Speed Reads

Last Night on Late Night

Stephen Colbert recaps the 1st Jan. 6 hearing in a live Late Show that pulls few punches

Stephen Colbert did a live Late Show after Thursday night's prime-time Jan. 6 committee hearing, and the House panel should consider borrowing Colbert's Muppet Show–themed introduction for their next hearing. 

Colbert lightly characterized the weighty Jan. 6 hearings as "Episode 1 of this summer's most compelling drama," similar to Netflix's Stranger Things: "We met the monster years ago, and we're pretty sure the Russians are involved." The "monster," he clarified, is former President Donald Trump, and while "Republicans tried to claim that tonight was gonna be a nothingburger, they were wrong: It was a juicy double cheeseburger stuffed with burger between two buns made of burger smothered in a zesty burger sauce." 

"It was such a juicy burger that Fox News knew that even their viewers would be tempted to take a bite, which is why — and this is true — for the first hour of his show, opposite the hearings, Tucker Carlson took no commercial breaks," Colbert said. "Do you understand what that means? Fox News is willing to lose money to keep their viewers from flipping over and accidentally learning information."

"We've heard many of these details before," Colbert said, but the committee helpfully weaved them together into "a compelling case" that Jan. 6 "was in fact an attack premeditated by the president of the United States to prevent the peaceful transfer of power for the first time in our nation's history." He played some big moments, interspersed with jokes. 

After committee chair Rep. Bennie Thompson's (D-Miss.) opening remarks, "the ranking Republican, Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney — seen here shocked as you are that she's the hero of this story" — hit Trump "where it hurts him, right in the Ivanka." He played the clip of Ivanka Trump's testimony, then delivered a punchline that made the audience erupt and bandleader Jon Batiste bury his head on the piano keyboard: "That must've been a bittersweet moment for the president: she finally screwed him." (The Daily Show went with the more genteel joke: "Ivanka has officially been demoted to the rank of Eric.")

"After two hours of documentary evidence and testimony, we learned that this insurrectionist conspiracy was, like everything else associated with that last administration, exactly what you thought but worse than you could have imagined," Colbert concluded. "The next episode drops on Monday morning. And to quote the former president: 'Be there. Will be wild.'"