“Our show tapes at 6:30,” Seth Meyers explained as he began his “A Closer Look” segment on Thursday night. “Usually, we start writing ‘A Closer Look’ the night before; by 1:00 p.m. today, we had a draft about Republicans’ attempts to repeal Obamacare that we felt good about. And then Donald Trump held what can only be described as a batshit crazy press conference.”
Here’s Stephen Colbert making sense of Thursday’s horrifying events on the fly, to begin The Late Show: “I am your host Stephen Colbert, and wow. I am glad you could be here on this historic evening, because Donald Trump held his first solo press conference as president …. It just happened, actually. We’re recording this in the early afternoon. It literally just finished. What I’m saying is this is fresh. It must be fresh because you can smell it.”
And here’s a very grim, troubled Trevor Noah, echoing Meyers’ claims of a rewrite: “We had a really nice show planned for you. Very civil, very calm. And then, in the middle of the day, Hurricane Trump happened—again.”
Donald Trump’s bizarre, winding, frighteningly erratic press conference on Thursday had late-night comics scrambling as to adequately make sense of it. The amount of remarkable details—Trump’s “All Black People Must Be Friends” comment, his repeated lie about the size and historical significance of his victory, his stunning attacks on the media, his contradictory comments regarding “real leaks” and “fake news” and whether his former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn did anything wrong, his demand that a Jewish reporter expressing concern about an uptick in anti-semitism “sit down” and “be quiet,” and on and on—rendered any cogent summation impossible. Noah and Meyers’ teams cut together highlight reels, making clear just how unsettling the whole charade was, while Colbert turned to news anchors’ bewildered, and in most cases disturbed, reactions. “Words fail me,” as Colbert admitted.
Noah probably came closest to capturing the essence of what we all bore witness to on Thursday, in channeling Trump’s performance: “I’m not drunk. You’re all drunk. You’re all drunk. This my motherfucking house. This my motherfucking house. Goony goo-goo. Goony goo-goo.”