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Late Night Tackles 2020
April 17, 2019

House Democrats were so mad the IRS blew past a deadline to turn over President Trump's tax returns, they "set a new deadline," Stephen Colbert sighed on Tuesday's Late Show. But "we did get to see a different cranky old man's taxes, because yesterday Bernie Sanders released 10 years of his tax returns," proving he's joined the 1 percent, he said. "Finally, now we can get the answers to all my Bernie-related financial controversies, like whether he writes off mothballs as a business expense or a snack?"

Also "last night, Sanders appeared at a Fox News town hall," and unexpectedly, he "dominated" the event, Colbert said. "Good for Bernie. It just goes to show that on Fox News, it doesn't matter if you're young or old, what matters is that you're old. Bernie's best moment came when Bret Baier asked the Fox town hall audience about 'government-run health insurance,'" and hands shot up across the room. "I look forward to his next gotcha question," he joked, suggesting one about sex and pizza. Still, "given Bernie's success at last night's town hall, Fox may need to rethink their position on capitalism. So look out for the latest Fox News anchors, Tucker Karls-Marx and Sean Hann-archy."

Bernie's Fox News town hall "did not please President Trump, who took a break from the emergency at the border" to slam "Crazy Bernie" and "smiley and nice" Brett Baier, Jimmy Kimmel noted on Kimmel Live. "He gets very jealous when his Fox makes other friends."

"And speaking of jealous," Kimmel said, "Vladimir Putin and Kim Jong Un are holding a summit in Russia next week — all of Trump's BFFs are hanging out without him. This will be the first meeting between Putin and Kim Jong Un. I guess Kim finally realized that if he wants to make a deal with America he has to go the top." Watch below. Peter Weber

April 11, 2019

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) "has become famous as the guy fighting against 'the millionaires and billionaires,'" Trevor Noah said on Wednesday's Daily Show. "But now he may have to have a conversation with the man in the mirror."

Yes, Sanders "has come out as a millionaire — and it's funny that he had to 'come out' as a millionaire," Noah said. "Like, I wonder if he came out to his family first. 'Guys, there's something I need to tell you: I'm actually rich.' And I bet his family was like: 'Oh, Bernie, we've known for years. We had a feeling when you started ordering appetizers, Bernie.'"

"Now obviously, for many people, this is a bit shocking," Noah said. "Because hating millionaires is Bernie's whole thing, you know? This is like finding out Donald Trump is secretly Mexican." Sanders isn't going to "change his core principle" because of his windfall, but "I do think it would be funny if we started picking up subtle changes," Noah said, demonstrating.

He also marveled at how close Hollywood came to correctly imagining what a black hole looks like and recreated the viral standoff between Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) as an awkward date. Watch below. Peter Weber

April 5, 2019

In 2016, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) was the insurgent revolutionary for the Democratic presidential nomination. On Thursday's Daily Show, Trevor Noah asked him how it's different entering this year's contest as a frontrunner. Four years ago his ideas were thought to be "radical," Sander said, but now they're "supported by a majority of the American people." "So then you're done — why run?" Noah joked. Sanders laughed and said someone needs to take on the "incredibly powerful establishment."

Noah asked how Sanders responds to concerns about old white men in a historically diverse field. "I believe the American people have to make that decision, nobody else makes it," Sanders replied. "You're not going to hear me disparaging other candidates," but it's "appropriate" to look at which candidates stood for progressive principals at what time. "You're basically saying people have jumped on but you're the O.G. of this idea," Noah translated.

Sanders said he's doing a town hall on Fox News because he was treated fairly by Fox News anchor "Britt" Baier in 2016, and "to me it is important to distinguish Fox News from the many millions of people who watch Fox News. And I think it is important to talk to those people and say, 'You know what, I know that many of you voted for Donald Trump, but he lied to you'" and "betrayed the working class." But Sanders isn't going into the situation blindly, he added. "Trust me, I know Fox News."

