Stephen Colbert and Trevor Noah offered their live reactions to the contentious, and very loud, Democratic debate Tuesday, the last before the South Carolina primary this weekend and then Super Tuesday, March 3rd.
Both hosts summed up the chaotic mood of the debate in the opening moments of their shows. On The Late Show, Colbert pulled an index card from his pocket to read his favorite quote of the night — a torrent of garbled nonsense — while Noah opened The Daily Show with a 30-second montage of shouting and cross-talk.
In his monologue, Colbert highlighted some of the key moments and dynamics at play, from Bernie Sanders’ old-man pugnaciousness (“I had a decaf at 5:30 this morning and I am amped!” Colbert bellowed in a thick Brooklyn accent) to Amy Klobuchar’s extremely Midwestern worldview. When answering a question about President Donald Trump’s diplomatic strategy, Klobuchar said it was akin to bringing a “hot dish” to the dictator next door.
“I lived in the Midwest — do you know what’s in hot dish?” Colbert quipped. “The vegetable is tater tot. Technically, bringing a hot dish to a foreign leader counts as an assassination attempt.”
But the bulk of Colbert’s monologue was spent roasting billionaire former New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg. When Bloomberg — who infamously implemented a racist stop-and-frisk policy in New York — tried to explain how talking with black leaders had helped him understand how to better position himself, Colbert deadpanned, “Mr. Mayor, I have a feeling that a lot of black leaders want your position to be spread-eagle, up against a wall.”
Noah didn’t pull any punches on Bloomberg either. He highlighted Elizabeth Warren’s continued demolition of the mayor, and also an incredibly awkward slip of the tongue when Bloomberg barely caught himself boasting that he “bought” the Democratic politicians he donated money to. Gleefully imitating Bloomberg, Noah cracked, “There are tons of Democratic candidates that I’ve bought, I mean that I own, I mean that I paid, I mean that I bribed — that’s poor peoples’ words!”
At the end of his opening segment, Noah turned away from the debate to the next phase of the Democratic primary, noting that the basic math suggested that Sanders’ chances of clinching the nomination were practically assured as long as every moderate refused to drop out of the race.
Noah then aired a faux Sanders campaign ad that “encouraged” Bloomberg, Klobuchar, and Pete Buttigieg to stay in the race. The only person to not receive a boost? Tom Steyer. “You should quit, and stop calling me,” cracked a Bernie impersonator. “It’s getting creepy!”