FA few years ago this week, Stephen Colbert had one of the worst nights of his professional life on an election night special on Showtime. He really hoped things would get better this time.
“We don’t know what part of tonight’s show will be,” the host warned. “It’s like baking cookies and we don’t know what’s going to be in the batch, chocolate chips or raisins or just a handful of bedbugs. As Republican agents mapped out their plans for the Democratic votes to be rejected, Colbert added, “You know the old saying: if you can’t beat them, find a judge who says, ‘You know what? You really beat them. ”
“As we travel into the unknown,” said Colbert, “please be patient with us and with yourself. Hold on tight. Hold on to your loved ones. Hold your pets. And if you care about anything else, please turn off your Zoom camera. “
Wearing a costume for the first time since the start of the pandemic, the host admitted that many people had asked him why he was doing an election night special once again this year. “We did it four years ago, and it was, quite famously, a painful experience,” he admitted. “But you know what? I wouldn’t want to be with anyone other than you right now.
But above all, Colbert was happy to be on Showtime, where he was free from the CBS censors who keep him in check. The late show. “Because shit, this is a fucking weird election,” he added.
Charlamagne tha God and the Showtime’s co-hosts The circus all joined Colbert four years later and were equally discouraged. “On the bright side, it’s a great night for women who listen to their husbands”, another returning guest, comedian and Daily show alum Jena Friedman, joked at one point.
“What the hell is going on?” Charlamagne asked once it became clear just how close the results would be. Alex Wagner predicted that we won’t know the winner of the presidential election until at least Thursday.
As the series passed his allotted time, Colbert learned that he had shaken up his own Showtime animated series. Our cartoon president. “Hey, they could have another season!” Colbert joked darkly.
In 2016, Colbert closed his Election Night special by stepping out of the script and delivering a thoughtful and insightful speech about how America got to the point that it could elect Donald Trump.
“So how did our politics get so toxic?” he asked at the time. “I think it’s because we overdosed, especially this year. We drank too much poison. You take a bit of it so you can hate the other side. And it tastes good and you like how it feels. And there’s a slight high in the condemnation, and you know you’re right.
This time Colbert ended the evening begging America to be patient. “We’ve been waiting for this for so long,” he said, comparing the 2020 election to Christmas, “and not just because of the red hat type of judgment.”
Now that “millions of you braved the pandemic, an army of tellers and even the post office” to vote this year, Colbert said: “All of these votes are worth counting.”
Since “we were able to wait” four years from President Donald Trump, he concluded: “I know we all have what it takes to wait a little longer.”
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