Late Night Tackles 2020
February 1, 2019

Jimmy Fallon added a new impersonation to his impressive collection on Thursday's Tonight Show, cutting a 2020 presidential rollout video as former Starbucks chairman and CEO Howard Schultz. Yes, there are Starbucks jokes. "Over the past few months, I've traveled all across this great nation, speaking to everyday Americans and hearing what they had to say," Fallon's Schultz said. "Mostly they say things like, 'Please, for the love of God, don't run for president! Why on Earth would you do this?' But just like a true Starbucks barista, I didn't hear the words properly. To me, it sounded like: 'That's a great idea, you should really run for president.'"

Schultz vowed to "pay off our national debt using the $12 trillion I've collected selling Norah Jones CDs," and earnestly laid out a five-point plan, including such crowd-pleasers as "record a longer version of the 'Baby Shark' song." He did show some emotion at the end, though, in a manner any barista would recognize.

Seth Meyers was a little more direct in his critique of Schultz's run on Thursday's Late Night, though he, too, had some Starbucks jokes. Instead of laying out his "centrist independent" policies, "Schultz has been attacking Democrats," he said. "And so far, the rollout has been a disaster." That's partly because "there is virtually no appetite for a billionaire businessman to run for president right now," Meyers said. "I guess somebody really put a stink on that genre. Running like a billionaire now is like saying, 'We should do a music festival with Ja Rule on an island!'"

"If Schultz doesn't like the current Democratic field, he could just run against them in a Democratic primary," he argued. "But he wants to bypass the process because he thinks he's entitled to it. That's right, the guy who ran Starbucks doesn't want to wait in line." Watch below. Peter Weber

January 29, 2019

Former Starbucks Chairman and CEO Howard Schultz just announced he "could be running for president in 2020 — or as they call it at Starbucks, Venti-Venti," Stephen Colbert joked on Monday's Late Show. He wasn't impressed with "centrist independent" Schultz's campaign logo. "Is he running for president or launching a daytime talk show?" Colbert asked. "Also, it's clear Howard Schultz hasn't been to a Starbucks lately, or else that handwriting would read 'Horsefurt Shlutz.'"

"Democrats have their own concerns: Schultz could siphon off Democratic votes and hand Trump a second term," Colbert said, "and Trump knows it, taunting" him to run, calling him dumb, and bragging about the Starbucks in Trump Tower. "Fun fact: Their coffee is Trump's only black tenant," he quipped. "I've got to say to all the billionaires threatening to run for president: No thanks, we're too full for seconds. Billionaires, you need to find new hobbies! Can't Richard Branson just build a day camp for these guys to keep them off the streets?"

Until Schultz threw his "grande wrench in the works," the 2020 election shaping up to be a simple contest, Trevor Noah said at The Daily Show. "I don't know if this is his plan or not, but after hearing him speak, now I need a coffee." If Schultz does run, "it would be Mr. Pumpkin Spice Latte taking on an actual pumpkin spice latte," he joked, adding: "If I was a Democrat, I wouldn't worry about the Starbucks CEO running against me because you know he's probably going to spell his name wrong on the ballot." Noah shifted to another billionaire "with nothing better to do than ruin everyone's life," Mark Zuckerberg, and his "junk idea" to combine Facebook Messenger, Instagram, and WhatsApp.

MSNBC's Steve Kornacki noted Monday that it's really not clear if Schultz would help or hurt Trump, and there's a chance he wouldn't really affect the 2020 race at all. Peter Weber

January 24, 2019

Samantha Bee kicked off Wednesday's Full Frontal with a nod to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi shutting down President Trump's State of the Union speech until the government is re-opened. "Dude, I know it's driving you crazy that a woman turned you down, but this is the point in your life where you're actually going to have to learn that no means no," she said.

Bee spent most of her opening act on the government shutdown, its dire consequences, and the leading role of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.). "Senate Republicans don't give a s--t about the wall, they're only keeping the government shut because that's what the president wants — it's the same reason they changed our national bird to the chicken nugget," she joked. "Look, we know that governing involves compromise, but how can Democrats possibly compromise with the least-trustworthy man in history?" She elaborately compared giving Trump wall money to investing in the Fyre Festival.

