Some late-night talk shows are wading into serious political criticism in a move that critics think goes beyond their mandate to make fun of the daily news.
President Trump on Saturday took on late-night shows in a pair of tweets that slammed “unfunny” and “anti-Trump” jokes. He also demanded “equal time” for Republicans amid what he deemed “one-sided coverage.”
Jimmy Kimmel, host of an ABC late-night show, has emerged as a leader among hosts willing to spar with Washington Republicans.
He became a key celebrity voice earlier this year against GOP efforts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, breaking on occasion from his typical comedic monologues to address more weighty policy issues.
“Health care is complicated. It’s boring. I don’t want to talk about it. The details are confusing, and that’s what these guys are relying on,” the “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” host said on his show last month, referring to lawmakers who backed a now-defunct GOP bill to overhaul the nation’s health-care system.
“They’re counting on you to be so overwhelmed with all the information you just trust them to take care of you, but they’re not taking care of you,” he told his audience.
Trump’s insurgent 2016 presidential bid and ensuing tenure in the White House have also breathed new life into NBC’s “Saturday Night Live.” The long-running sketch comedy has racked up its highest ratings in decades this year as viewers tuned in to witness Alec Baldwin’s weekly takes on the president’s latest actions.
Trump hasn’t been shy about pushing back against the parody. He has called SNL “unwatchable” and biased and said “the Baldwin impersonation just can’t get any worse.”
But getting a response from Trump only seems to spur on late night hosts. Kimmel, responding to Trump on Saturday, joked the president could take over his show if he quit his own “boring job.”
Here are five recent pointed political digs from late night talk show hosts:
Kimmel hits Trump over “fake news” complaints
After Trump suggested on Thursday that congressional investigators should look into so-called “fake news” by mainstream outlets, like MSNBC, Kimmel sought to turn the argument against the president himself.
“The other irony is no one — no breathing human on the planet Earth — produces more fake news than Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpIvanka Trump pens op-ed on kindergartners learning tech Bharara, Yates tamp down expectations Mueller will bring criminal charges Overnight Cybersecurity: Equifax security employee left after breach | Lawmakers float bill to reform warrantless surveillance | Intel leaders keeping collusion probe open MORE,” Kimmel said, pointing to the fact-checking website Politifact’s report that only five percent of Trump’s public statements are verifiably true.
“Donald Trump is a tornado of fake news,” Kimmel added. “He’s the Michael Jordan, Elvis Presley and Great Wall of China of fake news, combined.”
Colbert rips Trump’s trip to Puerto Rico
Trump, who faced criticism last week for his administration’s slow-to-start reponse to Hurricane Maria, visited Puerto Rico on Tuesday to survey the damage wrought by the storm.
But after the trip, CBS’s Stephen Colbert took the president to task over his assertion that his administration has done an “A+” job responding to the hurricane.
“You know you can’t give yourself an A+, right? That’s not how grades work,” Colbert said. “‘I have done an outstanding job this semester. I’m saying all As, which is why I’m so proud that I just admitted myself to Harvard.'”
The “Late Show” host also mocked Trump’s comment to a hurricane victim on the island to “have a good time.”
“You’re in a disaster site, you’re not working the floor at your casino,” he said. “‘You guys having fun here? Listen, I’m gonna comp you half a gallon of drinking water. Enjoy your hurricane, everybody, don’t forget to tip your FEMA worker.’”
Meyers takes on Tillerson allegedly calling Trump a ‘moron’
NBC host Seth Meyers jabbed Trump’s Secretary of State Rex TillersonRex Wayne TillersonTrump relationship with Tillerson has been tense for months: report Bill O’Reilly: With Trump, Tillerson coverage, the media takes us all for ‘morons’ Overnight Defense: Tillerson, Trump deny report of rift | Tillerson says he never considered resigning | Trump expresses ‘total confidence’ in secretary | Rubio asks Army to kick out West Point grad MORE after the top diplomat denied reports that he had been on the verge of resigning over the summer, before Vice President Pence intervened.
“Tillerson, of course, was forced to issue a statement at a hastily-arranged press conference yesterday, where he took the extraordinary step of trying to assure the American people that the president is not, in fact, a moron,” Meyers said.
“Man, to think a guy’s a moron and then be forced to publicly say he’s smart: I guess when your name is Rex, you’re going to be good at rolling over.”
In fact, Tillerson declined to comment on part of an NBC News report claiming that he had once called the president a “moron,” though a State Department spokeswoman later said that he had never used such language.
Fallon slams Trump’s response to Hurricane Maria
NBC’s Jimmy Fallon also took aim at Trump’s trip to Puerto Rico, hitting him over what critics said was his administration’s delayed response to an increasingly dire situation.
“Trump had a nice visit to Puerto Rico. He said it gave all the first responders a chance to meet with the last responder,” Fallon said.
“The Tonight Show” host also joked about the president’s comment to Puerto Rico that the island’s need for assistance after the storm had “thrown our budget a little out of whack.”
“Puerto Rico said, ‘well, next time there’s a hurricane, we’ll just push the island out of the way,'” Fallon said.
New SNL season takes aim at Trump “chaos”
SNL recently kicked off its latest season with a wide-ranging parody of Trump’s tenure, mocking everything from the long list of former administration officials that have resigned to the president’s feud with the NFL over players who kneel during the national anthem.
“Trust me, it may seem like what’s coming out of my mouth is B-A-N-A-N-A-N-A-S,” Alec Baldwin said, impersonating Trump. “But it’s all part of the plan. The more chaos I cause, the less people can focus. They’re all getting so tired. So tired.”