Late Night Tackles Trump versus Biden
November 3, 2020

"Well, guys, we're almost there — we made it to the night before the election," Jimmy Fallon said on Monday's Tonight Show. "Seriously, I feel like I'm at the very top of a roller coaster and I know the guy in front of me is gonna throw up." President Trump "has apparently told people that he's gonna declare victory tomorrow night if it looks like he's ahead," he said. "Trump said this isn't true, he's gonna declare victory if he's ahead or behind," but "at this point, the only thing Trump can declare without anyone questioning him is bankruptcy."

Biden's comfortably ahead in national polls, and "if Trump does end up losing, I'm sure he'll be gracious when he pretends that he won," Stephen Colbert joked at The Late Show. Many Americans are nervous about Tuesday, but "I'm the most relaxed I've been for months, because at 11:38 the night before the election, whatcha gonna do?" he mused. "This president has exposed a lot of weaknesses in our government, but it just needs to hold together for one last run."

"The best way to describe how I'm feeling right now, it's somewhere between Christmas Eve and the night before a liver transplant," Jimmy Kimmel said at Kimmel Live. "Trump is closing out his campaign by complaining and whining" and warning supporters "of the very real and very dangerous possibility that every vote might count," he said. "If he wins, it was legitimate, if he loses it was rigged. That's as simple as that goes. You wouldn't accept this from the umpire at your kid's T-ball game. Why would you want this in a president of the United States?"

"Trump is flat-out saying that after Election Day, you should just stop counting the votes," The Daily Show's Trevor Noah agreed. "But I promise you now, if Biden wins on election night, well then Trump will say you gotta hold everything until all the votes are counted — and then when all the votes are counted, Trump will say, 'Oh, we should hold everything until all the votes are recounted.'" Trump's like "that kid who keeps chasing the rules until he wins," he said, and it might really "help if we explained this to Trump in terms that he would understand: Donald, we have to wait for the election results because right now they're 'under audit by the IRS.'" Watch below. Peter Weber

October 30, 2020

"Folks, the presidential election is only five days away," Stephen Colbert said on Thursday's Late Show. "COVID-19 is the biggest issue in this election, next to daddy issues, and COVID cases exploding all over the country," he said. "As the campaign draws to a close, [President] Trump and [Joe] Biden are pushing opposing pandemic strategies. Biden is pushing viral containment while Trump is pushing your grandma into traffic."

"Strangely, Trump's blatant disregard for human life seems to be hurting him with a key demographic, humans," Colbert said. It's so bad for Trump, "Joe could get Texas," he said, but more likely, "the electoral map could come down to Pennsylvania, which is why Trump is making a huge effort to get out the vote there — I'm sorry, I misread that — throw out the vote there."

"Trump is busy on the campaign trail," and "at one of his rallies, he tried to describe what would happen if Joe Biden wins," Jimmy Fallon said at The Tonight Show. It was ... implausible. "No Christmas? Does Trump think he's running against Biden or the Grinch?" he asked. "According to Trump, electing Biden will lead to riots in the streets, an economy in the tank, and no holidays — but also he's a sleepy politician who can't get anything done."

"The Trump campaign knows they can't campaign against Joe Biden, so they've decided instead to campaign against reality," Seth Meyers said at Late Night. "In their warped minds," Trump and his allies think "whining about mean tweets and trying to get people fired" is "more important than the deadly pandemic that's killed 227,000 Americans," he added. "Of course, none of this is working with voters, which is why Trump is way down in the polls."

"That's right, Joe Biden wants to murder Santa Claus, kids," Jimmy Kimmel deadpanned at Kimmel Live. "This is the message Team Trump seems to be going with down the stretch." You know, he added, "Trump used to love doing these rallies. He would go and people would cheer, but now that he's losing and still has to go to these towns he hates, he's not doing a very good job of hiding his disdain."

