last night on late night
February 15, 2019

The Democratic presidential hopeful you may have forgotten about, Pete Buttigieg, was on Thursday's Late Show, and he made his case to Stephen Colbert that as the 37-year-old mayor of South Bend, Indiana (population 100,000), he's at least as qualified to be president as President Trump. "Look, it's audacious, almost obscene, for somebody my age but really any human being to think they belong in that office," Buttigieg said. But "I have more experience in government than the president, I have more executive experience than the vice president, I have more military experience than anyone to arrive at that desk since George H.W. Bush. I know it might sound a little cheeky as the young guy in the race, but largely this is about my experience."

Buttigieg, who would also be the first openly gay president, talked about coming out during a re-election campaign he then won with 80 percent of the vote in Indiana, when Vice President Mike Pence was governor. Colbert asked what it was like to work Pence. He didn't seem impressed. "If he were here, you'd think he's a nice guy to your face, but he's also just fanatical," Buttigieg said. "He really believes. I mean, he's written that cigarette don't kill, and I think he seems to think the universe was created a few thousand years ago, and that people like me get up in the morning and decide to be gay. And the thing about it is, if that was a choice, it was a choice that was made way above my pay grade. And so what he doesn't realize is that his quarrel is with my creator. My marriage has moved me closer to God, and I wish he respected that." Watch below. Peter Weber

February 12, 2019

John Oliver told Stephen Colbert on Monday's Late Show that "you have never truly heard disappointment" until you step out of a limo in front of a group of expectant BLACKPINK fans. "Success in a K-pop band is 90 percent confidence," he suggested. "And the rest is knowing how to sing in Korean," Colbert replied.

Season 6 of Last Week Tonight starts Sunday, Colbert noted. "What do you make of the new political reality that you've returned to, because your last show was right after the midterms, right?" Oliver said yes, and both he and Colbert agreed that President Trump may well hold office until 2025. But thanks to a two-term limit, "we all have something to aim at," Oliver said. "We all have a finish line, like in a marathon, that we can all try and stumble over, be covered in a silver cape, and have someone say, 'You really shouldn't have done that.'" He suggested trying to keep Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg alive, Tinkerbell style, by clapping until Trump leaves.

"Help us make us feel better about ourselves as Americans," Colbert said, turning to the Brexit mess in Oliver's native Britain. "The thing with the current president is that, again, there is that end point in sight," Oliver said. "With Brexit, we're talking about generational damage that could end up being done here. So it's very, very bad." He compared a no-deal Brexit to jumping out of an airplane without a parachute, and they talked a lot about sheep.

Oliver talked about the English accents his two American sons don't have and showed off his royal wave when Colbert crowned him most frequent Late Show guest, beating Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.). Oliver sat down, Colbert suggested they should have remained standing to end the interview, and Oliver shrugged: "I think both you and I are happy in this kind of disappointed awkwardness." And Oliver was. Watch below. Peter Weber

February 8, 2019

Stephen Colbert reminded Meghan McCain on Thursday's Late Show that he hadn't seen her since her father, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), died in August, and he wanted to "say I'm sorry for your loss and for the loss of our nation. He was a great man, and you spoke so eloquently at his funeral." He read part of her eulogy: "We gather here to mourn the passing of American greatness, the real thing, not cheap rhetoric from men who will never come near the sacrifice he gave so willingly." "That was somewhat pointed," he noted, "and I have to ask: Did you know that Jared and Ivanka Trump would be attending when you wrote this?"

"When we were working on it, I didn't actually think about who would be attending the funeral, strangely," McCain said. "And the answer is no, I did not know they would be attending his funeral. ... And I thought that my family had made it clear, at least I had, that the Trumps are unwelcome around me, and that my father had been sort of very clear about the line between the McCains and the Trumps. So I was surprised when they were there, and it made me uncomfortable, and I hope I made them uncomfortable, honestly, with everything."

