Late-night talk hosts, including Seth Meyers, Conan O'Brien, Jimmy Kimmel, Stephen Colbert, Samantha Bee and James Corden tried a mix of soothing reassurance, straight talk, and their specialty — biting humor — on Wednesday to calm and entertain viewers still reacting to Tuesday's presidential election results.
Seth Meyers opened the taping of Late Night with Seth Meyers (NBC, 12:35 a.m. ET/PT) with a vulgar reference to female genitalia, because "last I checked, the Electoral College seems to be fine with it," before revealing his own feelings about Donald Trump's election.
"I felt a lot of emotions last night and into today; some sadness, some anger, some fear. But I’m also aware that those are the same emotions a lot of Trump supporters felt; emotions that led them to make their choice. And it would be wrong for me to think my emotions are somehow more authentic than their emotions," he told his studio audience.
He asked for empathy. "I would just say to those Trump voters: Congratulations. I sincerely hope he addresses your concerns. I sincerely hope that if you’ve felt forgotten, he won’t forget you now. As a white man, I also know that any emotions that I’m feeling are likely a fraction of those being felt by the LGBTQ community, African-Americans, Hispanic Americans, Muslim Americans and any number of the immigrant communities so vital to our country. Hopefully the Trump administration will be compassionate to them."
Meyers said he was wrong when he claimed Trump wasn't serious about running, getting the Republican nomination and being elected, so "the good news is, based on this pattern of me being wrong on every one of my Donald Trump predictions, he's probably going to be a great (expletive) president," he said.
He took semi-humorous solace in the president-elect's changing policy views, adding a barbed reminder as a chaser.
"One thing that makes me hopeful is we know from interviews he’s given over the years that he has, at any given point, held every position on every issue. He’s been pro-choice, pro-life, for the Iraq War, against the Iraq War. Pretty much his only consistent position has been anti-Rosie O’Donnell. So I’m hopeful that he’s not actually a racist, and that he just used racist rhetoric to court voters," he said.
On TBS's Conan (11 p.m. ET/PT), host Conan O'Brien opened his monologue asking if anyone needed a hug. He saw two takeaways from Tuesday: "Donald Trump got elected president and my job just got easier for the next four years."
He tried to find some consolation for Hillary Clinton supporters. "For the millions who are disappointed for Hillary, remember, America has a special place for people who lose. And ironically, it’s the cast of Celebrity Apprentice."
O'Brien acknowledged the country has been "through the wringer" and is divided, but said it has survived "bitter angry elections" for more than two centuries.
He called fair and free elections "an amazing thing. In the last few years I’ve traveled to a bunch of countries — Cuba, Armenia, the Middle East — where the people would give anything to have our system. In America, we get to pick who’s going to ruin our country, and that is a privilege," he said.
He then quoted Winston Churchill's famous comment about democracy being the worst form of government (except for all the other ones), and then added a heretofore unknown Churchill saying.
"Winston Churchill also said, when healing a divided nation always resort to cheap, visual comedy," O'Brien said. Then, he introduced "an old friend of ours, the Really Tall Dachshund."
During Wednesday's taping of ABC's Jimmy Kimmel Live (11:35 p.m. ET/PT), host Kimmel offered thoughts on Trump's feelings and Clinton's strategy.
"It was a big surprise. I think it was even a big surprise to Donald Trump," Kimmel said. "Did you see his victory speech? He didn’t want this. He wanted to win — but he doesn’t actually want to be President. … His plan was to go home to Mar-a-Lago, play 5,000 rounds of golf, phone in to Trump TV every morning for 10 years and then die on the toilet!"
As for Clinton, whose campaign events featured Beyoncé, Jay Z, Katy Perry and Bruce Springsteen, "In hindsight, I think the problem for Hillary was … she didn’t have enough celebrities supporting her."
Stephen Colbert was distraught when he began CBS’s The Late Show (11:35 p.m. ET/PT) Wednesday.
“I am so glad to be with you tonight,” he said. “I wouldn’t want to be alone right now.”
“There’s no way around it,” the host continued. “This is what it feels like when America’s made great again. I was wondering and I was really hoping it would feel better ‘cause this sucks.”
It was evident Colbert was having a hard time accepting Trump as the president-elect.
“I just want to keep saying it until I can say it without throwing up in my mouth a little bit,” he told his audience, before comparing the GOP’s recent victories to a free-for-all candy store. “Oh, look I can gobble up all your rights,” Colbert joked. “Please, no more reproductive rights. I’m full. Thanks so much. Now, in this metaphor Donald Trump is Willy Wonka who has been genetically crossbred with a carnivorous Oompa Loompa.”
As for how parents should reveal the results of the election to their children, Colbert suggested, “Just tell them anything. Tell them the new president is Elsa from Frozen. It’s the only way to get them to Let It Go.”
During a NSFW segment of Full Frontal on TBS (Mondays at 10:30 p.m. ET/PT), host Samantha Bee pinpointed herself as a curse affecting the results of the election, after a series of unfortunate coincidences.
“I didn’t notice the pattern because yesterday I voted in an American election for the first time, and I broke America,” she said.
Bee likened the results of the election to the installation of a residential above ground pool.
“Even if we’re lucky and it doesn’t seep into our foundation, the neighbors will never look at us the same way again,” Bee quipped.
Still, she wanted to remind viewers that there are reasons they shouldn’t give up on their nation.
“America is still a great country, and it is still worth fighting for,” she said. “It has Shonda Rhimes shows and peanut butter and Beyoncé and Lin-Manuel Miranda rap weeping at awards shows.”
On CBS’s Late Late Show (12:35 p.m. ET/PT), James Corden offered his audience wit and words of inspiration.
“(America) is a country of opportunity, and diversity and hope,” he said. “And that will never change. This is still the land of liberty. It put people on the moon. It’s the Chicago Cubs, Michael Jordan. It’s the land of tacos, and yes, and yes, tacos are Mexican, but that doesn’t mean they don’t belong here.”
Corden also encouraged the nation to cling to its values.
“This country isn’t about one election result,” he said. “This country is about the people who live here. It’s you. It’s how you treat one another. It’s the tone you set that will define who we are.”