The Daily Show's Jordan Klepper visited perhaps his last Trump rally ever, in Pennsylvania, and he found the audience oddly "subdued" — and not quite clear on the Hunter Biden laptop story. Watch his dispatch below. Peter Weber

October 28, 2020

"Guys, we are just one week away from Election Day," Jimmy Fallon said on Tuesday's Tonight Show. "I can't believe it's that soon — I mean, it feels like the last four years have just really flown by." Actually, "seven days is still a lot of time: If you get in line to vote now, there's a really good chance you'll make it to the front by Nov. 3," he joked. "Over 65 million have already voted, and thanks to the Supreme Court, almost three million of those will be counted."

President Trump and Joe Biden are flying around the country, but especially Trump. "Usually the only people who travel this much are salesmen and fugitives," Fallon said. "I'm not sure Trump's rallies are really moving the needle. It's hard to convince voters you deserve a second term when your speech has 42 mentions of the word 'plague.'"

Yes, "the biggest news in the election is the coronavirus, and things are only getting plague-ier," Stephen Colbert said on The Late Show. Things are especially dire in swing states, where Trump's COVID-19 approval ratings are slipping and people are mad about "his super-spreader rallies," he added. "Apparently, voters are not responding to his campaign's closing message: Let the maskless man spit on you!" He cut together Biden and Trump making their very different "closing arguments to the American voters."

With a week until voting ends, "I feel like I'm waiting for the results of a biopsy right now — that's the mood I'm in," Jimmy Kimmel said on Kimmel Live. "Donald Trump's doing his best to keep the COVID going. He had three rallies today, he's got two more tomorrow, despite the fact that at his rallies in Minnesota last month, each one of those rallies was the site of a virus outbreak," state officials determined. "I remember the good old days when the only disease we worried about Donald Trump spreading was syphilis," he joked. But at least former President Barak Obama, stumping for Biden, "seems to be having fun with this"

"Often on this show, we mock Donald Trump for going off the rails while speaking, but Obama proved today it can happen to the best of us," James Corden said at The Late Late Show. Except his entire band got the Popeye reference that went over Corden's head, and you can watch that — plus a pretty solid Trump-Amish joke — below. Peter Weber

October 23, 2020

The final presidential debate between President Trump and Joe Biden was in Nashville on Thursday night, and The Late Show kicked it off with a musical number.

"Tonight was Donald Trump's very last chance to make his closing argument: Please ignore what he's like and everything he's ever done," Stephen Colbert said on Thursday's live post-debate Late Show. "Moderator Kristen Welker did a great job" and "kept them on subject, admirably," starting with "Trump's catastrophic COVID response — which of course was a subject he didn't want to touch."

Biden and Trump also clashed on climate policy, corruption, racism, and personal taxes, and when "Welker turned to the tragedy of the 545 children who the Trump administration took from their parents at the southern border," Trump "did an insane thing and tried to defend the border detention centers for kids," Colbert said. "Trump seemed to get spooked as the night went on and started playing some of the classics," like "immigrants are murderers and rapists. Trump's closing with the line he opened this entire nightmare with." He reminded voters: "The ultimate mute button is in your hands."

The mute button "seemed like it worked pretty well — I'm thinking of getting one for Thanksgiving," Jimmy Fallon joked at The Tonight Show. In fact, it was so "much calmer, at one point they almost cut to Jeffrey Toobin to liven things up."

"Everyone was impressed by Trump not interrupting or yelling," though "I'm not sure it's a great sign that we talk about the president like we talk about a 4-year-old at a puppet show," Fallon said. And when Trump claimed he wasn't racist, "instead of the mute button, someone hit the laugh track. It's a little weird to say 'I'm the least racist person in the room' when half the room are your friends and family."

"Only Donald Trump can look at a half-Black, half-Native American moderator and say 'I'm the least racist person in this room,'" Jimmy Kimmel agreed on Kimmel Live. "The Thrilla in Nasvhilla" was "not the WrestleMania event most people were expecting," and Trump did get "marks for good behavior, like when you bring a 2-year-old on a plane." There were high points, like Trump "almost kinda" taking responsibility for America's pandemic response," but "there was so much nonsense," Kimmel said. "Trump, his defense of putting children in cages is 'You should see how nice these cages are.' Honestly." He ended with a very personal plea for protecting people with pre-existing conditions. Watch below. Peter Weber

October 20, 2020

We're two weeks from Election Day, and "according to most national polls, Joe Biden is leading President Trump by about 10 points — and based on the last election, that means Biden's losing by 4 points," Jimmy Kimmel joked on Monday's Tonight Show. "Things have gotten so bad for Trump, Republicans are now distancing themselves from him and his own advisers think that he's in trouble. When asked why he isn't more depressed, Trump was like, 'Steroids!'"

