January 6th, 2021, will forever be a dark day in America’s history. Domestic terrorists, in support of outgoing president and piece of shit, wannabe-dictator Donald Trump, stormed the Capital Building in Washington D.C. It was an attack that was every bit inevitable as it was detestable.
I, like many people, was glued to my TV for most of the day. Not simply out of worry and curiosity, but out of paralyzing fear. To say I wasn’t excited to sit down and write about late-night comedy was an understatement. “Surely I should watch Matt Gaetz spew shithead, nonsense conspiracy theories from the same floor that a mere hours early was held hostage before our very eyes,” I thought. I was wrong. It turns out that these late-night comedians were just what I needed.
This is not the first time that late-night shows have acted as a much-needed chaser to a 140 proof piss poor event. Their sweet, soothing relief has been there after 9/11, after Charlottesville, hell, even just a few months ago. Bringing a mix of humor and hope, late night hosts are often adept at helping you through the pain, while not letting you forget that tomorrow you’re probably going to be hungover.
I won’t go into detail about every segment and interview (though many are worth checking out) but will instead focus on the opening monologues.
Let’s start with Jimmy Fallon, arguably the most gleeful of the current array of hosts. His often sunny disposition was significantly dampened by today’s events and it shows. It shows because he doesn’t hide it. From the moment he appears on camera, his presence is sobering and sullen, but also calm and reassuring. His was the first monologue I watched and honestly got me pretty choked up, even with its brief runtime.
Next up we have James Corden, who appears before camera looking like he just finished crying. And ya know, dude, same. Presenting a lighter tone, James eventually tried to move on to happier news of the day, like Jon Ossoff’s Georgia victory. He even pokes fun at Ossoff’s admirable nerdiness. For a brief moment, I was so taken in by Corden’s willingness to not stay down in the dumps that I almost forgot today even happened. Almost.
Jimmy Kimmel, man. There’s a palpable anger in his monologue that really got me hyped. Not irrational, fiery anger but “I’m gonna smack the shit outta somebody” anger. Jimmy takes shot after shot at the f***heads responsible for today. Not only those who invaded the Capital but those who empowered them. It was incredibly cathartic and ended with a video package that, while deeply somber, makes it very clear who we need to blame for all this. It also gets bonus points for literally making Ted Cruz look like the f***ing clown that he is.
Seth Meyers, elsewhere, called for the “immediate removal” of Donald Trump from office.
It should come to no surprise that Stephen Colbert busted out his stern, daddy voice. Colbert is able to switch from joke to admonishment and back again with expert fluidity. His passion and empathy spills out of every pore in his body as he lands joke after joke. I was looking forward to Colbert’s monologue the most and he did not disappoint.
I hope these monologues helped you as much as they did me. In less than three months, I’ll be a father. My feelings of joy and excitement are just as overwhelming as my feelings of anxiety and dread. I was thrilled to think that my children would not be born into a country that was run by Donald Trump. But, instead, they will be born into a country that is forever stained by him.
But I have hope. Hope that we will move on from this, but not forget it. Hope that we will laugh and learn together. That good people will lead us out of the darkness and make this world safe for generations to come. I feel fear, but goddammit, I have hope.
Header Image Source: NBC