Don’t be surprised if late night television had its highest ratings in years yesterday, as most of the country tossed and turned in bed. As it turns out, the prospect of nuclear war makes it really hard to sleep! Who knew? But unfortunately that’s the position in which we find ourselves after President Trump warned that North Korea “will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen” if it continues to pursue a nuclear arsenal.
If it was comfort you were looking for, you didn’t get it from late night television hosts, who seemed appropriately alarmed by the president’s remarks. But hey, at least their looming sense of dread is kind of funny.
Seth Meyers for one, seemed skeptical that the president possesses the appropriate negotiating skills to properly de-escalate the situation. “Yeah, that oughta cool things down,” Meyers said of Trump’s comments. Meyers then launched into an impression of Trump as a hostage negotiator. “Kill a hostage? You don’t have the balls! Plus, if you do, I’ll kill everyone outside the bank!”
Colbert meanwhile, took a much less measured approach. “I don’t want to be alarmist, but we’re all gonna die.” Perhaps realizing that he started the doomsday clock a little prematurely, Colbert backpedalled. “Thankfully, faced with the greatest challenge of his presidency, Donald Trump stepped up and in a moment of great statesmanship de-escalated the rhetoric and brought calm to our worried nation,” he said, before adding, “I’m just kidding.”
Over in Los Angeles, Jimmy Kimmel also did his best to convince us that really, there’s nothing to be worried about. “Here’s the thing,” Kimmel said. “Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un both seem like reasonable men. I’m sure everything will work out fine.”
But the cracks in Kimmel’s calm veneer also showed, as real panic shone through. “Listen, we’re sorry we made fun of you,” he said to Trump. Go back to golfing before you kill all of us!”
Kimmel then hit the streets to find out just how well-versed the average American is in geography, by asking them if they could point out North Korea on a map. As expected, they couldn’t. Unfortunately for us, neither can Donald Trump.