Late Night Tackles Guns
March 27, 2018

"We're done talking about the president — you can have the children come back into the room," Stephen Colbert told America's parents on Monday's Late Show. "Because we're going to talk about something impressive and inspiring. This weekend was the incredibly powerful March for Our Lives against gun violence," and if the estimates are right that 800,000 people attended the D.C. march alone, that would be the biggest single-day protest in the history of Washington, D.C. — "at least until Robert Mueller gets fired," he added wryly. Colbert ran through some of his favorite homemade signs from the rally and congratulated one of the speakers for having the courage to vomit on international television.

"Of course, not everybody was inspired by these young people," Colbert said. He was specifically talking about former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.), who chided the marching teens for asking other people to pass laws instead of personally learning CPR to save the next round of bleeding students. "Yeah, kids, stop asking your government to address your needs," Colbert joked darkly. "Remember what the bill from School House Rocks! says: 'You're on your own, suckers!'"

"Meanwhile, Robert Mueller's Russia investigation must be going well, because the president's lawyers are fleeing like rats leaving a sinking Trump," Colbert said, noting the sparse remnants of Trump's personal legal team and then reading Trump's tweets denying that he's having trouble hiring and keeping lawyers in the Russia investigation. "This is really one of the saddest Trump tweets I have ever seen," Colbert said. "He knows no one wants to represent him, but he's saying everybody does. That's like when I said I wasn't going to prom because too many pretty girls asked me and I didn't want to see them cry. Oh, he's got plenty of lawyers, but they're all in Canada, modeling." He somehow ended with heavily censored Frank Sinatra tunes, and you can watch that below. Peter Weber

March 8, 2018

When it comes to gun legislation, Congress is "proving to be as tone deaf as a guy who owns all of Mike Huckabee's albums," Samantha Bee said on Wednesday's Full Frontal. "Pundits think they know the real reason we can't have not-riddled-with-bullethole things" — lawmakers are bought and owned by the NRA — and "they're not completely wrong: Politicians are bought, and they're pretty cheap," Bee said. "But tracking how the NRA actually influences lawmakers is a little more complicated than buy and sell."

She started with advertising. "Guns don't kill political careers, the NRA does, and lawmakers are scared stiff of attack ads" from the group — because they often work, Bee said. "Most of us know the NRA as a lobbying group for gun manufacturers, but to its hard-core members, it is more than that. ... Yes, the NRA is like a religion — specifically, the best religion, Scientology."

"At first, I thought it was ridiculous to compare these two organizations," but then she did some cursory research, Bee said. "Both of these cults are based on fanciful myths that, when repeated enough, their otherwise intelligent followers start to believe. One says that 75 million years ago, an intergalactic warlord nuked billions of people in volcanoes, and then there's the really crazy myth: that guns have nothing to do with gun violence. Both organizations despise the media" and "have delusions of grandeur." The NRA and Scientology both promise to make you a superhero, she said, "and the only thing you need to do to get that awesome power is keep buying things from them."

"It's not easy, but you can break free from this brainwashing cult," Bee said. "So if any NRA members are hate-watching us right now, there is hope." You can watch her pitch for NRA-to-Scientology converts below. Peter Weber

March 2, 2018

"Following the mass shooting in Florida, the left keeps on talking about how to make students safer, and conservatives have one simple solution: guns," Jordan Klepper said on Thursday's The Opposition. "So Kobi Libii, Tim Baltz, and myself, Jordan Klepper, are at CPAC, the annual gathering of conservatives from across the country, to get those deets." They spoke with some national figures, like former Milwaukee Sheriff David Clarke (briefly), but mostly got willing CPAC participants to agree to outrageous statements.

"The Second Amendment is very clear when it talks about the militia," one attendee told Libii. "The Constitution is famously unamendable," Libii shot back, and when the attendee replied, "Correct," Libii added, "I'm constantly telling that to my slaves." Klepper got another attendee to nod agreeably to the U.S. being No. 1 in "mass shootings." Not everyone was so agreeable — Chris Loesch ("the second most famous Loesch in the NRA," after wife Dana) had a bit of a confrontation with Libii. You can watch that and the rest of the conversations below. Peter Weber

March 1, 2018

Stephen Colbert told his Late Show audience on Wednesday that his job is to make sense of the day's news and throw in a few jokes so everyone can sleep at night, but "I know I'm going to be staring a hole in the ceiling tonight, because I have no explanation for what happened this afternoon" in President Trump's bipartisan meeting with lawmakers to address gun violence. "We need to find any solution that does not involve an imaginary Donald Trump stopping an attack with karate," he said, approvingly.

Trump "immediately made clear the real obstacle to gun control: Barack Obama," Colbert said. "I distinctly remember how the Republicans were begging Obama to sign the GOP gun control bill," he added, with a colorful coda about flying pigs. But things got ever weirder when Trump "turned on the Republicans in the room," repeatedly taunting them for being afraid of the NRA, and then opposed a GOP provision expanding concealed-carry nationwide, Colbert said, stunned that Trump was "being reasonable."

But then Trump went "way past there, to a place no one had a ticket for," suggesting law enforcement take guns away from dangerous people before getting a court order, Colbert said. "Well, he's finally doing something Obama never did: He's coming for your guns. That's groundbreaking," but it wasn't the only big gun control news Wednesday. That led to a few Dick's jokes, before Colbert quipped his way through the mounting troubles and humiliation of Jared Kushner.

