By Josiah Martin | Staff Writer
On the night of and day after the 2016 presidential election, late night television hosts, almost all of whom had predicted or hoped for a Hillary Clinton victory, offered some closing thoughts on the campaign and a look toward the future of our country. Let’s take a look at the words of a few of these personalities.
Stephen Colbert, host of “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert,” did a live show on the premium cable channel Showtime, as opposed to his regular home of CBS, in order to make room for live election coverage on the latter network. As the final results started to roll in, Colbert stood up behind his desk and spoke about how politically divided the nation had become.
“So how did our politics get so poisonous?” Colbert asked. “I think it’s ‘cause we overdosed, especially this year. We drank to much of the poison. You take a little bit of it so you can hate the other side, and it tastes kind of good…”
One of Trump’s most vocal critics, Seth Meyers, host of NBC’s “Late Night with Seth Meyers,” sent out a message to whomever the first female president of the United States may be, the night after Hillary had lost her chance at such a distinction.
“[F]irst is so much better than second. That is the difference between George Washington and John Adams. You either end up on money, or Paul Giamatti plays you in a movie. So go, go get it,” Meyers said.
He further stated, with tears in his eyes, that he hopes his mother, also named Hillary, lives to see a female president.
Conan O’Brien, host of “Conan” on TBS, graduated from Harvard University with a bachelor’s degree in American History. Appropriately, he added some historical context: “We have been here before. We have had bitter, angry elections for 200 years, whether it was Jefferson versus Burr, Adams versus Jackson, Lincoln versus Douglas, Alien versus Predator. […] The point is, this is our thing, okay? And the optimist in me chooses today to be happy that we have fair and free elections at all.” O’Brien referenced his show’s several international episodes, saying that some of the countries he has visited would give anything to have free elections.
Trevor Noah, host of Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show,” ended his election night special on a serious tone. He encouraged his viewers to remain optimistic and to avoid feeling afraid, because “[Fear] is the thing that Donald Trump has used to get his side to do something that they never should have.” Trevor Noah and correspondent Roy Wood Jr. were visibly distraught by the results, as both have been critical of Trump’s proposed policies over the course of the campaign.
Samantha Bee, host of “Full Frontal with Samantha Bee” on TBS, offered perhaps the most furious post-election comments. Bee takes pride in “Full Frontal’s” diverse writing staff, and showed concern for their future under a Trump presidency. After stating that the country will be looking for someone to hold accountable for Trump’s election, Bee said “[O]nce you dust for fingerprints, it’s pretty clear who ruined America: white people,” a reference to Trump’s victory over both the male and female white vote.
The last late-night personality to chime in, on Sunday night, was John Oliver, host of HBO’s “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver.” Oliver made no attempt to cast a positive light on the results of the election, stating, “yes, the sun will rise each day, but the continuing rotation of the earth should not be your baseline expectation of American society.” He urged viewers not to grow used to Trump’s actions and behavior, saying that “a Klan-backed, misogynist internet troll is going to be delivering the next state of the union address. And that’s not normal. It’s f——d up.”
As late-night monologues and news-format shows like “Last Week Tonight” and “The Daily Show” become a regular source of news for a lot of Americans, the aforementioned personalities will undoubtedly have plenty more to say about Trump’s upcoming presidency.