Noah brought up tax returns, suggesting in half-jest that since both Sanders and President Trump won't release them, "there's probably secrets on both sides. My theory is, Trump doesn't want us to know he's not a billionaire, and you don't want us to know that you are. So, are we going to see your tax returns?" "You sure are," Sanders said, laughing. "We will make them all public very shortly," sometime after April 15. Watch below. Peter Weber

April 4, 2019

Stacey Abrams won more votes than any Democratic gubernatorial candidate in Georgia history last fall, but she did not win and also has not conceded. Instead, she filed a lawsuit. "Five months later, do you still feel like your opponent won through voter suppression?" Stephen Colbert asked Abrams on Wednesday's Late Show. "Yes," she said.

"What now for Georgia?" Colbert asked. "So the lawsuit that I filed will not make me governor of Georgia, no matter how successful we are," Abrams explained. "The election is over; he is the governor, I am not. ... It is not about whether I won or lost, it is the fact that Georgia voters did not have their votes counted, they were not allowed to cast votes, they had their votes discarded."

Abrams explained that she is currently heading two projects: Fair Count, to make sure hard-to-count populations are included in the 2020 Census; and Fair Fight Action, working on voter suppression. "I believe our democracy is under attack and we have to stop voter suppression," she said. "It is real, it is pervasive, and it will destroy America if we don't stop it."

In her book Lead From the Outside, "you have an Excel spreadsheet of life goals," Colbert pointed out. "Is president still on that spreadsheet for you?" "It is," Abrams said. Colbert noted that the Democratic presidential field is already very crowded, and he asked if she'd like to make news on his show, one way or another. "There is absolutely no news I would like to make this evening," she said. He laughed and brought up the romance novels she wrote under a pen name years ago. "I've got a little excerpt here," he said. "Oh, dear God," Abrams said. Some of the bodice-ripper did not get past CBS's censors, but he did read a small bit, and you can watch that below. Peter Weber

April 2, 2019

Former Vice President Joe Biden is the frontrunner for the Democratic nomination, even though he isn't officially running yet, Trevor Noah said on Monday's Daily Show. Currently, Biden is "putting out feelers to see where he stands, and apparently the answer is: Too close to women." The allegation by former Nevada lawmaker Lucy Flores that Biden smelled then kissed her hair before a fundraiser may not be sexual in nature, but "it clearly made her uncomfortable, and it's definitely not okay — I mean, smelling hair is always weird," Noah said. "Honestly, smelling hair is one of the creepiest things you can do. It's on the list of creepy things; it's right after collecting doll parts and sneezing with your eyes open."

Noah also found the alleged "slow kiss" on the top of Flores' head — and slow kisses in general — super creepy, and he wasn't buying dismissals of a second allegation from a woman who said Biden rubbed noses with her in 2009. "Medically speaking, the nose is the penis of the face," he said, explaining why in arguably persuasive but decidedly non-medical terms.

"So now, because of sniff-kiss-gate, Biden's campaign might be over before it even starts," Noah said. "And people are freaking out, because if he doesn't run, the Democrats would only have 16 candidates to choose from, and only six of them would be white guys — an absolute disaster. But Biden isn't ready to give up, my friends. No, he's gently grabbing this scandal by the shoulders and he's doing damage control." Biden's statement was good, he added, but he could see how the follow-through might very quickly go wrong. Watch below. Peter Weber

March 28, 2019

Pete Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Indiana, is getting a surprisng amount of attention in his run for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination. And people have a lot of questions. The first one? "How do you pronounce this guy's name?" Trevor Noah said on Wednesday's Daily Show. "It's pronounced Pete — it's like 'peaches,' but you just stop. ... Oh, and as for his last name, we're still figuring that one out." He settled on "Mayor Pete," or if you need to go further, "it's Boot-eh-zhej. But now that we're all on the same page on how to say his name, what has he done?" A lot, especially for a man of 37.

"I can see why people are impressed by Buttigieg," Noah said. "He has such a unique bio: He's a veteran, a Harvard graduate, and a Rhodes Scholar who's openly gay and also so young that if he served two terms as president, when he came out he would still only be 46. Plus, he's a concert pianist and speaks seven languages, including Norwegian, which he learned just so that he could read Norwegian books. Compare that to America's current president, who has read zero books and is fluent in zero languages."

