This is what late-night looks like with Donald Trump as President of the United States.
After most of the talk shows went off the air during Election Night, so Samantha Bee, Stephen Colbert, James Corden, Jimmy Fallon, Jimmy Kimmel, Seth Meyers and Conan O’Brien, shared messages of hope and humor when they returned to address a divided nation late Wednesday.
It’s no secret that Meyers favored Hillary Clinton. As he began his monologue on NBC’s Late Night, he shocked his audience by saying, “Well, that was a real grab in the p—y. I’m sorry to use foul language like that, but last I checked, the Electoral College seems to be fine with it.”
“You know, we’ve been talking about Donald Trump on this show for 18 months, and one of the things I’ve tried to make clear over those 18 months is how I’ve been wrong about him at every turn. When he first came down the escalator at Trump Tower and announced, I boldly said on this show that it was a stunt and he would never really run. I then said he would never win the GOP nomination. And I certainly didn’t think he would be our next President,” he said. “But the good news is, based on this pattern of me being wrong on every one of my Donald Trump predictions, he’s probably going to be a great f–king president. Let’s just hope this trajectory holds.”
Meyers then recounted how he and his wife, Alexi Ashe Meyers, went to watch the election returns at a friend’s house. “Before we left, we put our 8-month-old son to bed. I was holding him and I said to him, ‘When you wake up tomorrow morning, we might have our first female president.’ And then when we came home around midnight, I went into his room, shook his crib until he woke up and screamed, ‘We have to get out of here!'” he joked. “And then my wife pointed out that wasn’t productive, and she was right. I’m willing to admit that she was right.”
“So, I re-calibrated and I told him that for the first time in our history, our president would be a steak salesman, and that seemed to calm him down,” Meyers said. “Then, we got into bed—my wife and I and our dog, Frisbee, who is a 7 lb. Italian greyhound.” Initially, it felt like a typical nighttime ritual. “Usually, she provides great comfort to us. But last night Frisbee was skittish because being Italian, she doesn’t know if she gets to stay. So, we had to calm her down, too.”
“This morning I realized how lucky we were, because an 8-month-old was the perfect aged child to have. While my wife and I were sitting at the kitchen table solemnly talking about what all of this meant, he was just happily going to town on a pear. We cut up a pear, we’re discussing the future of the Supreme Court, and he was just smiling and eating that pear,” he said. “And you could tell he was thinking, ‘I don’t know what you two are talking about, but I’m with pear.'”
Jokes aside, Meyers empathized with every parent who had to explain the election results to their children—”especially parents with daughters,” he said. “Because a lot of them, like me, probably thought Hillary would be our first woman president, but she won’t be,” he said. “But that does mean that someone’s daughter is out there right now who will one day have that title. Maybe you’re a woman who’s currently a senator. Maybe you’re still in college. Hopefully, you’re not a toddler, but who knows? With the way things went last night, who knows?”
“The fact is, we don’t know who you are, but imagine this moment today will be a defining moment for you, one that will make your work harder and stride farther. And whoever you are, I hope I live to see your inauguration. And I hope my mom does, too. She was really excited yesterday, and I was really sad for her,” Meyers said, fighting back tears. “My mom’s name happens to be Hillary. It hasn’t always been that; she just changes it whatever Democrat is running for president. It’s really weird. I’ve had to call her ‘Barack’ for eight years.”
“But good news to our first woman president, whoever you are, wherever you are: You may have been rooting for Hillary, but now you can still be the first woman president, and first is so much better than second,” he said. “That is the difference between George Washington and John Adams. You end up on money or Paul Giamatti plays you in a movie. So, go. Go get it. Whoever you are, wherever you are, go get it.”
“I felt a lot of emotions last night and into today; some sadness, some anger, some fear. But I’m also aware that those are the same emotions a lot of Trump supporters felt, emotions that led them to make their choice, and it would be wrong for me to think my emotions are somehow more authentic than their emotions,” he said. “We’re always better as a society when we have empathy for one another, so I would just like to say to those Trump voters, ‘Congratulations.'”
