Can someone help these late-night hosts, please? They are all at a loss when it comes to the Jussie Smollett case after prosecutors dropped all criminal charges against the Empire star on Tuesday.
“For those of you who have not been following the story, let me catch you up… I don’t know,” Stephen Colbert said on The Late Show.
“Jussie was set free but he’s not innocent, but he’s also not guilty. What?!” exclaimed The Daily Show‘s Trevor Noah.
A Cook County grand jury handed down indictments against Smollett in March after Chicago police believed the actor’s alleged attack was really a staged stunt orchestrated by Smollet. Smollett maintained his innocence throughout the proceedings that followed, although prosecutor Joseph Magats does “not believe he is innocent.” Smollett further completed 16 hours of community service and forfeited his $10,000 bond to the city of Chicago.
So, you can see why many late-night personalities, including James Corden and Jimmy Kimmel, had a WTF response to the news.
“Isn’t it a hopeful sign for America that regardless of your race or sexual orientation, all rich, famous people get off easily?” Colbert quipped. “It’s hopeful… I believe it was Martin Luther King who said, ‘I have a dream that one day, the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will hire the very best publicists to leverage their social media profile, escape charges, and then make a big comeback on The Masked Singer!”
Noah did find some humor in the situation: “I think it’s pretty hilarious to see Chicago cops on the other side of a case-gone-wrong for once.”
“So that’s where we are right now,” he added, “the weirdest news story in America. I feel like in a week we’re gonna turn on CNN and find out Smollett is now dating Mike Pence after they met at an R. Kelly concert.”
Kimmel, who made it his personal mission to unravel the mystery of Washington state’s Gonzaga University (he thinks it doesn’t exist), joked, “The police apparently became suspicious when the alleged attackers claimed they went to Gonzaga University.”
“All charges today were dropped,” he added. “The Mayor of Chicago Rahm Emanuel and the police superintendent are furious that they dropped the charges. The mayor says this is a whitewash of justice, but that’s how it’s going now — everyone we think committed crimes, didn’t. R. Kelly and Felicity Huffman, you’re free to go.”
In tackling the news of the day, Corden touched upon the Smollett drama. “If nothing else, he is now qualified to be the President of the United States,” he said, referring to how the report from Special Counsel Robert Mueller neither confirmed Trump’s involvement with Russian collusion attempts nor exonerated him.
“It is very impressive that that one person might be too much drama for the show Empire,” Corden said.