While Donald Trump has been an unmitigated disaster for the country, he has been comedy gold for late night TV hosts. Call Trump the grift that keeps on giving.
As a result of his election defeat, hosts like Jimmy Fallon, Stephen Colbert, Jimmy Kimmel, James Corden and Seth Meyers won’t have Donald Trump to “kick around anymore.”
With Trump in office, the comedy practically wrote itself. Writers … who needs writers? All the late night funnymen had to do was report the Trump news of the day to fill their monologues.
Who can forget some of the best material Trump provided … peddling Clorox as a coronavirus cure; claiming noise from windmills causes cancer; boasting “No one is tougher on Russia than me”; saying the hurricane is wet “from the standpoint of water”; offering I would never do her, “she’s not my type”; claiming “I’m a stable genius, OK?”; and observing Puerto Rico is “an island surrounded by water, big water, ocean water” … and that’s just the tip of the comedy ice berg Trump blessed the TV stars with.
Perhaps no late night show relied more heavily on Trump material than The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. In fact, his entire nightly monologue, normally about ten minutes, has been all Trump, all the time, for the last four years.
Yet Colbert is not too upset his comedy source is drying up.
Reminded by his wife he no longer has to talk about Trump every day, Colbert cried tears of relief during one of last week’s shows.
“For the first time in four years, we’ll be able to shift our collective focus away from him, onto anything else. Maybe each other, wouldn’t that be nice?” said Colbert. “I mean, I woke up this morning and I was walking down the steps and I just felt all this available brain space. It’s not filled with anything else yet. It’s just like a clean kitchen counter where something could be made if we’re just not cluttering it up with that guy.”
The Trump presidency has been very good for Colbert. Though it was a bumpy start after taking over The Late Show from David Letterman in 2015, Colbert’s show has consistently been the most-watched late night program according to Nielson.
Will Colbert’s ratings slip when he’s forced to do non-Trumpian material? Perhaps, but the comedian ended his opening monologue last week by praising Biden with a message of hope that the president-elect will bring a sense of normalcy back to the country.
Photo | variety.com