“I sincerely hope he addresses your concerns. I sincerely hope that if you felt forgotten, he won’t forget you now. As a white man, I also know that any emotions I’m feeling are likely a fraction of those being felt by the LGBTQ community, African Americans, Hispanic Americans, Muslim Americans and any number of immigrant communities so vital to our country.”
“Hopefully the Trump administration and Trump supporters will be compassionate to them, because they need your compassion. In general, I am hopeful for President Trump, because hope is always the best possible path to take. And one thing that makes me hopeful is that we know from interview’s he’s given over the years is that he has, at any given point, held every position on every issue. He’s been pro-choice, pro-life, for the Iraq war, against the Iraq war. Pretty much his only consistent position has been anti-Rosie O’Donnell.”
“I’m hopeful that he’s not actually a racist and that he just used racist rhetoric to court voters. Because when you’re courting someone, you’re always wiling to pretend you’re something you’re not. For example, when you first start dating someone, you’ll agree to go apple picking. You’ll take cute pictures, and maybe when you get home, you’ll bake a pie together,” he said. “But once you’re officially a couple, you’re not going apple picking anymore. When they ask you why, you say, ‘Because I hate apple picking.’ I was just pretending I liked it to trick you. And let me make it clear: I am in no way trying to say that racism is as bad as apple picking.”
“But again, I can’t stress how wrong I’ve been about the Trump campaign. Just to give you a sense of how wrong, this past June, when Trump was behind in the polls, we made him an offer that if he dropped out, NBC would give him a 13-episode show where he could play a fictional president,” Meyers joked. “Now, because the show is on NBC, it would have to be called Chicago President. And we thought he would jump at the opportunity because we thought he might not actually want to be president. Well, after last night’s results, I just want to say to Donald Trump, our offer still stands.”
“Come on. You didn’t think you were going to win this thing either, and I’m guessing that right now you are spinning out. You’re probably looking at a map of the United States and thinking, ‘Wait! How long does this wall have to be?’ And I can’t imagine the people you had to call this morning to say, ‘Hey, I guess Trump TV is on hold for now. Why? Because I have be the president!'” Meyers joked. “Not to mention the fact that you’re going to have to give Rudy Giuliani a job and then hang out with him, and I don’t have to tell you this: he is bats–t crazy.
“You’ll come up with something,” he told Trump. “Just tell people you have health issues and you can’t do the job, because for the last year, we’ve only seen you eating out of bowls and buckets—we will believe that. So, we are upping our offer to a 22-episode order and we’re giving you the coveted 10 p.m. Monday slot which means you’ll be on right after The Voice.”
“This offer stands until Inauguration Day,” Meyers added. “Think about it.”
“Democracy is a fantastic thing, even when it doesn’t go your way. It gives everyone in America a voice, and last night, those voices spoke,” he said. “So, I want to say to President-Elect Trump, congratulations. To [Melania Trump] and the new First Family, congratulations. And to Vladimir Putin and everyone in Russia, pozdravleniya. In closing, Donald Trump made a lot of promises as to what he’s going to do in the next four years, and now we get to see if he can fulfill them. I’d just like to make one promise to him: We here at Late Night will be watching you.”
Meanwhile, on ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel Live!, Kimmel walked viewers through the Five Stages of Grief. “A lot of voters woke up this morning happy that Donald Trump won the election,” he said. “But the other half of them—especially here in California—were very upset. People were shocked, despondent. Some were even crying. There was a lot of sorrow in the air today, and it’s natural. Everyone goes through this sort of thing at one point, and we’re not so different.”
“I thought it might be helpful to take you through what they call the five stages of grief. Now Stage 1 is, of course, denial. As in, ‘No, the host of Celebrity Apprentice is not our president! He can’t possibly be! CNN must have the map wrong! They must have missed a county or something! Wolf Blizter, please tell us you missed a county,'” Kimmel continued. “But of course Wolf didn’t miss a county—he’s Wolf. He doesn’t miss counties.”
