All you can do is laugh, right? You know, when a U.S. Senate contest comes down to a choice between a Democrat (Doug Jones) whose legal career includes prosecuting the klansmen responsible for the 1963 Birmingham 16th Street Baptist Church bombing, and a twice fired Republican former judge (Roy Moore) who’s a noted “birther,” homophobe, anti-Muslim bigot, and—oh yeah—is now accused of being a serial pedophile. And when the upcoming special election race is rated a dead heat. And when polls show a significant number of Alabama Republicans and evangelical Christians are more likely to vote Team Underage since the Washington Post report on Moore’s thoroughly documented history of predation against girls came out. With all these facts and more out there staring reality, and decency, and sanity in the kisser, and Moore defiantly aping Donald Trump’s “fake news” catchphrase instead of being chased out of Alabama like a, well, racist pedophile, all the late night comedy hosts could do on Tuesday is lay out the facts, make the harshest jokes they could at the whole Republican Party shitshow, and laugh.
On The Jim Jefferies Show, notoriously cheeky Aussie Jefferies had the early time slot, and he came out harsh. Jeffries’ signature comic disgust at stupidity and hypocrisy of all stripes zeroed in on Alabama voters whose blind devotion to Moore’s ultra-conservative views over a seemingly not-sleazy Democrat he summed up as “I’m fine with him fucking kids as long as he doesn’t try to give me healthcare. That would be a bridge too far.”
Trevor Noah, on The Daily Show, reported on the fact that a new Moore accuser refuted Moore’s angry denials that he knew her by presenting her high school yearbook‚ which Moore had helpfully signed, “Roy Moore, D.A.,” complete with the date, and the name of the restaurant where the then 16-year-old girl worked, and where she claims Moore tried to rape her. “It’s like Roy Moore’s past self is snitching on his future self,” joked Noah, whose Moore pieces this week have been accompanied by a graphic titled “Touched By An Evangelical.”
Seth Meyers picked up on the supposed 16 percent of Alabama voters “more likely” to vote for Moore, suggesting that Moore calls that margin “old enough percent.”
Stephen Colbert did a whole segment on Moore, where he, like Jefferies, went dark. Noting the chorus of mingled gasps and groans greeting his first joke (describing a picture of Moore with arm extended at waist level as Moore demonstrating how tall you have to be to date him) by deadpanning, “If you didn’t like that one, this is gonna be a long four minutes.” During the segment, Colbert also unveiled a commercial for the Alabama mall that Moore was banned from in the 1980s for habitually creeping on teen girls, a stalking strategy Colbert described as “goin’ food-courtin.’”
And so on. This Alabama Senate election is seeming like the starkest referendum on the current GOP/Trump era of being willing (if not eager) to nominate the absolute worst possible human beings in pursuit of the worst possible goals. Even if one of the men involved weren’t accused of being a sexual predator of underage girls, the outcome of the contest would be weighty. As Jeffries put it, “We have to hope that reason and morality will win out in Alabama.” Now laugh.