Stephen Colbert laid into President Donald Trump during the CBS upfront presentation to advertisers on Wednesday.
Opening the annual event from Carnegie Hall, The Late Show host — who has seen his ratings climb into first place among total viewers since Trump took office — used pretty much his entire monologue to mock the president.
“It’s a great year for The Late Show,” Colbert began, “and I could not have done it without a visionary leader, a legend of television, who made the late show what it is — thank you, Donald Trump.”
“It’s an honor to be on stage every night talking about that day’s Trump scandal,” he continued. “Unfortunately, the hour I spend on stage means I’m often missing the breaking news of tomorrow’s Trump scandal. So by the time a monologue airs I can sound as out of touch as about the White House as Sean Spicer does.” Colbert then mocked Spicer for last week’s report that he spoke to press among bushes outside the White House. “Speaking of Sean Spicer, I don’t know if you’ve seen him lately, it helps to have a pair of hedge trimmers around.”
Of his monologue, Colbert said it felt like “a White House press conference.”
“I’m out here, I’m just going to say whatever my boss told me to, and I’m going to leave without answering any of your questions,” he joked. Colbert also referenced the news earlier this month that the FCC was investigating complaints against the host, who used the term “c— holster” to describe Trump on an episode of The Late Show. (The swear was bleeped and aired during what the FCC deems safe harbor.)
“This administration has been just as strange as I imagined it would be. At this point, there’s really only one word to describe this president and the FCC is asking us not use it anymore,” he said. “The president recently had some harsh words to say about me. He said my language is not appropriate for The Late Show because kids are watching. Who says only old people watch CBS? Thank you, Mr. President! Clearly, we’re number one in the coveted demo of age 6-to-10 insomniacs.”
Colbert added, “The president and I have this in common: We’re both TV hosts who spend most of our time talking about Donald Trump. Of course, unlike Trump my guests know they’re being taped.”
Before heading off-stage, Colbert took a shot at Trump’s failure to win the popular vote over Hillary Clinton in the presidential election last fall. “I understand the president doesn’t like my show. But like his votes on election day, he’s in the minority. Because right now The Late Show is No. 1 in late night.”
He also joked about Trump’s relationship with Russian leader Vladimir Putin. “Today you will learn about our exciting fall lineup — unless the president has already leaked it to Russia. I hear Vladimir Putin just finished binge watching the first season of Young Sheldon.”
Colbert then introduced CBS Corp. CEO Leslie Moonves.
“I love that guy,” Moonves said. “The show is up in every demo, including FCC investigators 18 to 49 … and if you think that I love Stephen more now just because he’s number one, you’re right… Who would have thought a year ago Stephen would be No. 1 and Bill O’Reilly would be doing a podcast in his underwear?”