Can you think of a story primed more for late-night TV monologues than “stolen nude celebrity photos”? As expected, late-night comedians across broadcast and cable had a field day with the news that a hacker stole hundreds of racy images of Hollywood stars.
Still, it’s a difficult line to walk, because there’s nothing funny about the situation. In fact, it’s actually a serious crime and doesn’t deserve any jokes. But this topic is obviously irresistible for late-night hosts — many took aim at the incident Tuesday, their first night back since the story broke.
Here are some of the tactics used to cover it:
Make fun of Apple
Even though Apple is denying that iCloud hacking was the problem, multiple hosts aimed their barbs at the company. “I am your host, former iCloud user Jimmy Fallon,” Fallon introduced himself.
“Just yesterday, the iCloud started raining nude celebrities,” Craig Ferguson said.
“I still think the CEO of Apple should be forced to apologize in the nude, right?” Jimmy Kimmel asked.
Later, Kimmel took this shot: “Apple is believed to be partnering with American Express on a new mobile payment system that would replace carrying credit cards around. That way you can can lose your naked pictures and all your money in one easy step.”
And then Conan O’Brien: “It’s rumored that next week the new iPhone is going to come out. It’s going to come with a larger screen, more memory, and it can leak celebrity photos twice as fast.”
Make fun of Kim Kardashian
The reality star’s name was on the list of alleged stars hacked, so this was a very popular trope. As even the most naive late-night viewer knows, Kim Kardashian isn’t shy about taking risque photos.
“A hacker got into Apple’s iCloud and leaked nude photos of several celebrities including Jennifer Lawrence and Kim Kardashian,” Fallon started. “Jennifer wants to sue the hacker for damages, while Kim wants to pay the hacker for his troubles.”
“Kim Kardashian had her pictures leaked. She’s furious. Because she wanted to leak them herself,” Ferguson said. “Kim says the pictures were taken back in the day when she was desperate for attention — so, yesterday.” (Even Geoff the Robot weighed in with, “Meow!” for that one.)
Conan: “A spokesperson for Jennifer Lawrence is calling her nude leaked photos a ‘flagrant violation of privacy.’ Meanwhile, Kim Kardashian is calling her nude leaked photos ‘stuff I was going to release next week.’ ”
Make fun of the FBI
The FBI announcing within a day that they were investigating? Yeah, there was plenty to say about that.
Fallon: “The FBI is now investigating the celebrity nude photo scandal. Marking the first time those shirts that say ‘female body inspector’ are actually right.”
David Letterman: “So now the FBI says, ‘Okay, we’re going to find those naked pictures, and we’re going to get to the bottom of this.’ That’s what the FBI said … whoa! Tough assignment. You know what I mean? ‘I got it, Bob.’ ‘No, let me take care of this one, Larry.’ ”
Conan: “The FBI has said that it is fully addressing the celebrity photo hacking scandal. The head of the FBI said he is personally addressing it five, sometimes six times an hour.”
Lectures about privacy laws
As usual, Letterman was the adult in the situation. “This is serious stuff,” Letterman told his audience. “Hackers have hacked into accounts, e-mail and telephone accounts, of celebrities who are naked. And they now have those naked photos, and that’s a crime.”
“You can take 1,000 pictures of yourself naked, and it’s nobody’s business but yours. It’s a violation of privacy,” he continued. “Hacking into your instruments and stealing your naked photos — I know it sounds superficial … but it’s a crime. You can’t do this.”
Stephen Colbert had this to say: “Folks, I condemn this gross violation of privacy because everyone takes nude selfies nowadays,” he pointed out. “Keep your phone in your pocket right next to your genitals, it’s only a matter of time before they get together after a couple of drinks.”
“Defend” the celebrities
“Some make the argument that celebrities shouldn’t be storing private pictures using their phones and computers. It’s a silly thing to say,” Kimmel said.
He used the analogy that if someone mailed a nude photo on a Polaroid and someone at the Post Office opened it up and made copies, no one would blame the person who sent the letter. “If that happened, would anybody go, ‘Well, that’s what they get for trusting an insecure system?’ No. They blame the guy who did it, right?”
“And by the way,” Kimmel added, “why do we need to steal naked photos of Kate Upton when we already have this?” An image appeared of a topless Upton in a magazine photo shoot. “What more do you want from the woman?”
Make it all about themselves
“It’s especially embarrassing for me because I happen to be one of the people who got caught up in this,” said Kimmel as a photo of a woman in very short shorts was shown on the screen. “Somehow these animals got this intimate photograph of me at the gym.”
Craig Ferguson had a similar tactic: “I’m very angry about this. One of the leaked selfies is me,” he said, presenting a picture of his head photoshopped onto an absurdly muscular wrestler. “Those bastards hacked into my cloud. It’s already on the Internet, so you may as well see it.”
Ferguson also admitted he wasn’t quite up on the technology terms: “Someone hacked ‘the cloud.’ The cloud is something I don’t really understand. I don’t understand it. It’s like dub-step. Or whatever language Honey Boo Boo speaks.”
“That’s why I love my BlackBerry. It is so secure, I’m not even sure how or if it’s even possible to take a photo with it,” said Seth Meyers. “So be my guest, hackers. While you’re in there, let me know if you can figure out how to check e-mail.”
Make fun of teenage boys
Fallon talked about kids going back to school and how girls are getting ready to return to classes while “boys are still recovering from all the hacked photos of actresses they checked out over the weekend.”
Stephen Colbert said he believed the story was broken by a 14-year-old from Akron, Ohio, “who has diligently spent the last year Googling the phrase ‘Kate Upton naked.’ ”
“Great investigative work, Benjamin. I’d like to shake your hand,” Colbert said, before pausing. “Actually, you know what? On second thought, thumbs up.”
Make fun of people who looked for the photos
Jimmy Kimmel: “I think you can tell how good or bad a person you are, based on how many seconds you wait to Google “Jennifer Lawrence nude” after hearing the news. Anything under 60, you’re going to hell.”
Make fun of the media
“I stand with the Huffington Post, which posted a searing op-ed shaming anyone who looked at or shared these photos. So do not — I mean this — do not go look at these photos,” Colbert said. “You don’t need to. Instead, check out all the sideboob and nip slips on HuffPost’s actual sideboob page.”