"Trump is doing whatever he can to get back in the race," but his attacks on Biden — and scientists — are getting bizarre, Fallon said. And "Trump did some pretty strange dance moves" at his rallies, he added, transforming Trump's lurching into a TikTok challenge with new dance moves like "Steer the Boat Over Jell-O."

The Late Show also named Trump's dance moves.

"One of Trump's biggest problems is that suburban women in battleground states don't like him," Stephen Colbert said at The Late Show. "Trump is so desperate to attract the ladies, he broke out his irresistible dance move." He wasn't impressed: "He makes the inflatable tube man look like Fred Astaire." Trump's latest "weird attack" is on Dr. Anthony Fauci, "the most trusted person on coronavirus in the United States," Colbert said. But the president has also "openly mused about losing," suggesting he'd leave the country, he noted. "I'll help you pack! I hear Equatorial Guinea has a beautiful no-extradition treaty this time of year."

As COVID-19 cases spike across the country, "the president is busy attacking Dr. Fauci" and talking about dishwashers at his rallies, Jimmy Kimmel marveled at Kimmel Live. "I think he thinks this makes him relatable to women, because he talked about dishwashers for a long time." He suggested Trump is hinting "his backup plan for the next four years might be in the world of household appliances and repair," and demonstrated the idea with a TV ad.

Trump's terrible poll numbers "might explain why he's been making a series of increasingly bizarre threats about what he'll do if he loses," Seth Meyers said at Late Night. "I didn't think I could be any more motivated to vote against Trump until I heard him say if he loses, he'll never speak to us again." Meyers also poked fun at Trump's upper-body dance moves — "I call this move Roach Caught in a Glue Trap" — and you can watch below. Peter Weber

October 8, 2020

Vice President Mike Pence and Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) met Wednesday night for the first and only vice presidential debate. "This debate is important, because one of these people could be our president someday — for Mike Pence, the day could be tomorrow," Jimmy Kimmel said on Wednesday's Kimmel Live. "Safety was a concern leading up to tonight's debate, seeing as how the White House is now the new Wuhan."

So once the debate started, Kimmel said, "the plexi went up and the gloves came off. I wish Kamala would have started the debate by congratulating Mike Pence on his great work as leader of the COVID task force — and then just laughed like a maniac for 90 minutes." He ran through some of the bigger moments.

"A lot of people noticed that Mike Pence had a pink eye, which is apparently a symptom of coronavirus," Kimmel said. "But the big star of the debate tonight was a fly that landed, quite symbolically, on the vice president's head" — and "stayed on his head for 2 minutes and 3 seconds. Technically, that fly is now his running mate. But anyway, Mike Pence's fly just became the most popular Halloween costume of 2020." Look, he said, "no one's mind was changed tonight, almost none of the questions were answered."

Yes, the debate "was everything we expected," Stephen Colbert said on The Late Show: "Pence talked over all the women in the room, the moderator tried to call for order, the vice president got a couple of good licks in, and Sen. Harris picked up a broken pool cue and beat Pence over the head with the Trump administration's failures. All night, Pence wouldn't give one straight answer — which is kind of weird, because normally he likes everything straight. It wasn't earth-shattering, but that is how politics should be, remember?"

"Oh, there is one moment that stuck with me," Colbert said. "You'll know it when you see it — everyone's buzzing about it." But before he got to Pence's hair fly, he ran through some key exchanges and mocked Pence's "insane equivalency" between COVID-19 and the 2009 swine flu outbreak, when, he deadpanned, "the economy shut down for a year, we couldn't hug our grandparents for months, and Barack Obama would not shut up about the MyPillow guy." Finally, he landed his fly jokes. Watch below. Peter Weber

August 13, 2020

Joe Biden and his new running mate, Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), held their first joint appearance Wednesday at a Delaware high school, Stephen Colbert said on Wednesday's Late Show. "It was a warm and energetic launch to their campaign, but when Biden took the stage, Joe did not pull any punches, especially when it came to Trump attacking his running mate." He found Biden's line that "whining is what Donald Trump does best" a bit unfair.

