On Wednesday evening, Stephen Colbert decided to buck his own Late Show tradition and opted out of covering the third night of the Republican National Convention. Though the late-night host had provided live post-show commentary for all four nights of the DNC and the first two nights of the RNC, Colbert said in a scathing new monologue that he'd had enough.
"Full disclosure: I did not watch much of the convention tonight. And fullest disclosure: I did not watch any of it," Colbert said. "Because right now in America, we're facing a global pandemic that has killed 180,000 Americans, heavily armed Rambo wannabes are murdering people in our streets, the strongest hurricane in the history of the Gulf Coast is making landfall as I speak, and the RNC's message is: 'Who's up for four more years, eh?'" Colbert added, "I know by not watching the RNC, I didn't do my job tonight, and I just want to say I feel great about it."
The host explained his decision to bypass the third night of the RNC, which featured Vice President Mike Pence as its keynote speaker, by saying the convention has been too disconnected from reality to take seriously. "Why should we pay attention to what they're saying if none of what they're saying tonight is about what's happening in America right now?" Colbert asked. "Why should we watch their reality show if it doesn't reflect our reality? Why subject ourselves to their lies that stick to your soul like hot tar? Lies like, 'Donald Trump cares whether you live or die.'"
Instead of talking about the convention, Colbert decided to address the major news of the day, including the CDC's controversial guideline changes that no longer advise people to get tested for coronavirus if they are asymptomatic, even if they've been exposed to someone who is positive. After noting that the new changes were pushed by the White House, Colbert said, "Hey CDC! This is our lives. Either grow a pair and stand up to this clown, or at least be honest and change the Hippocratic Oath to, 'First do no harm, unless it makes the president look bad. In that case, bag 'em and tag 'em."
Colbert also talked about the ongoing protests in Kenosha, Wisconsin, following the police shooting of Jacob Blake, and the vigilante shooting at a Kenosha protest on Tuesday that left two people dead and one wounded. Discussing the news that an Illinois teen has been arrested and charged for the shooting, Colbert said, "We don't know a lot more than that, other than two things: This person thought they were a member of the militia, and they thought there was such a thing as a militia. There isn't. There's cops who can legally carry guns and arrest you, and then there are yahoos who can get strapped with an AR-15, buy some camo from an Army surplus store, then go role play the fear fantasy that's been fed to them every night of the last four years. And I'll give you one guess which of these conventions those yahoos are watching."
The host also talked about the decision of Milwaukee Bucks players to lead an NBA strike in protest of Blake's shooting. "Somebody had to show some leadership, and the Bucks stop here," Colbert said. He credited Inside the NBA's Kenny Smith for his "stunning display of solidarity" by walking off the set of his show to honor the players' strike.
Colbert concluded his monologue with a plea for viewers to vote in November, saying, "Donald Trump does not care if you live or die, of COVID or of racism, as long as he wins. And until we the people change this administration, we will continue to get more leadership from the NBA than the RNC."