“When denial passes, we move to Stage 2, which is anger,” Kimmel said. “‘Who do I blame for this? [Bernie Sanders] supporters? The FBI? Gary Johnson? Jill Stein? How is it possible that half the country was too busy to even vote? They all managed to play Pokémon Go, but…Then you go on Facebook and you curse at the uncle you used to love when you were a kid.”
Then comes Stage 3: bargaining. “‘Maybe this needed to happen to wake everyone up. Maybe this is a good thing. Maybe he’ll only build the wall waist-high to keep short people out.’ Search for a ray of light. That kind of thing. But then, depression sets in—Stage 4. This is where you get a spoon and you just start eating peanut butter right out of the jar,” Kimmel joked. ” You eat a whole box of Fruit Loops in bed and you just wallow in it until you reach Stage 5: acceptance.”
“No matter how you feel about it, Donald Trump is the president of the United States of America,” Kimmel told his viewers, “so thank God we legalized marijuana yesterday.”
Corden tried to keep it light in his monologue, too.
“What happened last night? I went to bed early. I did have the strangest dream, though. Just kidding. The presidential election happened last night, and the good news is that it’s over now and everyone agrees with the outcome. People who voted for Trump are happy today. People who voted for Hillary are disappointed,” he said. “But listen, no matter who you voted for, the important thing is, you all got stickers. It was a weird night—weird to be watching the news. If you were flipping around, every news anchor on every channel was just going, ‘Uhh.’ And then it would just go to commercial.”
“When Hillary Clinton found out she lost, she conceded with grace and dignity. When Gary Johnson found out he lost, he was like, ‘Wait, the election was yesterday?'” Corden laughed.
“Election Day was a roller coaster of emotions. Many Democrats spent yesterday saying, ‘Get out there and vote!’ And around 8 p.m. they were like, ‘Wait, I didn’t mean you!’ We realize this was a polarizing election, and emotions are running high. It’s fair to say the country is divided—literally,” Corden said. “The popular vote shows nearly a 50-50 split on both sides.”
“I’ve been thinking about this a lot, and realized last night that it’s almost two years ago when me and my wife told my son that we were going to be moving to America. He looked at us, and I’ll never forget. He said, ‘Daddy that’s great.’ He was 3 and a half, but somehow he knew this was a fantastic place to live. And we came, all as excited as each other to be here, because America represents so much to us and to the rest of the world. It’s a country of opportunity and diversity and hope, and that will never change. This is still the land of liberty,” Corden said. “It put people on the moon. It’s the Chicago Cubs. Michael Jordan. It’s the land of tacos. And, yes, tacos are Mexican, but that doesn’t mean they don’t belong here.”
“It’s been a really strange day—some people celebrating, some people drying their tears. And all of us reflecting on what has been the nastiest of election campaigns. Whoever you voted for last night Trump, Hillary, those other two, now is the time—more than ever—to remember our values. This country isn’t about one election result. This country is about the people who live here. It’s you. It’s how you treat one another. It’s the tone you set that will define who we are.”
“Treat people with love and respect. Go out and put your arm around someone,” he said on CBS’ The Late Late Show. “Even if you hate their politics, tell them that you care. If this country can unite together and work together, then you know what? We will remember America is great and always, always has been.”
Like Corden, O’Brien agreed that it was a “very strange” day indeed.
“Half the country is really happy. Half the country is somewhere between despondent and furious,” he said. “You may not know this about me, or you may: I’m a history buff. I love American history. And I was struck by one thought today: We have been here before. We have had bitter, angry elections for 200 years, whether is was Jefferson vs. Burr, Adams vs. Jackson, Lincoln vs. Douglas, Alien vs. Predator. I just threw that in—I’m trying to keep it light!”
“The point is, this is our thing, OK? And the optimist in me chooses today to be happy that we have fair and free elections at all. I think it’s an amazing thing. I really do. I mean that from my heart,” O’Brien continued. “In the last couple of years, I’ve traveled to bunch of countries—Cuba, Armenia, the Middle East—where the people would give anything—anything!—to have our system. In America, we get to choose who’s going to ruin our country. It’s up to us! We get to choose. Seriously. And it’s a privilege.”
