With James Comey’s testimony sucking up all the news oxygen this week, late-night hosts had plenty to work with as they broke the event down on June 8. But since our time on this planet is finite — and getting more finite with every passing day — we’ve picked three of the best moments from last night’s late-night offerings as some of the nation’s most prominent court jesters reacted to the FBI director’s showdown with the Senate.
1) Trevor Noah wanted more
While The Daily Show host opened his show with a quick reminder for his audience to “acknowledge how batshit crazy this all is,” Noah’s monologue also took pains to point out that Comey’s testimony was neither as vague as Republicans might have wanted nor as damning as Democrats undoubtedly hoped.
“C’mon Comey!” Noah said. “We didn’t come here to appropriately see you differentiate your investigative role from the legally separate role of prosecutorial judgment!”
And the dampest blanket Comey threw on the potential fireworks, Noah said, was how he gave all the committee’s biggest and juiciest questions a version of the same answer: “That’s not a question I can answer in open session.”
“Then what the hell are we watching the open session for?!” Noah said in exasperation, as his studio audience applauded.
“I mean, today’s hearing was cool and everything,” Noah continued, “but basically, it was like listening to a clean version of a hip-hop song. It felt like we missed all the explicit parts!”
At this point, Noah launched into what that might sound like — and since there’s absolutely no way we can recreate its stuttering magnificence in writing, you can (and should!) watch it for yourself. It’s nine and a half minutes into the above monologue.
2) Seth Meyers took A Closer Look by taking a step back
For a wonkier look at the day’s politics that still has an edge, there’s no better late-night host to turn to than Late Night’s Seth Meyers, who frequently devotes a full 10 minutes of his show to taking “A Closer Look” at the day’s news. The one he pulled out last night for the Comey testimony considered the big picture more than any of his late-night peers. It covered everything from Paul Ryan insisting that Trump just needs time to figure out what he’s actually doing, to Republican hypocrisy on dismissing Comey as a liar when they pilloried Hillary Clinton’s campaign for doing the same last fall, to the idea that the Trump administration has shattered our shared capacity for shock.
“If it didn't feel like there were any new bombshells today, that's because we were surrounded by previous bombshells,” Meyers pointed out. “Our capacity to be shocked has already been so worn down by the Trump presidency, he’s like your druggie cousin who can no longer surprise you. ‘Kevin traded Aunt Janet’s cat for Robitussin!’ ‘Uh huh.’”
3) John Mulaney explains to Colbert why Trump’s like “a horse loose in a hospital”
Colbert’s monologue about the hearing (“Guess Who’s Comey to Dinner?”) was typically savage at the president’s expense. But he’s been breathing fire for months now, so his material on Comey didn’t feel more sharp than usual for this extraordinary occasion. (Though he did get a good, heavily sarcastic jab in about how Comey suspecting that Trump “might lie” was “some razor-sharp FBI instinct.”)
So instead, we’re gonna throw you a curveball and direct you to Colbert’s interview with John Mulaney, the very funny comic who makes up one half of Broadway’s Oh, Hello and is so unfailingly earnest that it’s hard not to smile just looking at him and his jaunty flowered tie. And Mulaney insisted on his own optimism even as Colbert pressed him to share his thoughts on the current shitstorm that is American politics, likening President Trump to “a horse loose in a hospital.” (That part starts around 7:30 in the following video.)
“I think everything’s going to be okay,” Mulaney went on as Colbert blinked in confused amusement, “but I have no idea what’s going to happen.”
Underlining the absurdity of where politics are, Mulaney joked that “we have people on the news saying, ‘I once saw a bird in an airport’ and it’s just like, ‘get the hell out of here, this a horse loose in a hospital.’ It’s not good!”
A ridiculous simile? Sure. But at this point, it also feels about right.