Late night TV's best political moments of 2016
This unusually turbulent election resulted in boom times for the late-night industrial complex. The usual suspects — the likes of Stephen Colbert, Seth Meyers, Saturday Night Live, and so on — upped their games this year. At the same time, we also saw a worthy crop of newcomers make names for themselves too (looking at you, Full Frontal With Samantha Bee).
Given the bounty of comedy goodness late-night provided throughout the election, we thought it’d be fitting to look back at some of the year’s best moments. Here, an unranked list some of our favorite moments in political comedy (and a little drama).
SAMANTHA BEE’S OBAMA INTERVIEW
The Full Frontal host interviewed the president on Halloween and got him to talk about spooky stuff like sexism, climate change, and — scariest of all —millennials.
JOHN OLIVER’S “MAKE DONALD DRUMPF AGAIN” SEGMENT
The rabble-rousing Last Week Tonight host sparked a catchphrase-slash-movement when he urged voters to call then candidate Trump by his amusing ancestral family name.
“A CLOSER LOOK” ON LATE NIGHT WITH SETH MEYERS
His single-topic segments, on everything from email scandals to Black Lives Matter, consistently pulled off a rare hat trick by being clever, insightful, and viral all at once.
STEPHEN COLBERT’S LIVE ELECTION-NIGHT SPECIAL
Like many, the Late Show host was clearly caught by surprise that night during his Showtime special, but that didn’t stop him from delivering a somber, graceful rumination on the state of our politics.
TOMI LAHREN APPEARS ON THE DAILY SHOW WITH TREVOR NOAH
Trevor Noah may not have been the biggest late night star throughout the election, but his stock certainly rose shortly after it when he remained poised as conservative Tomi Lahren from The Blaze compared the Black Lives Matter movement to the Ku Klux Klan.
MICHELLE OBAMA DOES “CARPOOL KARAOKE”
With James Corden at the wheel, FLOTUS obliterated a playlist that included Beyoncé, Stevie Wonder, and Missy Elliott — with Missy Elliott in the car.
ALEC BALDWIN AND KATE MCKINNON AS TRUMP AND CLINTON ON SNL
Baldwin’s wild wigs and absurd pouts were so good, you might say they were presidential. But it was McKinnon’s spirited Clinton impersonation that won our popular vote.
HILLARY CLINTON ON BETWEEN TWO FERNS
Visiting Zach Galifianakis’ delightful talk show is a rite of passage for politicians — even if it means answering, “Any regrets over losing the Scott Baio vote?”
OBAMA’S FINAL WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENTS’ DINNER ROUTINE
“Obama out,” POTUS declared just before dropping the mic. It wasn’t late night TV per se, but it was possibly the coolest thing to happen at Nerd Prom.