O’Brien was moved by President Barack Obama and Clinton’s speeches about a “peaceful transfer of power” earlier that day. “It gave me chills. Now, today Americans have the right to feel happy, angry, pessimistic, optimistic, but everybody should feel grateful that we get to vote,” he said. “If we don’t get our way, we have the chance to try again. It is a beautiful thing.”
“Winston Churchill—one of my favorite people—once said, ‘Democracy is the worst form of government except for all those other forms that have been tried.’ It’s true,” he said. “Winston Churchill also said, ‘When healing a divided nation, always resort to cheap visual comedy.'”
“With that in mind, let’s bring out an old friend of ours,” O’Brien said, hoping to bring more levity to the situation. “This is silly and completely pointless, but he always cheers me up: the really tall dachshund. Let’s get the really tall dachshund out here. He just makes me happy. I love his posture. I love everything about the really tall dachshund, and I feel better already.”
In contrast, Bee’s jokes had an edge to them.
“How’s everybody doing? So great,” she asked sarcastically on TBS’ Full Frontal. “I’m still wearing the jacket, though. Tonight it sparkles ironically. And if haters want to call me a sad, liberal Liberace, tough titty, I said it first. So, how did everyone get this so spectacularly wrong? Pollsters, the media, the Keeping it 1600 nerds, us—what was the X factor that none of the forecasts accounted for?”
“OK, I have a confession to make. A few years ago, I appeared on a little show called Law & Order. Soon after it aired, the 20-season hit series was canceled, even though there were six people in New York who hadn’t yet appeared on it. And last year, I gave a tasteful interview in Playboy. The next day, Playboy canceled nudity. I guess I didn’t notice the pattern, because yesterday I voted in an American election for the first time and I broke America. I am so sorry!”
“And please don’t even think of writing something stupid like, ‘What a lucky break! A Trump presidency is for comedians! The jokes just write themselves!’ No, no, no! Shut up! Jokes don’t write themselves. Jews write jokes, and they are scared s–tless. Believe it or not, this isn’t a great day to be part of the most diverse staff in late-night,” Bee said. “They’re not in a very jokey mood. This is the script they handed me this morning right before vomiting on my shoes. You know, I don’t say this very often, but I should have hired more white dudes.”
“I mean, look at [Mathan Erhardt]. Best case scenario, he gets stopped and frisked daily. Worst case scenario, he gets erroneously deported. I mean, what kind of name is Mathan anyway?” she joked. “Look, this isn’t good for anyone. Our democracy just hocked up a marmalade hairball with the whole world watching. What we did was the democratic equivalent of installing an above ground pool. Even if we’re lucky and it doesn’t seep into our foundations, the neighbors will never look at us the same way again.”
“In the coming days, people will be looking for someone to blame: the pollsters, the strident feminists, the Democratic party, a vengeful god. But once you dust for fingerprints, it’s pretty clear who ruined America: White people. I guess ruining Brooklyn was just a dry run,” Bee said. “The Caucasian nation showed up in droves to vote for Trump, so I don’t want to hear a goddamn word about black voter turnout. How many times do we expect black people to build our country for us? White people, this is the worst thing we’ve ever…no, I’m sorry. That’s a very high bar. But holy s–t!”
“Don’t try to distance yourself from the bad apples and say, ‘It’s not my fault they didn’t vote for him #notallwhitepeople.” Shush!” Bee continued. “If Muslims have to take responsibility for every member of their community, so do we. Oh, that does feel awful. Yeah.”
“Sixty-three percent of white men said, ‘If I can’t be in charge, burn it down,’ which surprised exactly no one. And a majority of white women, faced with the historic choice between the first female president and a vial of weaponized testosterone said, ‘I’ll take option B. I just don’t like her.’ Oh, hope you got your sticker, ladies!” Bee joked. “Way to lean out.”
