Stephen Colbert responded with glee to President Trump’s criticism of him on the Thursday night edition of “Late Show.” He declared that he has won the war between them, since Trump’s statements will only help Colbert’s ratings.
He also taunted Trump by saying he should resign in order to hurt Colbert’s ratings (since Colbert would then have nothing left to joke).
Colbert has surged to the No. 1 ranking in late night television by making stinging jokes about Trump on a nightly basis. On May 1, Colbert used an obscene phrase in his monologue, in a Trump joke, and that led to calls from Trump supporters to fire him (even though the phrase was bleeped out, so that only the studio audience heard it).
All this has clearly got to Trump, who called the Montclair resident a “no-talent guy” with “nothing funny about what he says” in an interview with Time magazine.
The content of the Time interview was all over the Internet on Thursday, so it’s not surprising that Colbert devoted a large part of his monologue to it, Thursday night.
Here’s what Trump said in the interview:
You see a no-talent guy like Colbert. There’s nothing funny about what he says. And what he says is filthy. And you have kids watching. And it only builds up my base. It only helps me, people like him. The guy was dying. By the way, they were going to take him off television, then he started attacking me and he started doing better. But his show was dying. I’ve done his show. … But when I did his show, which by the way was very highly rated. It was high—highest rating. The highest rating he’s ever had.
And this was Colbert’s response, on “Late Show”:
Mr. Trump: There’s a lot you don’t understand. But I never thought one of those things would be show business. Don’t you know I’ve been trying for a year to get you to say my name? And you were very restrained. Admirably restrained. But now you did it. I won.
Oh please, don’t make me trend on Twitter again! Don’t throw me in that hashtag briar patch. But you’re not wrong. … I do occasionally use adult language, and I do it in public, instead of in the privacy of an “Access Hollywood” bus. And it’s true … the night you appeared on this show, it was very highly rated. In fact, the only episode that got better ratings was the night I had Jeb Bush on. That’s right. You got beat by low-energy Jeb. But don’t worry, you won the ratings college … and making jokes about you has been good about for ratings. It’s almost as if the majority of Americans didn’t want you to be President.
But you know who’s got really bad ratings these days? You do. Terrible approval numbers. I hear they’re thinking about switching your time slot with Mike Pence.
Since all of my success is clearly based on talking about you, if you really want to take me down, there’s an obvious way: Resign. … If you did that, what would I talk about then? Except your resignation, ’cause that’d be fun.
And here’s the thing: A President going after someone telling jokes is unprecedented. That would be like Richard Nixon going after Alfred E. Neuman. And if I may, Mr. President, I’d like to quote that great man. “What, me worry?”