Opinion: Late night TV in Trump’s America



Every week-day since around the time Donald Trump took office, my morning routine has included watching Stephen Colbert and Seth Meyers’s monologues from the night before. I load both clips on YouTube and, as I fill my coffee machine with water, I listen to Colbert conversationally recall Trump’s most recent actions and blunders – a live studio audience laughing about every twenty seconds or so. As I drink my coffee and get dressed, I switch to Meyers’s monologue, which generally covers the same stories as Colbert’s, albeit with a delivery that is deadpan where Colbert’s cheeky. After I’ve been briefed, I walk to class, comforted by the calm, charming demeanor of the two men who brought me up to speed.

I start my mornings with Colbert and Meyers, not with their late-night competitors, Jimmy Kimmel or Jimmy Fallon, because Colbert and Meyers prioritize politics on their shows. Indeed, this penchant for the political has garnered both hosts millions of new viewers since the start of the 2016 election season. I want to remain informed of Trump’s administration – up to date on all of the major mistakes, announcements, and legislative news of the day. But, like most people, I have more immediate worries than week-long Twitter feuds and month-long policy battles. Furthermore, as someone who is frequently disturbed by news coming out of this White House, I prefer to attend my morning classes without the existential angst that straight news increasingly induces. Colbert and Meyers comically grapple with the political issues of the day, offering me the news without paralyzing me with fear.

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