Stephen Colbert
Screenshot: The Late Show

If you were someone who thought it wise to record every late-night show’s live election coverage of the midterm elections on Tuesday, you should be finished catching up right . . . about . . . Friday. Stephen Colbert, Seth Meyers, Jimmy Kimmel, and Trevor Noah all went live to run down the results, implications, upsets, people who were upset, laughers, criers, and banana republic-style voting “irregularities” (Seriously, power cords, Georgia Republicans?) that made up what turned out to be the traditional longest fucking night ever. As one should expect, it was sort of a mixed bag, election-wise, although there were plenty of feel-good stories to, well, feel good about. Floridians returned the franchise to over a million felons who’ve paid their debt. There were U.S. election firsts aplenty. Sharice Davids (D-KS) and Deb Haaland (D-NM) will be the first Native American women elected to Congress. (Davids is also a lesbian and former MMA fighter, just to add some firsts in there.) Ayanna Pressley (D-MA) became the first black woman elected to Congress from Massachusetts, while a record number of women are projected to be taking it to the House. Jared Polis (D-CO) is the first openly gay man elected governor. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) and Ilhan Omar (D-MN) are the first two Muslim women elected to Congress, while Texas elected its first ever Latina Congresswomen, Veronica Escobar and Sylvia Garcia. Oh, and racist, vote-suppressing jackass Kris Kobach (R-Noplace) lost.

And while there were some prime turds in the Election Night punchbowl in the lumpy forms of Ted Cruz, indicted California Republican Duncan Hunter, unapologetically racist Florida Republican Ron DeSantis, and the occasional dead pimp, the Democrats took back the House in decisive fashion, leaving fans of a functioning system of checks and balances with a weary song in their hearts. Along those lines, Stephen Colbert took a deep breath before his long, long night of election coverage and frantically speculating guest experts to give voice to the patriotically hopeful yet jaded little song-and-dance man inside of him. (Maybe he was just making up for the fact that noted goofball songbirds Jimmy Fallon and James Corden just took the whole thing off on Tuesday.)

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Colbert, dusting off the musical theater chops he revealed in no less impressive a place than the 2011 Broadway production of Stephen Sondheim’s Company, introduced the polling-station-set bit by “pretending to vote,” and telling his audience that, since the bit was taped before the election, he has no idea how he’ll feel on the night. Bursting out in enthusiastic, not-at-all-bad voice, Colbert then launched into an impressively catchy show tune called “We’re Stuck In This Together,” that saw the host proclaiming “What a strange couple of centuries the last two years have been.” The slyly tunefully ditty went on to gamely argue that it’s not necessarily a bad thing we’re all crammed into the American experiment cheek-by-jowl, even if, as Colbert sings, that experiment has produced something akin to a leaky, high-pressure submarine, with screen doors, no contact with the surface, and fire extinguishers filled with gasoline. With cameo appearances by some alternately chipper and hostile backup dancers, Abraham Lincoln, and God, Colbert, in the puckishly happy chorus, crooned “You’ve got no choice/But to love your neighbor/There’s no one else here to love.” Musically concluding that “we’ll all crumple together” in what may be “the last election ever,” Colbert finally threw back to himself live in the studio, and the prospect of another long, prosaic night of politics.