Colbert even revived his alter ego to mock Trump's 'truthiness.'
How did Donald Trump become the presumptive Republican presidential nominee? The former host of The Daily Show, Jon Stewart, reunited with Stephen Colbert on Monday to tackle that question (quite hilariously) and the Republican National Convention in Cleveland.
Colbert, host of CBS’s The Late Show, found Stewart in a remote log cabin — with “Stephen Colbert,” the conservative blowhard alter-ego that The Late Show host Stephen Colbert previously portrayed on the Colbert Report. The premise was that Stewart has been living in solitude, removed from society to the point that he had no idea that billionaire and former reality TV star Donald Trump is the presumptive GOP presidential nominee.
Following a pair of spit-takes from Stewart after Colbert informs him that Trump is on the verge of securing the Republican nomination, the two comedians engage in a long back-and-forth of listing some of Trump’s most infamous past deeds—from declaring bankruptcy multiple times to making sexist and racist comments—as Stewart asks Colbert repeatedly, “That guy?!”
At that point, the fictional Colbert appears, as he’s apparently been living with Stewart in the cabin. “Jon and I are very happy living off the grid, making jerky, and canning our own urine for the end times,” the conservative Colbert says, but he is convinced to leave the woods to return to a New York City soundstage once he learns that Trump is on a path for the White House.
Colbert continued the revival of his famous character on the set of The Late Show, launching into a live rendition of a famous recurring segment from the Colbert Report, called “The Word.” In the segment, Colbert examined the word “Trumpiness,” which he defined as describing qualities of the Republican presidential hopeful, and which summoned a connection to the word “truthiness” that Colbert made up and popularized on his former show.
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“Truthiness has to feel true, but Trumpiness doesn’t even have to do that,” Colbert said, adding: “And, if [Trump] doesn’t ever have to mean what he says, that means he can say anything. Here’s the deal, truthiness was from the gut, but Trumpiness clearly comes from much further down the gastro-intestinal tract.”
While it is possible that the fake Colbert could return to The Late Show at any point throughout the next two weeks of political convention coverage, what is clear is that the real Colbert is pulling out all of the stops in the hopes that his live, post-convention shows can help spark his late-night ratings. (Earlier on Monday, Colbert even crashed the RNC in Cleveland before being escorted off the convention stage for a filmed segment for his show.)
As Fortune has noted, Colbert has consistently ranked behind Jimmy Fallon and NBC’s Tonight Show in the ratings among late-night talk shows since Colbert took over for the retired David Letterman at CBS last year.
Colbert and network seem to be hoping that a return to the political comedy (and the fake, ultra-conservative version of himself) that made him a household name at Comedy Central will provide the show a needed boost in the ratings over the next two weeks. Of course, Colbert isn’t the only late-night comedian going political this month, as rivals such as TBS’ Samantha Bee, NBC’s Seth Meyers, and even new The Daily Show host Trevor Noah are all stepping up their comedic coverage over the next two weeks for the RNC and DNC.