Well, 241 years was a pretty good run, right?
As Donald Trump plays nuclear brinkmanship with North Korea and Kim Jong-un, you can’t blame some Americans for getting nervous. After all, these are not two men known for their restraint. Everyone processes the existential dread that comes with potential nuclear annihilation differently—but for those who like to laugh the pain away, late-night comedians came through with some solid doomsday humor. Especially Stephen Colbert, who took the opportunity to ask North Korea why it’s so determined to make “us” happen.
“Look, I know a lot of people tune into this show on a nightly basis to get their news and information,” Colbert said as he opened Tuesday’s Late Show. “They count on me to be a straight shooter with a calm voice. I don’t want to be alarmist; we’re all going to die.”
North Korea, Colbert noted, has reportedly developed a nuclear weapon that can be delivered by missile. “My God,” he fumed, “Dennis Rodman, did you do nothing?!”
But Colbert’s real frustration was with North Korea, which threatened the U.S. specifically—despite the fact that 14 other U.N. countries also voted to sanction North Korea. “Look, North Korea, stop trying to make ‘us’ a thing, alright?” the comedian quipped. “I’m not saying what we have isn’t special, but it’s not exclusive. O.K.? The United States, we sanction a lot of other countries, O.K.? I’ll tell you, we sanctioned Russia just last week, and it felt pretty great. . . . They threaten us in a way you never will. You should see the size of their missiles. Maybe you should start threatening other countries, too. Get out there, you know? Who knows, maybe the country you really want to annihilate has been right in front of you the whole time.”
“Thankfully, faced with the greatest challenge of his presidency, Donald Trump stepped up, and in a moment of pure statesmanship, de-escalated the rhetoric and brought calm to our worried nation,” Colbert continued. “I’m just kidding.” Nope: instead, Trump threatened North Korea further with “fire, fury and frankly power the likes of which the world has never seen before.”
After begging the president to “shut up” before he “get[s] us all killed,” the comedian noted that he’s not actually sure he believes Trump’s “saber rattling;” only 24 percent of voters, he noted, actually trust what the president says. But oddly, Trump’s approval rating in the same poll hovered at 38 percent. Meaning, per Colbert that “14 percent of voters enjoy being lied to.”
“If any of those voters are tuning in right now, I just want to say: ‘Everything’s going to be fine.’ ”
Naturally, Colbert wasn’t the only comedian alarmed by the president’s threats. On NBC, Seth Meyers addressed the taunt in his monologue, quipping, “Yeah, that ought to cool things down. God forbid Trump’s ever put in charge of a hostage situation. ‘Kill a hostage?! You don’t have the balls! Plus, if you do, I’ll kill everyone outside the bank!’”
Jimmy Kimmel, who noted that “we’re one Trump toilet tweet away from being the United States of Florida,” actually noted a real part of the footage from Trump’s response that has largely gone unnoticed: Kellyanne Conway’s reaction.
“I watched that clip about a dozen times today, and after viewing No. 8, I noticed this,” Kimmel said. “That is the face of someone who just realized she has to get up at 4 A.M. tomorrow to defend this all day.”
Thankfully, there’s one source who knows Trump very well who isn’t worried at all: Melania. As Conan O’Brien quipped, “Today President Trump warned that if North Korea does not stop escalating its nuclear program, ‘They will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen.’ Then Melania said, ‘Don’t worry. He says that to me every night, and nothing ever happens.’”
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