We're used to late night talk show hosts dueling for their ever-dwindling market share, but late night titans Stephen Colbert of The Late Show on CBS and John Oliver of HBO's Last Week Tonight came together to mourn, laugh, and stare at each other in bafflement on Saturday night at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center.
The live event, called "Wow, That Was Weird: A Post-Election Evening With Stephen Colbert and John Oliver" was both a benefit for the Montclair Film Festival and a chance for the comedians to process the Trump victory neither of The Daily Show alums had predicted or prepared their audiences for.
Colbert described "a transformation going on in the emotional state of the audience" for the Late Show, and Oliver agreed that their shows "need to work out what we become next" and shared that it had not been fun to cover the 2016 Presidential campaign.
"You try and take things of substance and then put some sugar on it to make it palatable. But there was so little of substance, this whole campaign, it's just like a diabetes-inducing amount of sugar. Your job kind of flips on its head."
In other words, the discourse leading up to the election was far more outrageous than any scripted comedy, and it's almost impossible to lampoon something that's already ridiculous. But while it's clear comedians will have their work cut out from them trying to top President Trump's latest Twitter retorts, these two lifetime satirists aren't giving up any time soon. In Colbert's words, "the story has teeth on a level it didn't before."
"I'm all for giving him a chance," Colbert explained. "but don't give him an inch. Because I believed everything he said, and I remember everything he said. And it's horrifying."
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