Stephen Colbert is no stranger to mocking and satirizing the political elite—it was his job for nine years on The Colbert Report, and he’s memorably taken some fearless jabs at the most intimidating political figure in the nation while standing in the same room as him: President George W. Bush at the 2006 White House Correspondent’s Dinner. Now the controversial, oft-maligned Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has fallen prey to Colbert’s cutting remarks on the latest installment of The Late Show, which the comedy veteran and Daily Show alumnus has hosted since late last year.
The Late Show announced last month that it would be broadcasting live for two weeks in July following each night of the Republican and Democratic National Conventions, and the first episode, filmed live from Cleveland, aired last night after the RNC wrapped for the day. The show opened with an extravagant, choreographed, pre-taped musical number, led by Colbert himself as he strolled the hallowed halls of Cleveland’s Quicken Loans Arena, belting out lines like: “This week, you and me, we will witness history / As the R.N.C. crowns their orange manatee.”
In an undeniably ballsy move, even for him, Colbert had crashed the RNC stage the day before, on the inaugural day of the convention—in full costume as Caesar Flickerman from The Hunger Games, no less, complete with blue eyebrows and bulbous wig—and hijacked the mic to say, “I’m not supposed to be here, but let’s be honest, neither is Donald Trump. He has formed an alliance with Indiana Governor Mike Pence. ... It is my honor to hereby launch and begin the 2016 Republican National Hungry for Power Games.” The costumed host was hauled offstage soon after by a security guard, but not after the moment was captured on video by an audience member.
Meanwhile, on The Late Show last night, Colbert brought back his satirical Colbert Report character “Stephen Colbert,” making an absurdly American entrance and addressing viewers with “Hello nation. Did you miss me? I know I did.” He then launched into a biting live monologue, ripping into Trump and his new running-mate, Indiana governor Mike Pence, following their excruciating 60 Minutes interview this past Sunday, as well as deriding several choice moments from the convention thus far. Colbert also brought back a fan-favorite sketch from his Colbert Report days, “The Word,” putting a twist on the term he famously coined, “truthiness,” resulting in “Trumpiness.” “Right now, Americans are angry, confused and lashing out randomly … and that’s just the Republican nominee,” Colbert riffed at the opening of the segment. “This is just the brave new world of American democrac-me.”
Another familiar face made a surprise appearance during last night’s episode: none other than Jon Stewart, of course a longtime collaborator of Colbert’s, who worked extensively with the host back on The Daily Show and now serves as an executive producer on The Late Show. “How did Donald Trump get the nomination?” Colbert asks earnestly. “I know I can’t explain it. But I think that I know somebody that might be able to.”
The camera then pans to a dense forest, where Colbert comes across an isolated cabin in the middle of the woods. Out comes Stewart with a 5 o’clock shadow and a loosely-tied bathrobe, clearly out of touch with the current political landscape, having supposedly put his days as an irreverent political comedian far behind him. Upon learning Donald Trump is the Republican nominee for 2016’s presidential election, he thoroughly douses Colbert’s face with an impressive spit-take. “Mike Tyson’s business advisor? That guy?” Stewart asks in disbelief.
Check out the clip below, and stay tuned tonight for another installment of The Late Show’s coverage of the RNC.