"One person who was not thrilled with Biden's choice is his opponent," and Trump's "criticism had a familiar ring to it," Colbert said. Oddly, "one person Trump thinks Harris was particularly 'nasty' to is her new running mate."

"Like, is Trump attacking or defending Joe Biden? I can't tell," Trevor Noah said at The Daily Show. "I mean of all people, Donald Trump should totally understand how you can be with a woman who's publicly humiliated you."

"Kamala Harris on the ticket with Joe Biden is a genius move by the former VP, because not only does she tick a bunch of boxes, but clearly, conservatives are gonna struggle to put her in one," Noah said, playing a highlight reel. "Honestly, it's kind of cute watching Republicans flail around trying to figure out the right talking points." He illustrated the GOP confusion with a mock attack ad.

"As of right now, Biden and Harris are up by 10 points on Trump and Pence," Jimmy Fallon said at The Tonight Show. "Just to rub it in, at the end of their event they both moonwalked down a ramp." He showed, then mimicked, Trump's attacks on Harris. "Meanwhile, in a new attack ad, the Trump campaign has already labeled them 'Slow Joe and Phony Kamala,'" Fallon said. "And if you have a 'Slow' and 'Phony' joke that doesn't end with 'Those used to be Trump's nicknames for Eric and Don Jr.,' write to us."

The Late Late Show's James Corden showed Harris slamming Trump at her joint event with Biden. "Donald Trump getting bullied in a high school gym! It's honestly the first time I've related to him." He and his crew agreed that Harris is a much better pick than Hillary Clinton's running mate, who they made a show of not remembering.

And The Late Show had some condolence cards for all the running mates who didn't make the cut. Watch below. Peter Weber

July 17, 2020

Among the heap of "troubling pandemic news," Stephen Colbert said on Thursday's Late Show, "yesterday we learned that Russian hackers have launched cyberattacks on COVID-19 research centers. So the Russians are getting America's coronavirus data? Could they share it with us?" The Russian spies are actually trying to steal COVID-19 vaccine research, he explained, "but for once, Russia is the second-biggest hacking story of the day, because yesterday, major Twitter accounts were hacked in a bitcoin scam. Now, if you're not familiar, a 'bitcoin scam' is anything involving bitcoin."

President Trump is getting crushed in the polls by Joe Biden, Colbert said, but "I won't feel confident Biden has won this thing until he's giving his first State of the Union — and even then part of me will be thinking: 'Comey could still f--- this up.'"

"A new poll finds that Trump's approval rating has hit an all-time low of 36 percent," Jimmy Fallon said at The Tonight Show. "I guess that explains why Trump has decided to shake things up," replacing campaign manager Brad Parscale. "Meanwhile, everyone else in the campaign is thinking, 'Yeah, he was the problem,'" he joked. The Twitter hackers targeted Biden, Barack Obama, and Jeff Bezos, among other blue checkmarks, Fallon said. "You know Trump's furious because they attacked the biggest accounts on Twitter and didn't even include him."

"Twitter released a statement saying that luckily, the president's Twitter account was not hacked — but how would they know?" Trevor Noah asked on The Daily Show. "I mean, this is the same guy who tweets about beans, Iran, and the Confederacy in the span of 10 minutes. He pre-hacks himself."

Also, "Donald Trump's campaign isn't struggling because of his campaign manager, it's struggling because Donald Trump is the candidate," Noah said. So Parscale is clearly "a scapegoat," but he should still be proud, "because at this point, getting out of the Trump campaign without getting into prison, that's an achievement."

"Trump's campaign is sputtering because the coronavirus crisis isn't a problem Trump can just BS his way out of," and governing "is just not in his skill set," Seth Meyers said at Late Night. But Trump didn't just fire Parscale, he's also "honing in on two key re-election strategies: less testing and more racism."

Trump also suggested dogs might vote illegally, and The Late Show turned that into a commercial. Watch below. Peter Weber

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