And not to be left out, The Late Show added to Kushner's humiliation. Watch below. Peter Weber

February 27, 2018

The Tonight Show was on hiatus during the Winter Olympics, a period during which a 19-year-old gunman murdered 17 people at a high school in Parkland, Florida, and on Monday's show, Jimmy Fallon said he cannot imagine the pain the surviving teachers, students, and parents are going though. But "I think what the students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School are doing is unbelievable," he said. "They're speaking out with more guts, passion, conviction, and common sense than most adults."

"That strength that they have, it's inspiring," Fallon said. "They are angry and they are doing something about it and creating change — this is a real revolution." The students have planned a peaceful march in Washington, D.C., on March 24 "to demand action to prevent gun violence," he said. "I just want to say I stand behind you guys, and I will be marching alongside you with my wife and two children in D.C. to show our support." Watch below. Peter Weber

February 26, 2018

Last week, the U.S. continued its post-Parkland discussion of gun laws, "but don't worry, because the president has said that he is determined to stop this from ever happening again, and he even gave us a glimpse of his new plan," John Oliver said on Sunday's Last Week Tonight. President Trump introduced his unfortunate idea to arm 20 percent of America's teachers with some unfortunate phrasing, Oliver noted. "'You're going to be dead, and it's going to be fast' is already the slogan for Carl's Jr., so you can't use that."

"Trump's support for this clearly terrible idea seemed to develop over the week," Oliver said. "He actually focus-grouped it on Wednesday during a listening session featuring survivors of the shooting," and it went down like a lead balloon — not that Trump seemed to notice. "That is Donald Trump in a nutshell: proposing a terrible idea in a tone-deaf way, then refusing to acknowledge he just lost the popular vote," he said.

There are lots of reasons why arming teachers is a terrible idea, from the fact that shooting people isn't their job to the logistics of getting 700,000 teachers armed and trained for combat. "It's no wonder the NRA likes this solution — it involves buying hundreds of thousands of guns, and that's their solution to everything," Oliver noted. "They'd probably deal with climate change by pointing a Glock at the ocean and daring that motherf---er to rise." Among the groups opposed to arming teachers is teachers, and Oliver suggested that a teacher's calm didacticism might be the best way to show Trump the errors of his proposal. Watch below. Peter Weber

February 23, 2018

"The national conversation continues to be how to keep our children safe from gun violence," Stephen Colbert said on Thursday's Late Show, and "for the president, for the Republican Party, for the NRA, every option is on the table — except fewer guns." President Trump did a lot of coerced listening on Wednesday, but he "actually does have a suggestion to deal with the number of guns — he wants more of them," Colbert said, specifically in the hands of teachers. "Yes, just arm the teachers — I'm sure it's in the school budget," he said. "'Sorry your school doesn't have enough copies of To Kill a Mockingbird, but good news: We're giving you something that can kill any bird.'"

Trump tried to explain his position on Twitter, and Colbert read through the tweetstorm, injecting commentary. "Yes, Trump never said to give guns to teachers willy-nilly — I mean, can you imagine what this country would be like if anyone could get a gun?" he deadpanned. "Yeah, that's what 'sickos' are known for: logical reasoning," he said later, and he wasn't sure about the "weapons talented" teachers, either: "Boy, Jim, you sure are handy with guns — have you thought about working with children?"

In the name of comedy, The Late Show did find one teacher enthusiastic about getting her Trump gun.

The Florida legislature and the gun lobby both think God has an important role in the gun debate, Colbert said, playing a clip of NRA chief Wayne LaPierre speaking at CPAC on Thursday. "Guns are bestowed by God?" he asked. "Well, I guess we're going to have to update the Sistine Chapel, then. Less Michelangelo, more Quentin Tarantino. It really makes you wonder — is God pro-gun or not?" The Late Show God appeared on the ceiling to answer that: "Say hello to my little friend — no background check, and I'm a vengeful loner with a messiah complex!" Watch below. Peter Weber

February 22, 2018

"The big story tonight continues to be the inspiring activism of children," Stephen Colbert said on Wednesday's Late Show, pointing to the big student protests and walkouts in Florida, D.C., and around the country to demand action on gun control. He played some of the stirring and angry messages to lawmakers from students who survived the Parkland school shooting, and when the camera cut back, he was on the phone. "I'm sorry, I didn't catch all of that, I was reading on Twitter about how all millennials are lazy and entitled," Colbert deadpanned.

"It's hard not to be inspired by these kids, but some people have managed to do it," Colbert said, teeing up the various conspiracy theories about the Parkland students, starting with CNN contributor Jack Kingston's theory that George Soros is puppet-mastering the kids. "Jack, teenagers are pretty good at planning big gatherings by themselves," Colbert explained. "I mean, didn't you ever go to a party in high school... oh. Oh, never mind." He turned to sarcasm for the slur that the students are "crisis actors": "That's right, we're all being taken in by the dazzling theatrical performances of high school actors," illustrating his point with a theater-nerd joke — several, actually.

It isn't just internet cranks spreading these conspiracies, Colbert sighed, pointing to Donald Trump Jr. before shifting to a critique of "DJTJ" touring India.

The Late Show elaborated on that Don Jr. critique with a Bollywood-style number, "The Dance of the Greasy Son."

Meanwhile, President Trump keeps tweeting about Russia, Colbert said, reading Trump's Wednesday morning tweet asking why his predecessor, Barack Obama, didn't stop Russian election meddling, why Democrats aren't being investigated, and urging people to "ask Jeff Sessions!" Colbert noted that Trump could just call his attorney general himself from his Twitter phone, explained to Trump how investigations work, and showed other ways Trump is trying, and failing, to one-up Obama. Peter Weber

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