Watch What the Late Night Comics Made of Hillary Clinton’s Speech

July 29, 2016, 1:59 PM UTC
Bill Maher
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - JULY 28: Bill Maher speaks during HBO's TCA Panel during the 2011 Summer TCA Tour at the Beverly Hilton on July 28, 2011 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by FilmMagic/FilmMagic)
Photography by FilmMagic

Last night, Hillary Clinton officially became the first woman to accept a major party’s nomination to run for president. After her speech closed the final night of the Democratic National Convention, the world of late-night TV comedy swung into high gear to offer up an immediate take on the historic night.

While Stephen Colbert has hosted live editions of The Late Show on CBS after every night of both the DNC this week and last week’s Republican National Convention, he wasn’t alone on Thursday. Trevor Noah was live with a new episode of The Daily Show immediately following the end of Clinton’s speech, while both NBC’s Late Night with Seth Meyers and HBO’s Real Time with Bill Maher also had live shows later in the night.

In general, the comics–who have made no secret of their disdain for Donald Trump–responded with respect for Clinton’s historic moment — with some gentle ribbing.

Here’s some highlights:

The Late Show: ‘Biggest Breakthrough for Women Since They Won the Right to Bust Ghosts’

On the night of his eighth, and final, live show, Stephen Colbert was a bit more subdued than he has been recently, as the past two weeks have found him storming the podiums at both conventions dressed as a parody character from The Hunger Games, as well as reviving his former Colbert Report alter-ego only to then retire that character and introduce a new one (fun twist: they’re both named “Stephen Colbert”).

While Colbert has eagerly mocked politicians on both sides of the aisle over the past two weeks, the comedian took a moment during his monologue to acknowledge the historic significance of Clinton’s nomination. “This is huge,” Colbert said. “This is the biggest breakthrough for women since they won the right to bust ghosts.”

Colbert then turned his attention to Clinton’s onetime Democratic rival, Bernie Sanders, after some of the Vermont senator’s supporters gathered outside the DNC on Thursday for what they described as a “fart-in” to protest the nomination. “Now, some might question this tactic,” Colbert said. “But I remind you that it’s part of a long tradition of political activism. After all, it was Patrick Henry who so famously declared, ‘Give me liberty . . . or, pull my finger.'”

Later, Broad City creators and stars Ilana Glazer and Abbi Jacobson joined Colbert, along with historian Doris Kearns Goodwin, who opined that, with Clinton now another step closer to the White House, “We’ve had 43 men [as] presidents, maybe there’ll be 43 female presidents coming after it?”

Colbert also asked the three women if they were “feeling the history of the night” and the Broad City stars said they do identify as feminists, though Glazer was quick to say, “We don’t support Hillary just because she’s a woman. And, if you don’t support Hillary, that doesn’t mean you’re not a feminist either.”



The Daily Show: ‘The First Sane Person to be Nominated’

Trevor Noah, who took over hosting duties at The Daily Show from Jon Stewart last fall, is experiencing his first taste of satirizing a U.S. presidential election this year. Opening a live edition of the Comedy Central show minutes after Clinton’s speech ended on Thursday night, Noah joked that the former Secretary of State “made history as the first sane person to be nominated for president this year.”

Later, Noah asked his guest, Mark Liebovich, the chief national correspondent at The New York Times Magazine, if Clinton’s embrace of platforms pushed by Bernie Sanders and his supporters at the DNC was merely rhetoric, or if those progressive promises will turn into actual policy if she is elected. “If she is elected president, she will have the fear of the left in her. I think she’ll know that she has to work with Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders when they go back to the Senate,” Liebovich said, adding that he believes Clinton’s attempts to unify the part and bring Sanders supporters into the fold have been “pretty effective.

Late Night with Seth Meyers: ‘Let’s Just Say, She’s Not An Amazing Orator’

It was an especially “late night” for Seth Meyers, whose live show didn’t start until 1:18 a.m. ET (more than 40 minutes past his show’s normal start-time) after being pushed back by the DNC speeches and the show’s other lead-in programming. When he did finally make it on the air, Meyers made light of the fact that Clinton is not generally known as a great speaker in the vein of her husband, former President Bill Clinton, or current President Barack Obama.

“Let’s just say, she’s not an amazing orator,” Meyers said. “Like, when she finished, she tried to drop the mic, but it bounced off her foot and into the audience, where it hit a laptop and released 10,000 more e-mails.”

Real Time with Bill Maher: ‘Today, India Said, ‘Congratulations'”

Over on premium cable, comedian Bill Maher hosted a live version of his HBO panel show and his opening monologue jumped right into Clinton’s speech. “You just watched history being made,” Maher said. “Hillary Clinton accepted the Democratic party nomination. We have our first woman nominee. And, today, India said ‘Congratulations, and welcome to the [1960s].”

Maher went on: “[Clinton] laid out her vision—I thought it was amazing—filled with hope and promise, real solutions to actual problems, which Fox News called ‘one way to go, I guess.'”


Later, Maher looked to compare the DNC’s speakers to those who endorsed GOP nominee Donald Trump at the RNC in Cleveland last week. “If you’re keeping score, the Democrats—President Obama, Michelle Obama, Bill Clinton, Joe Biden, Michael Bloomberg [an Independent]—all made passionate cases for Hillary . . . and, Trump was endorsed by Russia.”

He also summed up what seems to be many comedians’ attitudes towards the election: “It’s quite a choice we have. We have either ‘I’m with her’ or ‘I’m with stupid.’ There’s the election in a nutshell.”