"The 2020 election is already in full swing, and the future is looking female," Bee said in her second act. "There are several exciting women running for president, and also Tulsi Gabbard," and "now that there are so many ladies running, maybe we can stop talking about the tone or volume of their voice, their outfits, or their marriages, and instead judge them based on their ideas and experience — I'm just joking," she said, laughing darkly. "No, it's going to be a total nightmare."

Bee gave some examples of how the media is already focusing on the wrong things with women candidates. Meanwhile, the Democratic "men don't have to worry about this crap — I mean, Jesus, they barely need to worry about being Democrats," she said. "We are not off to a good start. When we frame women candidates like this right off the bat, it becomes impossible to actually discuss them with nuance down the line." There's NSFW language throughout. Peter Weber

December 5, 2018

It emerged Tuesday that Rep. Beto O'Rourke (D-Texas) met with former President Barack Obama last month, as O'Rourke considers throwing his hat in the ring for the 2020 presidential nomination, and former Vice President Joe Biden said Monday night he thinks he's "the most qualified person in the country to be president." Yes, "the next presidential election is 700 days away from today, and everyone is trying to figure out who the Democrats will run," Jimmy Kimmel said on Tuesday's Kimmel Live. A new Harvard-Harris poll has the earlier frontrunners as Biden, O'Rourke, and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) — or as Kimmel put it, "two old men and a baby."

"Biden, Bernie, and Beto are the frontrunners, in that order," Kimmel said, adding that Biden, Bernie, and Beto also "sounds like the law firm that would represent Kermit the Frog in his divorce from Miss Piggy." Biden and Sanders "have huge support from one of the left's key demographics, which is old men who fall asleep in movie theaters," Kimmel joked, and he found one to talk to, Mort Haskell (Fred Willard). Biden and Bernie were on the younger end of Haskell's candidate pool. Willard also played Gary Davis, president of the American Tuna Association, and you can watch him explain to Kimmel why millennials don't like canned tuna.

At Late Night, Amber Ruffin rooted for Mr. T to take on the self-styled "President T" in 2020. Watch below. Peter Weber

October 16, 2018

On Monday, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) released a DNA test showing she almost certainly has some distant Native America ancestry, as her family has long recounted in lore. "Now, some people don't believe that, and his name is Donald Trump." Stephen Colbert said on Monday's Late Show. He played some of President Trump's "Pocahontas" taunts, including the time he said he used the slur with affection. "See, it may be racist, but it's affectionate, because Trump has great affection for racism," Colbert joked.

Warren is pushing back with her "fact squad," and Colbert laughed. "You know you're a Democratic Harvard professor when that's the toughest name you could think of. Was 'dork brigade' taken?" Anyway, on Monday, the "fact squad" released the DNA test and accompanying video tackling the Native American ancestry question head-on. "You heard them right: This test accurately reveals, with a high confidence, that Elizabeth Warren is running for president," Colbert deadpanned. Trump shrugged off the results, asking, "Who cares?" "You care!" Colbert said. "You're literally the only person who cares."

Trump cares so much he once offered $1 million to Warren's favorite charity if she proved she was part Native American, predicting she'd refuse the offer. "Well, Mr. President, she didn't say no, she said yes — but rumor has it you don't know the difference," Colbert said. In any case, when reporters confronted Trump with his $1 million pledge, he first denied it, then "chickened out."

Trump also denied on 60 Minutes on Sunday night that he's a denier — of climate change, of North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un's brutality, of being a baby. Colbert puckishly found that last denial plausible: "Yes, he's not a baby, because a baby wets his own bed."

Colbert had his own questions for Trump, so he stepped into the 60 Minutes interview and got the answers he wanted — and gave not-baby Trump the pink baby blanket he apparently needed. Watch below. Peter Weber

January 9, 2018

"Did anyone here see last night's episode of Oprah?" Stephen Colbert asked on Monday's Late Show. "Now, some people are calling it the Golden Globes," but Oprah Winfrey's speech clearly stole the show. "People were immediately calling that speech presidential — and a year ago, I would have agreed," he said. "These days, it played a little coherent."

