Donald Trump is on a golf vacation (or golfcation, if that were a word), but that hasn’t stopped him from fucking things up from the gilded throne of his wifi-enabled bathroom. He insulted a U.S. senator’s military record (plowing past his own shaky excuses for not serving, ever). He creeped on a newly married woman. He fluffed up his own self-esteem by attacking a press that continues to follow the story of possible treasonous collusion between a presidential candidate and a hostile foreign power, for some reason. Oh, and he took some time off the greens today to bring the world to the brink of nuclear war with North Korea. Luckily, Stephen Colbert stayed steadfastly at his comic post.
Cracking jokes while the news is breaking that two megalomaniacal, authoritarian world leaders with dubious grasps on reality were, at that moment, waving their big, radioactive death-johnsons at each other is a tricky business. Colbert took the “absurdist graveyard humor” tack, starting his monologue with a deadpan, “I don’t want to be alarmist. We’re all gonna die,” before expertly feinting at viewers’ desire for reassurance, again and again.
A long setup straight-facedly assuring everyone that Trump’s response to Kim Jong Un’s Trump-esque inelegantly expressed martial metaphors (wolves do not strangle people) partook of calm statesmanship and level-headed de-escalation pays off in shared laughter at the sheer absurdity of the idea. And, noting that a recent poll shows that a depressing number of Trump supporters are okay with being lied to by the White House, Colbert addressed them with a sincerely insincere, “Everything’s gonna be fine.”