McCain wanted to make this "very clear," she added. "The Trumps had beef with me then, and in the words of Cardi B, they're gonna have beef with me forever. And I'm not going to forget. ... It's sort of a strange element to my life now that they attended, and I wish they had chosen not to out of respect, if nothing more, for me." She went on to explain that her father insisted she join The View because of his strong friendship with Whoopi Goldberg, wished her grandmother Roberta — John McCain's mother — a happy 107th birthday, and said she hopes Joe Biden runs for president. Watch below. Peter Weber

February 4, 2019

Stephen Colbert followed Sunday's Super Bowl LIII with a special Late Show, and it was so special, he even got to try out professional football himself, kind of. "I love football," he said. "I've always wanted to play the game professionally, but my doctor says I can't because I have a medical condition known as mortality. But there is some football I'm healthy enough to participate in: the video game kind. And luckily, the good folks over at EA Sports agreed to make me a player in the new Madden NFL 19." Colbert had to go to the Jets practice field in New Jersey to determine his skill stats for the game, and after some petty humiliations and small triumphs, he found the right formula for Madden NLF success. Like the Jets, it was green.

Colbert also had Conan O'Brien, "the elder statesmen of late-night hosts," on to talk about the new iteration of his TBS show and what he's learned in life and 25 years in the business. O'Brien mostly talked about his body-image issues, his bizarre genealogy test, how he's rebelliously diluting his very Irish gene pool, and why he won't give up the jacket even in his new, more casual format.

Steve Carell also made an appearance on Sunday's show, though it appears to have been taped in December. Colbert and Carell have known each other since 1988 and worked together for years on various comedy shows — a background that was helpful when they stuck their heads into a small cardboard box. The idea was to foster intimacy, but there were still questions, like why Carell switched from comedy to drama. "All I want is to be respected and to be pretentious," he answered. "You're halfway there," Colbert replied. Watch below. Peter Weber

February 4, 2019

Super Bowl LIII wasn't maybe the most exciting NFL championship game on record, but Stephen Colbert at least had some interesting house guests to kick off his post-Super Bowl Late Show. Sir Patrick Stewart brought the beer, and also Gritty the Philadelphia Flyers mascot, and "party leaders" Chuck and House Speaker Nancy stopped by for a moment, too. There is a little Shakespeare and little Star Trek and maybe a touch of product placement.

Super Bowl Sunday is "our one true national holiday," Colbert said, after beaming over to his monologue, "the one day when despite our divisions, Americans come together around their TVs, and for just one beautiful moment, don't fast-forward through the commercials."

"Another annual tradition is the pre-game presidential interview," he said. "Last year, Trump skipped the interview, but Friday he sat down with Margaret Brennan of CBS's Face the Nation, and he brought the nation a whole lot of face." First, Trump said he has "set the table beautifully" to declare a national emergency in two weeks to build his border wall without approval from Congress, Colbert said. "Not a hopeful sign, because we all know what it looks like when Trump sets the table beautifully." Trump also said he wouldn't encourage his soccer-playing son Barron to take up football, and the jokes were in the details.

"Trump's not going to be president forever," Colbert said, crossing himself while the audience applauded the reminder. There are already at least 10 Democrats running to replace him, one of the latest entrants being Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.). He poked some fun at Booker's rollout ad, and his campaign logo, Cory 2020: "Bold move going with the first name. If you'll recall, that did not work out to well for Jeb! 2016. Also, I don't know how I feel about having a President Cory. Sounds like a Disney show — probably because it was a Disney show." Really. Watch below. Peter Weber

February 1, 2019

Actress Ellen Page was Stephen Colbert's guest on Thursday's Late Show, and if you want to know more about her new Netflix show, The Umbrella Academy, this isn't really your late-night clip. She and Colbert discussed her one-year-old marriage, Hollywood's slightly improving record on LGBT issues, and the environment, all issues Page clearly cares deeply about.

"We've been told, as we know it, that by 2030, the world as we know it, that's it," Page said. "That's it. If it was a movie, we'd have Bruce Willis in a suit, like talking about something — please cast me," she deadpanned. "Please, Amy Adams, save us." She said climate change's reality isn't any more of a "debate" than the hate crime against Jussie Smollet.