There are upsides to the idea of a President Oprah, but "I offer a note of caution," Colbert said: "Do we really want to elect another billionaire TV star? Granted, this one is actually a billionaire and actually a TV star." But Oprah seems reasonable enough to consider that "being a billionaire TV star doesn't necessarily qualify you to have the launch codes," he added. "Then again, if we ever did go toe-to-toe with North Korea, I believe she could calm Kim Jong Un down just by helping him lose weight." Even Trump thinks Oprah belongs in the White House, he noted, though Trump was "delusional" enough back in 1999 to believe she would agree to be his vice president.

Fire and Fury author Michael Wolff was on Monday's Late Show, and his tell-all about the Trump White House "is just packed with nuggets of ohmygod," Colbert said. "If you have not read it yet, here are the CliffsNotes: Trump dumb, staff worried." The book has stirred new doubts about Trump's fitness to be president, "but on Saturday, Trump slapped back the notion that he's incompetent" with a series of tweets that raised new doubts of their own, Colbert said. He had a fine time reading through them.

The main source for Wolff's book was Stephen Bannon, who savaged Trump and his family. "But after getting attacked by the president and threatened with losing his job, he folded like an origami cuck," Colbert said, noting that his apology to Trump and his family (not accepted) was less than comprehensive. Watch below. Peter Weber

January 9, 2018

Most of the celebrity women at Sunday's Golden Globes wore black dresses, "like they were at at Tim Burton–themed quinceañera," Jordan Klepper said on Monday's The Opposition. The actresses were raising awareness of sexual misconduct and raising money to combat it, "but this girl power was hiding something much more sinister: trying to put a girl into power," Klepper said. "Because last night saw the rise of a new liberal presidential candidate: Oprah."

"If you had any doubts that Oprah was indeed declaring her candidacy, look at what the MSM wouldn't show you," Klepper deadpanned. "If you zoom out, you'll see the truth, that she gave her speech from an escalator." He showed his viewers the doctored video the mainstream media apparently suppressed. "We can't ignore this threat to Trump in 2020 — I mean 'Win' is Oprah Frey's middle name!" he added, listing some of the "scandals" that could dog Winfrey. "Plus, if Oprah takes office, she'll start saying to America, 'You get a health care! You get a health care! You get a health care! You get a health care!'" Klepper protested. "She's the ultimate handout president."

Ultimately, he said, "Oprah is unqualified," and to prove it, he showed what might be the first "Noprah 2020" ad, making a convincing case that "America doesn't want a wealthy, inexperienced TV star in the Oval Office — seriously. That would be a train wreck." Watch below. Peter Weber

December 6, 2016

The last time Vice President Joe Biden was on Stephen Colbert's Late Show, he had not yet decided to sit out the 2016 Democratic primary, and on Tuesday, Colbert asked Biden about his stated regrets. Colbert added that his specific regret that Biden did not run hit on Nov. 9, when Donald Trump won the presidential election.

"Let me be clear about the regret," Biden said. "I know I made the right decision for my family, I know I made the right decision. I'm not sure I would have been able to put my whole heart into it. But what I regret is the circumstance that [left] me not able to run," the death of his son, Beau. He said he did think he was the person best prepared to lead the country, but "the decision was the right decision for me to have made — and by the way, you know, I learned, you want to become the most popular guy in America? Announce you're not running. Announce you're not running, and boy, everything moves in a direction. So who the heck knows what would have happened if I'd run."

Colbert pointed out that Biden had just the day before said he is thinking about running for president in 2020, because, as he told a reporter, "What the hell, man." "I did that for one reason," Biden joked: "So I can announce now that I'm not running and be popular again." "So there's no way — you didn't mean that?" Colbert asked. "What the hell, vice president?" "I'm a great respecter of fate," Biden said. "I don't plan on running again, but to say you know what's going to happen in four years, I just think, is not rational." "That is the sound of a door creaking open," Colbert said, and Biden clarified: "I mean I can't see the circumstances in which I'd run, but what I've learned a long, long time ago, Stephen, is to never say never. You don't know what's going to happen. I mean, hell, Donald Trump's going to be 74, I'll be 77, in better shape, I mean what the hell?" So the presidential debates would definitively include an arm-wrestling section. Watch below. Peter Weber

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