Before showing a compilation of clips of Trump supporters, Bee asked, “Did you not hear people of color begging you to not to legitimize this: ‘You don’t come and talk about America when you’re supporting Muslims.’ ‘Build the wall! F–k those dirty b–ners!’ ‘F–k Islam! God bless Donald Trump.’ ‘Bitch! F–k you, Hillary! Tramp!’ ‘Hang the bitch!’ ‘F–k that n—-r!’ ‘Get out of here, you f-g.’ ‘Seig heil.'”
To be fair, Bee said, “That was when they were behind in the polls, which can cause stress Tourette’s. Oh, I’m sure they’ll be gracious winners!”
Bee then aired footage of Corey Lewandowski berating Van Jones on CNN Tuesday to drive home her point.
“That is the gentle reasonable tone of a black man who knows it’s going to be illegal for him to raise his voice for the next four years,” Bee said. “I’d also like to congratulate the patriot in the pickup truck who ‘escorted’ one of my staffers on his walk to work this morning shouting, ‘Payback for Obama time! No more socialist Muslim!’ Oh, I think the healing has begun, guys. Trump himself, to his credit, struck a much more conciliatory tone than his Ringwraiths.”
Speaking of Trump, she said, “At least he was magnanimous in victory. It could be worse. Imagine a tie. No, don’t imagine it! Imagine my jacket! It sparkles. America is still a great country, and it is still worth fighting for. It has Shonda Rhimes shows and peanut butter and Beyoncé and Lin-Manuel Miranda rap-weeping at awards shows, and it has the beautiful U.S. Constitution—which we should probably start teaching in schools. We still get to take pride in the peaceful transfer of power.”
Bee then showed a clip from Clinton’s concession speech, in which she said, “And to all the little girls who are watching this, never doubt that you are valuable, and powerful, and deserving of every chance and opportunity in the world to pursue and achieve your own dreams.”
“If Ms. Rodham’s not in the White House, that’s OK,” Bee said. “One of those girls is going to be. We still have millions of nasty women who aren’t going away, and as long as women over 25 are still allowed on television, I’ll be here cheering them on—although, that may only be until late January.”
“Here’s some good news that you may not have noticed if you were busy comforting a sobbing child who thinks he’s going to get kicked out of America: The voters in Arizona decided racial profiler extraordinaire Joe Arpaio did not deserve a seventh term as sheriff. Ilhan Omar, whose political journey began in a Kenyan refugee camp, will America’s first Somali-American legislator. Catherine Cortez Masto will be the first Latina U.S. senator. Kamala Harris will be our first Indian senator and California’s first African American senator. Double milestone. And let’s hear it for Senator Tammy Duckworth. You may remember her from such debates as War Hero v. Racist.”
“Let’s get off the floor and get busy—especially you, white women,” Bee concluded. “We’ve got some karma to work off.”
Jimmy Fallon, The Tonight Show
Fallon was less political in his coverage of the election results.
“The big story is that America woke up this morning and was like, ‘Did I do that?'” he joked, showing a clip of Steve Urkel from Family Matters. “That’s right: Donald Trump is going to be president. Republicans hope he’ll keep his promise to build a wall, and Democrats hope he’ll keep his promise not to accept the election results.”
“After the results came in, Donald Trump gave a big victory speech. He said he couldn’t have done it without the love of his life, his rock, his better half: FBI director James Comey,” Fallon said on NBC’s The Tonight Show. “And President Obama called Donald Trump last night to congratulate him. He even invited him to the White House for a meeting tomorrow. Of course, it was hard to understand Obama, who was chewing 80 pieces of Nicorette.”
“This probably didn’t surprise a lot of people, but Trump also received congratulations from Russian president Vladimir Putin. They spent two minutes on the phone discussing politics and an hour saying, ‘No, you hang up.’ ‘No, you hang up.’ ‘No, you hang up.’ ‘No, you hang up.’ ‘No, you,'” Fallon continued. “Of course, this means that early next year Trump will be moving into the White House. He will be the first president who moves in and hangs up his own portrait.”
“Another big story to come out of last night was how bad the polling was,” he said. “The people who work in the polling industry said they’re going to go back and figure out what they did wrong, then present their findings at the Cleveland Browns Super Bowl Parade. Actually, I read the polls may have been off because the shift to cell phones made it harder to collect data from people. Hillary said, ‘You seemed to have a pretty easy time collecting data from my phone.'”
