Donald Trump probably should have waited until after Tuesday’s late night shows taped to fire FBI Director James Comey. Instead, Trevor Noah, Jimmy Kimmel and Stephen Colbert got to react to the stunning news basically in real time. Boy, did they go in.
“Wow,” Trevor Noah said at the top of Tuesday night’s The Daily Show taping. “You can’t just fire the FBI director. If he’s gone, who’s going to investigate Russia’s ties to—oh.” Noah looked visibly shocked by Tuesday’s developments, but also gave the President props for the sheer size of his balls. “This is insane,” Noah said of Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein’s memo to the President, in which he cited Comey’s handling of the Clinton email case as the reason for his dismissal. “Do you understand the excuse Trump is giving? Trump is basically saying he’s doing this because of what Comey did to Hillary. That is the most gangsta excuse I’ve ever heard.”
Jimmy Kimmel—whose health care crusade has suddenly launched him to the forefront of the resistance—compared Comey’s firing to “O.J. firing Judge Ito halfway through the trial.” Just as he did in his emotional monologue about his son’s operation, Kimmel mixed in some sobering truths in with his jokes. “This is the kind of thing dictators do,” Kimmel said. “This is the kind of thing reality TV hosts do — they fire someone every week. Maybe that’s what happened: he still thinks he’s on the Celebrity Apprentice.”
But perhaps the most visceral reaction Tuesday night came from Trump’s nemesis, Stephen Colbert. After explaining that he’d heard the Comey news minutes before beginning his monologue, the audience cheered, presumably because the left-leaning crowd still harbored ill will towards Comey for the part he played in Hillary Clinton’s election loss. “Huge, huge Donald Trump fans here tonight,” Colbert said.
But when Colbert explained the news further, the cheers were preplaced by boos. “My heart is thumping, my pulse is racing,” Colbert said. “He fired the F.B.I. director who has said, under oath, that he’s investigating the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia. No rationale has been given yet as to why but it came under the recommendation of Attorney General Jeff Sessions.”