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Stephen Colbert, Trevor Noah, and Seth Meyers react to Monday's Trump-Russia indictments with some cathartic glee

Late Night With Seth Meyers (Screenshot: NBC)

In what looks to be just the start of a late-night comedy feeding frenzy at the news that the first indictments have been handed down in Robert Mueller’s Trump-Russia investigation, Trevor Noah, Stephen Colbert, and Seth Meyers all took well-earned, long-delayed pleasure in mocking the crumbling house of Trump on Monday. The Friday announcement of Monday’s indictments of former Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort, Manafort’s protégé and Trump campaign figure Rick Gates, and Trump foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos left Trump, Fox News, and Trump’s shrinking loyalist internet army sweating, stewing, and tweeting out easily debunked Hillary Clinton conspiracy theories. In turn, the three late-night hosts took turns playing Trump schadenfreude whack-a-mole. (Colbert and Meyers both showed how Fox has done everything possible to ignore the story all Monday, mainly by focusing on more pressing Halloween candy and hamburger emoji stories.)

On The Late Show, Colbert—whose simultaneously smug and wheedling Trump impression is highly underrated—read out Trump’s increasingly frantic and sloppy pleas for his supporters to “DO SOMETHING!,” before concluding, “there’s something so reassuring about the president screaming ‘DO SOMETHING!’ into the void.”


On The Daily Show, Noah’s turn with the mallet saw him doing his best, to-camera Freddy Krueger post-joke kill quip (“Happy Halloween, bitch”) to the free-on-$10-million-bond Manafort before conceding that, as Trump tweeted, Mueller’s indictment mainly concerns itself with the shady Trump associate’s pre-campaign alleged crimes. However, Noah noted that that’s actually pretty bad news for Trump, since it means that Mueller is not confining things to campaign collusion, with the very scary-sounding charge “conspiracy against the United States” ominously suggesting that Manafort and Gates are going to be very motivated to play ball. After revealing that Papadopoulos has, in fact, already been cooperating with Mueller’s investigation—possibly wearing a wire—Noah couldn’t restrain himself, giving one last “It’s still Halloween, bitches” fright to Trump and company.

And on Late Night, Meyers, calling the White House and Trump-fluffing state news organ Fox News’ reactions to the news “an unhinged frenzy,” compared Trump’s “DO SOMETHING!” to that of a “supervillain barking orders to his henchmen after James Bond escapes,” which sounds about right. He went on to refer to that Clinton uranium distraction as the desperate tactic it is, noting that Trump’s claims are about as convincing as Trump’s understanding of what uranium actually is. The clip Meyers played of Trump trying to bullshit his way through an explanation is, in Meyers’ words, “like a high schooler who didn’t study for a quiz.”

All three hosts seemed grateful that they have a suspect whose name is fun to say. (Especially, as Meyers showed, when roleplaying treason scenarios in a Russian accent.) And that same Papadopoulos’ references to his Russian contact as simply “The Professor” led both Colbert and Meyers to make the same, apparently irresistible Clue joke. We’re in for a long road here, people. There’s gonna be some overlap.

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Dennis Perkins

Contributor, The A.V. Club. Danny Peary's Cult Movies books are mostly to blame.