Colbert, who hosted an Election Night Special, returned to CBS’ The Late Show with a lot to say. “I am so glad to be with you tonight,” the told viewers. “I wouldn’t want to be alone right now.”
“Four years? We have four very interesting years in front of us. I don’t know about y’all—I did not get a lot of sleep last night. Walking around the streets of New York today, a lot of people—a little rough. You can see it in their eyes. There’s no way around it,” he said. “This is what it feels like when America’s made great again. I was wondering. I was really hoping it would feel better, because this sucks.”
“The unity thing might take a scotch longer than Trump was hoping for,” he added.
“Now, I just want to say, freedom of assembly, freedom of speech, First Amendment: the most important things we can do together. Don’t stop speaking up. Don’t stop speaking your mind. Don’t ever be cowed by what happens in the next four years,” Colbert implored. “But do keep in mind that for eighty years, a lot of people wouldn’t accept that Barack Obama was President of the United States. For instance, Donald Trump. But, like it or not, for the record: not. We have to accept that Donald Trump will be the 45th President of the United States.” Then, he said, “I just want to keep saying it until I can say it without throwing up in my mouth a little bit.”
“All day long I’ve had to remind myself, ‘Oh, yeah—this isn’t a dream. I’m not on ayahuasca tea or a bad peyote trip on the hunt of the great deer. This is real.’ Whatever the GOP is saying publicly today, I have a feeling they might be feeling the same way,” he said. “Because remember, the Republican Party spent almost the entirely of this election in panic trying to stop Donald Trump from being their nominee. And when they could not—surprise!—they won the presidency, both houses of congress and, soon, a new seat on the Supreme Court.”
“It’s like the GOP got caught in a plunging elevator and they all fell screaming 10 stories down, then landed gently to have the doors open to a candy store where everything is free. ‘What? For me? I can gobble up all your rights! Please, no more reproductive rights. I’m full. Thanks!'”
“In this metaphor,” Colbert said, “Donald Trump is Willy Wonka, who has been cross-bred with a carnivorous Oompa Loompa.”
“A lot of people were struggling this morning…with how to explain Trump’s victory to their kids,” he said. “How do we tell them? Well, I think this is one rare instance where we should look to the president-elect’s example last night: ‘Hillary has worked very long and very hard, over a long period of time, and we owe her a major debt of gratitude for her service to our country. I mean that very sincerely.’ So, just follow his lead and lie. Just tell your kids in a reassuring voice that Trump is going to be good, maybe. Maybe he’ll be different from how he was and always is.”
“Tell them anything. Tell them the new president is Elsa from Frozen,” he joked. “It’s the only way to get them to ‘let it go.’ I don’t know what to tell them. Tell them what you should always tell kids—work hard, be kind, care about other people, don’t be selfish, don’t grab them where they don’t want to be grabbed—and they’ll make the world a better place than Donald Trump can. I don’t think kids should really have to care about who the president is. They should care about coloring books and Legos and whether eating Pop Rocks and Coke will make your stomach explode. It totally will, by the way. And if your child asks the ultimate question—why do good things happen to bad people?—you finally have the answer: The Electoral College.”
“You know who’s really taking this strangely well? Hillary Clinton. Even though the possible first female president lost to a crotch-grabbing beauty pageant owner…how [is she] already accepting this? Did you pay extra for the FastPass through the five stages of grief? You know acceptance is last, right?” Colbert joked. “I think she’s got the card upside down or they’re shuffled up. You’ve got to go through every stage. The first three are easy to remember—denial, anger and bargaining—because that was Trump’s campaign strategy. Then, you’ve got depression, then acceptance, then dramatic haircut and rebound boyfriend.”
“But I can’t blame her. Everybody processes grief differently,” he said. “I hear Elizabeth Warren got a neck tattoo. Personally, I made it all the way to depression. Or as a great president once tweeted, ‘Sad.'”
Colbert ended his 16-minute monologue by having a very long talk with “God.”
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