The Late Show With Stephen Colbert (Photo: Scott Kowalchyk/CBS)

Last Week Tonight host John Oliver’s appearance on last night’s Late Show With Stephen Colbert was a lot of things. It was a reunion of old Daily Show correspondents and current go-to political comedy stars, swapping war stories. (Russia is not friendly to such satirical wiseasses, as Colbert described the intimidating “extras from John Wick” who hung out in the hotel lobby during the recent trip that will form the backbone of next week’s Late Show “Russia week.”) It was a personal “hell” for Oliver, who could only respond with unwonted, lawyer-advised, poker-faced silence to pal Colbert prodding him for details about that whole ridiculous lawsuit thing going on. (And he didn’t even bring up Mr. Nutterbutter.) But mainly it was a meeting of the minds between two guys who do nothing professionally these days but mull over the exact dimensions and dangers of the black hole currently threatening to swallow American democracy. On that front, the two could only do what they do on their respective TV shows every night: Laugh—and make Colbert’s audience laugh—at how, as Oliver put it, “we are turbo-fucked.”

While, for the third night in a row since returning from vacation, Colbert was obviously tickled at how similarly boned presidential scion (and incompetently crooked heir from a Columbo episode), Donald Trump Jr. appears to be. Oliver piped in that, when he coined the moniker “Stupid Watergate” for the rapidly unfolding Trump-Russia scandal of incompetents, even he didn’t imagine that the son of the president would tweet out conclusive, incriminating emails of his own volition. Still, while it’s gonna be funny when you get Oliver and Colbert talking politics, their analysis of the ungodly mess we’re in as a nation was ultimately pretty sobering. Referring to the mounting evidence (and, you know, outright admission) of, as Colbert put it, Trump and company “colluding with a hostile foreign power to sway an election,” the two ruminated on how we may have gone so far into madness that what would have been the prelude to ignominious disgrace for the House of Trump may fizzle out in a chorus of braying, dismissive douchebags on Twitter and Fox News. “This is something as long as we live in a world where something means anything, and I’m not sure that we do any more,” pronounced Oliver. Which is about as bleak an assessment of America’s chances as you can make while still getting a laugh. (Last Week Tonight returns from hiatus on July 30.)

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