made it."

"He called you Alfred E. Neuman — the president of the United States called you that," Fallon said, pulling out an illustration of the Mad magazine mascot. "What goes through your mind when that happens?" Buttigieg was ready: "You know, we talk a lot about elevating the dialogue, so I guess the fact that I inspired him to make a literary reference, maybe for the first time, is something." He went on to recount tricking Jerry Seinfeld into taking the key to South Bend and make some predictions about Game of Thrones.

Yes, "Mayor Pete was recently honored with an original Trump nickname," Stephen Colbert said at The Late Show. "Trump compared him to Alfred E. Neuman, the mascot for Mad magazine. Now, if you're too young to know the reference, magazines were these thick stacks of paper with pictures and words on them." He showed Buttigieg and Neuman side-by-side: "I see the similarity, in that they are both more qualified to be president than Donald Trump."

"When confronted with the Trump slam, Buttigieg was ready with a sick burn of his own," Colbert said, playing the clip and paraphrasing his response: "'Oh, I look like a cartoon character? Well, you're a million years old.' By the way, Pete, I got the reference — I guess it's a generational thing." That made Colbert look sad, momentarily. "But Buttigieg didn't leave it there," trotting out a Chinese proverb about the winds changing, he added. "It's a nice thought, but thanks to Trump's tariffs, saying that proverb now costs $80." Watch below. Peter Weber

May 14, 2019

"Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg is continuing to gain support in the Democratic primary in — you know, I was going to make a joke about this, but I don't think it needs a joke, I think it needs to be slow-jammed," Jimmy Fallon said on Monday's Tonight Show. "That's right, I want to slow-jam the news, and I'm not the only one." Buttigieg got enthusiastic applause as he walked out on stage.

The slow-jam was mostly Buttigieg making earnest campaign introductions, Fallon rephrasing them in a low voice with double entendres, and Tariq Trotter of The Roots singing most of the good one-liners, but they shook things up a bit at times, like when Buttigieg said he went on Fox News because he wants "everyone to join this campaign, Democrats and Republicans." "Democrats and Republicans? So what you're saying is you go both ways?" Fallon asked. "No, I'm just gay," Buttigieg responded. He also hit President Trump with a gentle he's-so-old joke and then slapped another one on Fallon.

You can watch Buttigieg and Fallon tease this appearance back in April, in several different languages, below. Peter Weber

May 8, 2019

Stephen Colbert continued his look at the bumper crop of 2020 Democratic presidential candidates on Tuesday's Late Show. "Tonight's candidate started with zero name recognition and has held steady," he joked. That candidate, Andrew Yang, "has some unique policy positions. For example, he is opposed to circumcision, he is for legalizing marijuana, he supports revitalizing shuttered malls, and wants to instate a universal basic income of $1,000 a month. Which is why his campaign slogan is 'Andrew Yang 2020: Get High, Go to the Mall, Keep Your Foreskin, I'll Give You Money.' That is — he might win."

But Yang unveiled another campaign promise in a speech in Seattle last Friday, and Colbert was less enthused that the crowed about Yang's vow to become the first president to use PowerPoint in his State of the Union address. "Well, it's about damn time the leader of the free world stood in front of Congress and said, 'My fellow Americans, does anyone have an HDMI cable?'" Watch him act that out below. Peter Weber

April 30, 2019

Stephen Colbert said on Monday's Late Show that when he plugged back in to the news after last week's vacation, he was surprised to learn that "Donald Trump is still president — did no one read the Mueller report?" But there's still an election scheduled for 2020, and former Vice President Joe Biden just entered the race.

"After months of teasing us, today Biden was in Pittsburgh to hold the first official rally of his presidential campaign," Colbert said, and as far as rallies go, "it seemed a little off: The crowd didn't chant to lock anyone up, not one journalist was threatened, and there were no unifying hats!" Biden "took a swing at our current president" in Monday's official campaign launch, but he "teed it up last week with this YouTube video" focused on Charlottesville, Colbert said, annotating the ad. "Biden did not just attack the white supremacists, he also went after their hero," Trump.

"Trump's already worried about Joe Biden," Colbert said. "And the proof of that is this ad did something none of the other Democrats have been able to do, and that's put Trump on the defensive. Because after Biden's ad talking about Charlottesville, the president had to answer for his Charlottesville response again." Trump's answer, defending Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee, veered a little off-kilter. "Trump thinks you should be honored because you're a good general, no matter which side you fought on," Colbert said. "That explains why I went to Erwin Rommel Middle School — the Fightin' Desert Foxes."

