After Puerto Rico was devastated by Hurricane Maria, and then humiliated and bewildered by the supplies-lobbing, mayor-mocking dumbassery of Donald Trump, the good people of that beleaguered island could use some good news. And, on Thursday’s Late Show With Stephen Colbert, that’s what they got (those with restored electricity or internet at this point anyway), as Colbert and recent Late Show guest Nick Kroll took turns one-upping each other in a bit concluding their joint #PuberMe fundraising campaign. Kroll, who pitched the campaign for currently rich and beautiful celebrities to reveal their most awkward and cringeworthy teenage pictures on Colbert’s show last week, called in from Argentina (for reasons unexplored on the show), a picture of his own bespectacled young self standing in as he and Colbert comically tried to outdo each other in their generosity arms race. Colbert, noting that his annual Ben & Jerry’s ice cream charity donation would all go to Puerto Rico this year, explained that his AmeriCone Dream Fund is donating a thousand bucks for every pimply, mullet-sporting, brace-faced celebrity picture, which had raised an initial total of around a quarter-million. Kroll pledged a hundred grand from himself and his Big Mouth castmates, and the race was on, until Colbert’s announcement that CBS was matching their combined total brought the whole thing up to a great-but-unsatisfyingly-jagged $999,000.
Luckily, Colbert’s lament that they just couldn’t crest that cool million mark sent out the Puerto Rico signal to one Lin-Manuel Miranda, who brought out not a lowly ungainly photo, but an entire, Puerto Rico-themed video of his 13-year-old self crooning his love for his ancestral island. (And how much the young Miranda hated New York.) Look, it’s been a shit time all around for the people of Puerto Rico, and a million bucks isn’t going to come near to solving all the problems that Donald Trump spent his disastrous goodwill visit scolding them about. But there was a palpable feeling of goodwill in the air as the meter ticked up to that million dollar figure, with those spoiled Hollywood elites Trump and Fox News love to sneer at putting some money where their cosmetically straightened pearly whites are. Plus, it gave Miranda the opportunity to steer people toward his newly penned song “Almost Like Praying,” whose profits will also all go to hurricane relief, and which features, as Manuel put it, “any Latino person you like.” (He mentioned Jennifer Lopez, Marc Anthony, Gloria Estefan, Fat Joe, and presumably himself.)
To add your own cash to the Puerto Rico pile, Colbert steered everyone to the show’s website colbertlateshow.com, while Miranda did the same for “Almost Like Praying,” urging people to buy it on iTunes, Spotify, and Tidal. (The song dropped at midnight while The Late Show was airing.) It’s a drop in the bucket, surely, but it’s a pretty big drop, and at least Donald Trump won’t be whipping it at hurricane victims’ heads.