"Sorry, I'm like really fired up tonight," Page said. "But it feels impossible not to feel this way right now, with the president and the vice president, Mike Pence, who, like, wishes I couldn't be married. Let's just be clear: The vice president of America wishes I didn't have the love with my wife. He wanted to ban that in Indiana, he believes in 'conversion therapy,' he has hurt LGBTQ people so badly as the [governor] of Indiana." Page returned to Smollet, who she said she doesn't know, and laid a trail of bread crumbs back to Pence: "If you are in a position of power and you hate people, and you want to cause suffering to them, you go through the trouble, you spend your career trying to cause suffering, what do you think is going to happen? Kids are going to be abused and they're gonna kill themselves, and people are going to be beaten on the street. ... This needs to f---ing stop."

The audience, which had been completely silent since booing "conversion therapy," finally clapped. A lot. And Colbert reminded everyone that Page is promoting her new show. Watch below. Peter Weber

January 31, 2019

The hosts of the Showtime politics show The Circus were on Wednesday's Late Show, and Stephen Colbert focused the conversation on the state of the 2020 race, and what voters really want. Alex Wagner described this moment as "an existential crisis" where voters are "asking ourselves and demanding from our leaders answers to huge questions," and the old rules of political behavior don't apply. Colbert steered the discussion to former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz, who is likely running as a "centrist independent."

"What do you think he means by that?" Colbert asked. "I can't tell, because he won't say what he would do as president — other than stop us from taxing billionaires." Mark McKinnon suggested that if 2020 ends up as President Trump versus someone like Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) or Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), "there's a huge hole in the middle for somebody to run as an independent," and "why not" Schultz? Wagner answered: "Even if [voters] say they are independents, they want to feel an emotional, visceral pull" to their candidate in this moment, and Schultz is "running in the foam of a latte."

John Heilemann focused on the wealth tax part, noting that Schultz and fellow billionaire Michael Bloomberg both just attacked Warren's plan. "What's the market for a billionaire criticizing someone who thinks that billionaires should be taxed more?" he asked. "When this audience and at least 70 or 75 percent of the country agrees with Elizabeth Warren, I just don't see a whole lot of political future for either one of those guys on that basis." Colbert pointed to Trump's political success.

Colbert asked what unites this year's Democratic contenders. Wagner said gender — they're mostly women — and Heilemann said "restoration," explaining: "The argument they're going to make is: This Donald Trump thing was an aberration," and "I'm the person who can bring America back to itself." McKinnon suggested a slogan: "Make America Normal Again." Watch below. Peter Weber

January 30, 2019

Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie was Stephen Colbert's guest on Tuesday's Late Show, and at his request, they began the interview with tequila shots. "Where do you think the wheels came off during the shutdown?" Colbert asked. "The president blew it," Christie replied. "When?" Colbert asked, and Christie answered: "When he shut the government down with no plan on how to reopen it." Christie said he warned Trump beforehand that "if you're going to do this, you'd better have an exit plan." That obviously didn't happen, "and he got goose egg," Colbert said. "Yes, in politics, we call that getting rolled," Christie said.

Christie said it hurts him "personally" when Trump undermines democracy by attacking the Justice Department and the FBI. So after two years, "do you regret at all helping this man get elected?" Colbert asked. Christie grabbed the bottle of tequila. He said in 2016 he preferred Trump to Hillary Clinton, "and I still agree with what his policies are more than I agree with Hillary Clinton's," but it's true Trump "has turned the Republican Party into something different that it was when I started to run for president." "Yeah, the Kremlin," Colbert joked.

Colbert asked what Christie gets out of his 17-year friendship with the infamously transactional Trump. "He demands loyalty, he doesn't seem that loyal himself," Colbert said. "He'll toss anybody under the bus." "You think I don't know?" Christie asked, laughing. "I'm the guy who got fired from the transition." That stung, but "we have one president at a time, and if I can do anything to make him better, if I can do anything that helps the country, that's my job to do," he said. "Believe me, my wife ain't happy about it either."

"Would you have been a better president than Trump?" Colbert asked. "Yes," Christie said, no hesitation. They ended with a spirited discussion of who exactly likes Christie anymore. Watch below. Peter Weber

See More Speed Reads