Trump doubled-down on his Robert E. Lee claim on conservative radio, and "that nationwide broadcast radio fib was significant because it was the statement that pushed Trump over 10,000 false and misleading claims," Colbert said. "Whoooo! Trump has passed 10,000 lies! Man, I gotta tell you, if Trump had a dollar for ever lie he's told, he would say he had $1 billion." Watch for dropping balloons below. Peter Weber

April 17, 2019

House Democrats were so mad the IRS blew past a deadline to turn over President Trump's tax returns, they "set a new deadline," Stephen Colbert sighed on Tuesday's Late Show. But "we did get to see a different cranky old man's taxes, because yesterday Bernie Sanders released 10 years of his tax returns," proving he's joined the 1 percent, he said. "Finally, now we can get the answers to all my Bernie-related financial controversies, like whether he writes off mothballs as a business expense or a snack?"

Also "last night, Sanders appeared at a Fox News town hall," and unexpectedly, he "dominated" the event, Colbert said. "Good for Bernie. It just goes to show that on Fox News, it doesn't matter if you're young or old, what matters is that you're old. Bernie's best moment came when Bret Baier asked the Fox town hall audience about 'government-run health insurance,'" and hands shot up across the room. "I look forward to his next gotcha question," he joked, suggesting one about sex and pizza. Still, "given Bernie's success at last night's town hall, Fox may need to rethink their position on capitalism. So look out for the latest Fox News anchors, Tucker Karls-Marx and Sean Hann-archy."

Bernie's Fox News town hall "did not please President Trump, who took a break from the emergency at the border" to slam "Crazy Bernie" and "smiley and nice" Brett Baier, Jimmy Kimmel noted on Kimmel Live. "He gets very jealous when his Fox makes other friends."

"And speaking of jealous," Kimmel said, "Vladimir Putin and Kim Jong Un are holding a summit in Russia next week — all of Trump's BFFs are hanging out without him. This will be the first meeting between Putin and Kim Jong Un. I guess Kim finally realized that if he wants to make a deal with America he has to go the top." Watch below. Peter Weber

April 11, 2019

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) "has become famous as the guy fighting against 'the millionaires and billionaires,'" Trevor Noah said on Wednesday's Daily Show. "But now he may have to have a conversation with the man in the mirror."

Yes, Sanders "has come out as a millionaire — and it's funny that he had to 'come out' as a millionaire," Noah said. "Like, I wonder if he came out to his family first. 'Guys, there's something I need to tell you: I'm actually rich.' And I bet his family was like: 'Oh, Bernie, we've known for years. We had a feeling when you started ordering appetizers, Bernie.'"

"Now obviously, for many people, this is a bit shocking," Noah said. "Because hating millionaires is Bernie's whole thing, you know? This is like finding out Donald Trump is secretly Mexican." Sanders isn't going to "change his core principle" because of his windfall, but "I do think it would be funny if we started picking up subtle changes," Noah said, demonstrating.

He also marveled at how close Hollywood came to correctly imagining what a black hole looks like and recreated the viral standoff between Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) as an awkward date. Watch below. Peter Weber

April 5, 2019

In 2016, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) was the insurgent revolutionary for the Democratic presidential nomination. On Thursday's Daily Show, Trevor Noah asked him how it's different entering this year's contest as a frontrunner. Four years ago his ideas were thought to be "radical," Sander said, but now they're "supported by a majority of the American people." "So then you're done — why run?" Noah joked. Sanders laughed and said someone needs to take on the "incredibly powerful establishment."

Noah asked how Sanders responds to concerns about old white men in a historically diverse field. "I believe the American people have to make that decision, nobody else makes it," Sanders replied. "You're not going to hear me disparaging other candidates," but it's "appropriate" to look at which candidates stood for progressive principals at what time. "You're basically saying people have jumped on but you're the O.G. of this idea," Noah translated.

Sanders said he's doing a town hall on Fox News because he was treated fairly by Fox News anchor "Britt" Baier in 2016, and "to me it is important to distinguish Fox News from the many millions of people who watch Fox News. And I think it is important to talk to those people and say, 'You know what, I know that many of you voted for Donald Trump, but he lied to you'" and "betrayed the working class." But Sanders isn't going into the situation blindly, he added. "Trust me, I know Fox News."

Noah brought up tax returns, suggesting in half-jest that since both Sanders and President Trump won't release them, "there's probably secrets on both sides. My theory is, Trump doesn't want us to know he's not a billionaire, and you don't want us to know that you are. So, are we going to see your tax returns?" "You sure are," Sanders said, laughing. "We will make them all public very shortly," sometime after April 15. Watch below. Peter Weber

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