On election night, Late Show host Stephen Colbert had the unenviable task of trying to put on a live comedy special on Showtime while the results were pouring in. By the end of the evening, a visibly stunned Colbert gave a haggard monologue about the monster that politics has become, doing his best to avoid looking at the audience or the camera as he talked about how brutal and divisive this election was. He then jumped into an explicitly silly bit about voting on things we can all agree on like Kit Kats and the overabundance of Portlands.
Now, via The Hollywood Reporter, Colbert has opened up about that evening as part of an event with Last Week Tonight host John Oliver. The two-hour discussion was called “Wow, That Was Weird,” and it involved Colbert and Oliver looking back on the election and discussing what life might be like in Trump’s America. During the event, Colbert talked about some finished segments that had been planned for the Showtime special but had to be dropped when the results started to come in, including a sequence featuring several naked men who had “I’m with her” painted on their butts.
The most interesting thing, though, is that Colbert didn’t even have anything planned out in the event of a decisive Trump victory. He says they had three different shows all lined up: One for Hillary Clinton winning, one for Clinton probably winning but the results not being in yet, and one for Trump probably winning but the results not being in yet. When his writers asked what they should do if Trump was clearly winning, Colbert said “there is nothing you can write.” He explained that he had to put on a live show for 400 people, and if Trump was winning it would “be like doing stand-up comedy for one of those Chilean soccer stadiums where the villagers watch you execute one of the natives.” Colbert thinks there are “two and a half whole shows” of material that nobody will ever get to see now, and he described the Showtime special as “the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life.”
Colbert also made a point to say that writing jokes about Trump and his upcoming presidency isn’t exactly fun, noting that the next person who says “you must be happy on a certain level” to him is “going to have their eye carved out.”