In today’s climate, that means at least one thing in the pop culture world: The comedic weaponry of network television’s late-night hosts was loaded with fresh ammunition. And boy did they use it.
First, the revelations. These were fairly mind-blowing, even for this presidency. The story is here, and well worth reading to the very end. Go ahead, we’ll wait.
And here is a follow-up phone call between President Trump and Woodward, which is equally as mind-blowing.
Got all that?
Okay, great. Now, here’s what the late-night hosts had to say.
“The Late Show With Stephen Colbert”
A (somewhat) bearded Stephen Colbert talked about his (kind of) beard for a moment before diving in by saying, “It seems like an explosive book about the White House comes out every few minutes at this point.”
The one he wanted to talk about, though, was Woodward’s “Fear,” which he said is “a book named after the emotion Trump feels whenever he sees a book.”
Of all the late-night hosts, Colbert dug the deepest into the recently published revelations, milking them for about five full minutes of jokes.
First, he took issue with White House Chief of Staff John F. Kelly claiming his current position is the worst job he’s ever had by saying the worst job Kelly will really ever have “will be explaining to your grandkids why you worked for the big, orange baby-cager.”
Colbert also used a portion of the book reported in CNN in which Trump yelled at his generals about Afghanistan, “You should be killing guys. You don’t need a strategy to kill people.”
“Yes! And who needs a strategy in war,” Colbert quipped. “We all remember what Eisenhower said at D-Day: ‘Helter Skelter, little piggies!’ ”
Colbert also used a quote in which, Woodward wrote, Mattis said Trump, “had the understanding of — ‘a fifth- or sixth-grader’ ” for a gag featuring a photo of comedian Jeff Foxworthy and Trump with the text, “Are You Smarter Than the President?” — a reference to Foxworthy’s game show “Are You Smarter than a 5th Grader?”
The fictional game show is “the show where everyone’s a winner,” Colbert joked.
The comedian also brought up part of the book in which Trump mocks Attorney General Jeff Sessions, an Alabamian, by calling him “this dumb Southerner.”
“You know what? As a South Carolinian, that is a hurtful stereotype, sir. Not all Southerners are dumb,” he said. “Just the ones willing to work for you.”
Colbert closed by reiterating one of the most shocking anecdotes from the book: that Trump’s former lawyer John Dowd and his lawyer Jay Sekulow conducted a practice interview with Trump about the Russia investigation. They were so appalled by how it went that, according to the book, they met with special counsel Robert S. Mueller III and reenacted it as proof that Trump wasn’t fit to testify.
“Those are his lawyers trying to help him not go to jail,” an incredulous Colbert said before impersonating a fictional lawyer. “Your honor, my client could easily take the stand and say he never killed anyone, but if we let him in here, he will kill everyone.”
“The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon”
As is his wont, Jimmy Fallon kept his commentary on the book brief, simply using one of the more distressing revelations as a bridge to make a silly joke about Trump’s son.
He pointed out that Trump, in a profane matter, called condemning the white supremacist attacks in Charlottesville one of his biggest mistakes.
“Then Trump looked at Don Jr. and said, ‘Actually, second-biggest mistake,’ ” Fallon joked, before impersonating the president and adding, “I’m sorry, Donny, come back Donny!”
“Jimmy Kimmel Live!”
Jimmy Kimmel, meanwhile, simply repeated excerpts from the book and laughed, before saying, “It’s a good thing Donald Trump doesn’t read books, because I think this one would make him very upset.”
“Of course, these guys are all denying they said any of this stuff,” Kimmel added, referring to the immediate backlash the book has received from the White House.
“White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Whatever said that the book is ‘nothing more than fabricated stories made by former, disgruntled employees told to make the president look bad,’ ” Kimmel continued before adding his own commentary. “Right, otherwise he’d look great if it wasn’t for this. … At this point, the Trump administration has had more men-tell-alls than ‘The Bachelorette.’ ”
“Late Night with Seth Meyers”
Seth Meyers wasted no time getting to the book, merely asking his studio audience how they were before jumping in.
“I don’t think Trump’s going to like it, because it’s a book,” he joked.
“According to Woodward’s new book, Trump once told Rudy Giuliani that he was a baby. And then, out of habit, he added, ‘But I’m not the father,’ ” Meyers said.
The comedian later brought it up in his “A Closer Look” segment, playing part of the recorded phone conversation between Trump and Woodward.
During the conversation, Woodward explained that he spoke to many people and that the resulting book is “a tough look at the world and your administration and you.”
“Right, well, I assume that means it’s going to be a negative book,” Trump responded.
“Oh my God,” Meyers laughed. “He’s like a guy who doesn’t understand why he’s being dumped.”
Meyers then assumed the voice of the fictional woman dumping him.
“‘I’m breaking up with you because you’re dumb, annoying, selfish, ugly, and I don’t like you, and I’m not attracted to you in anyway,’” Meyers said, before assuming the voice of the dumpee.
“‘So it sounds like you’re on the fence about going to prom with me?’”