Buttigieg has also done impressive things as mayor, and he talks eloquently about how his young age is an asset. "Now, if you're watching this going, 'Trevor, why are you only showing us the positive things about Pete Buttigieg?' Because that's all we could find, all right?" Noah said. "No, I'm being serious. There's no dirt on this guy. Like, nothing." He found that a little suspicious and even alarming, but said it's nothing a little blackface couldn't fix. Watch below. Peter Weber

March 21, 2019

The Democratic presidential field is large and growing, and The Late Show tried to break it down Wednesday with a March Madness bracket.

With 2020 slowly approaching, "the Democrats have narrowed their choices down to everyone," Stephen Colbert said in his monologue. There are so many candidates running that those "without a signature hair style, they've been experimenting with signature issues." Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), for example, wants to eliminate the Electoral College. The audience at Warren's town hall loved the idea, Colbert said, "but come on, if you get rid of the Electoral College, you turn the election into some kind of popularity contest."

Joe Biden, meanwhile, "still needs something to stand out," Colbert said. "One option he's reportedly considering is actually running for president. Another is selecting a running mate early. It is adorable that Joe Biden thinks the thing everyone really cares about is who the vice president is gonna be." And Andrew Yang has found his issue, he said, taking "a public stand that he wants to keep male genitals intact. I can see the yard sings now: Andrew Yang for a Better Wang."

"If you're having trouble keeping track of everyone in this guess-who game of candidates, don't worry, we are here to break it down for you," Samantha Bee said on Full Frontal. Pete Buttigieg, for example, would "seem like a great candidate, but his own husband has revealed something incredibly damning: Pete Buttigieg is a Hufflepuff," she said. "Listen, no one wants to be a Hufflepuff. ... All Hufflepuffs are narcs."

Of the 16 candidates, "15 will lose while one, let's be honest, will also probably lose and we'll be stuck with this toilet monster for another four years," Bee said. "So tonight, I'm announcing that I, too, am running ... far away, because this campaign is already exhausting and it makes me want to hide in a hole." There's some NSFW language. Watch below. Peter Weber

March 15, 2019

"That's right, Beto O'Rourke is officially in the race" for the Democratic nomination, Trevor Noah said on Thursday's Daily Show. "And a lot of people are wondering: 'Why is Beto even running for president when he couldn't even beat Ted Cruz? I mean, he lost.' And I'm like, yeah, he lost, but he lost by a little bit, which is what people love. It's like Rocky or Cool Runnings or Bad News Bears. You see, humans are weird. If you win easily, people hate you — like Tom Brady. And if you lose by too much, we just think you suck. But if you lose by just a little bit, people are like, 'That's my guy!'"

"The big question whenever a new Democrat enters the race is: How is [President] Trump going to bully them?" Noah said. "And with Beto, the president wasted no time" — and he had a point. "Seriously, have you seen how much Beto O'Rourke uses his hands?" he asked. "That being said, Trump is the last person to mock someone for overusing their hands. I mean, every single Trump speech looks like he's conducting every orchestra in the world at the same time."

Some of the things Beto has been saying are also "a little weird," Seth Meyers said on Late Night. "In the run-up to 2020, we at Late Night, we're going to try really hard and we're going to ask ourselves: Would we make fun of Donald Trump if he said that?" So he read the Beto quote in Trump voice. "Yeah, no, Beto, that was [bleep] weird."

"And yet, as weird as Beto's launch has been so far, as always, Trump and his allies on Fox News have found a way to out-weird him," Meyers said. He showed Trump's dig, laughing: "I'm sorry, are you accusing someone else of having weird hand movements and acting crazy? Every time you do a press conference you look like you're playing an invisible accordion."

At The Tonight Show, Jimmy Fallon rolled out his Beto impersonation, and he seemed to find Trump's hand-gesture critique a source of inspiration. Watch below. Peter Weber

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