Returning for his first Late Show of 2018, Stephen Colbert taped too late to take on the fact that Donald Trump spent his afternoon playing a literal game of nuclear “mine’s bigger than yours” with fellow sociopathic, egomaniacal world leader Kim Jong-un. Instead, Colbert’s monologue had to make do with catching up on Trump’s equally tetchy and juvenile (if less potentially radioactive) tweet-dump from earlier in the day. For those breaking in their 2018 Trump Twitter nonsense journal, today Trump: claimed personal credit for airline safety; attacked the media with a proposed “fake news” awards show; called for the jailing of political opponents; and implied his own Justice Department—the very people he wanted to carry out a dictatorial purge of his political opponents—were, in fact part of a “deep state” conspiracy against him. Calling Trump’s most recent social media rants the sort of things you can “never take lightly, and never, ever take back,” Colbert expertly held for a long moment before laughing, “Just kidding.” (White House spokes-fabulist Sarah Huckabee Sanders indeed rushed out later in the day to deny that that whole “deep state” thing was the president calling his own intelligence personnel the “deep state,” despite him calling them the “deep state,” in writing.)
So, already a full day without the loose-lipped schoolyard taunts of atomic armageddon. There’s always tomorrow night. And none of that took in the fact that Iran—another unfriendly-to-America government with nuclear ambitions—is undergoing its largest popular upheaval since 2009's “Green Revolution,” a delicate and complex diplomatic situation that calls for nothing but the measured, informed, and thoughtful statesmanship of Donald John Trump.
Just kidding. At least that’s the point taken by Colbert’s second guest of the evening, Middle Eastern-American comedian and actor Maz Jobrani. Enumerating the three reasons why he doesn’t want Trump to chime in on the Iran situation, the Iranian-born Jobrani, Superior Donuts star, and “fellow CBS-ian,” according to Colbert, made a compelling case that, unlike Trump’s self-proclaimed ability to keep aircraft aloft, any efforts to aid the Iranian people would likely crash and burn. Apart from the fact, as Jobrani put it bluntly, “I don’t like him,” the actor explained that, through his three (and counting) court-blocked travel/Muslim bans, Trump has proven himself anything but “a friend to the Iranian people.” Jobrani also noted that this “nuanced situation,” where any ill-considered, culturally illiterate statement from an American president could be used as pretext for a crackdown against “outside influences,” is a place for someone who doesn’t—just to pick a crazy example—insult other world leaders with unimaginatively childish nicknames. “I don’t know if you’ve noticed,” Jobrani deadpanned, “but...”