Stephen Colbert has had no qualms about routinely using his Late Show monologues to call President Donald Trump cruel and inept ever since Trump was elected. But when Trump tweeted a confusing call over the weekend for late-night hosts to give him “equal time” — perhaps a clumsy reference to the Federal Communications Commission’s “equal time” rules for campaigns, but more likely a stray musing he tweeted without thinking through the logistics — Colbert couldn’t help but accept the challenge. What would it look like for his show to balance its relentless mocking with, say, more complimentary commentary?
Colbert decided to find out by punting the “compliment Trump” duty to another comedian — who turned out to be his former Comedy Central colleague and longtime Trump unenthusiast Jon Stewart.
Sporting his now signature post-Daily Show retirement beard, a wide-eyed Stewart blinked in front of a mic as Colbert teed up opportunities for Stewart to counteract his merciless jokes.
“Donald Trump thinks we should give him equal time on a comedy show, even though the election is over,” Colbert began. “Kind of like if The Big Bang Theory was immediately followed by The Creationist Bazinga Funtime Hour, starring Jesus and his roommate, a T. rex.”
In response, Stewart offered up blind panic and an extended silence, finally choking out, “Donald Trump ... is not ... a cannibal.”
It will not surprise you to learn that this bit didn’t last very long, as Stewart’s resolve dissolved almost immediately. The clincher came when Colbert reminded him of Trump’s ominous promise that we might currently be experiencing “the calm before the storm,” to which Stewart sputtered, “How is this not the storm?!”
You can watch the full clip above.