At a time when, as Jimmy Fallon noted during his Monday monologue, the leader of the free world should probably have his mind on more pressing matters, Donald Trump has spent a whole lot of time lobbing childish insults at people who make jokes about him. On Tuesday’s Late Show, it was Stephen Colbert’s turn to make that same point, since Trump spent part of his most recent fact-averse pep rally mocking the Late Night host right in Colbert’s own backyard of South Carolina. And while Fallon responded with some of his signature “aw shucks, I’m just silly Jimmy” half-jabs (although he did donate to the immigrants’ rights group RAICES in Trump’s name), Colbert came out armed with some down home South Carolina anger—and a surgically chosen archival late-night clip for rebuttal. (He can also do that cool thing with his ear.)
Joking about Trump’s attack on a certain unnamed “guy on CBS” as “a lowlife,” Colbert first stuck up for Late Late Show host James Corden. “Did you see his Carpool Karaoke with Paul McCartney?,” Colbert asked incredulously. But, after conceding that Trump’s thin-skinned whining was indeed about him, Colbert, calling himself “a favorite son of the Palmetto State,” accused Trump of being too cowardly to actually call him out personally, claiming that, like Beetlejuice, Colbert manifests back in his home state if you say his name three times. (“It’s actually very hard on my personal life,” claimed Colbert, who also took part in a cross-network late-night team-up of Trump targets earlier in the show.) Taking up Trump’s gauntlet, Colbert used the power of late-night to summon a defender, as he responded to Trump’s praise of Tonight Show legend Johnny Carson (as opposed to those present day meanies who muss his hair and call him on his incessant racist bullshit). Agreeing with Trump that the late Carson was a brilliant late-night comedian, Colbert played a clip of a long-ago Carson one-liner demonstrating just how long Donald Trump has been a complete joke.