Late Night Tackles 2018
October 18, 2018

"Voters who actually like Republican ideas are dwindling, so to stay in power the GOP is using techniques like gerrymandering, blocking judicial appointments, and voter suppression — otherwise known as Mitch McConnell's version of the devil's triangle," Samantha Bee said on Wednesday's Full Frontal. "And this week they have outdone themselves." She breezed through recent cases of voter quashing in Arkansas and Ohio but focused on two states: North Dakota and Georgia.

Bee started with the Supreme Court upholding a North Dakota voting law that effectively prevents thousand of Native Americans from casting ballots because they have P.O. boxes, not street addresses. The law disenfranchises a key Democratic constituency "with almost surgical precision," she said, unless they follow a complicated bureaucratic maze. "We called 911 coordinators in North Dakota, and even they weren't sure how this is supposed to work — probably because its not supposed to," Bee said. And the racially disparate voter purges and suspensions by Georgia GOP Secretary of State Brian Kemp, who's overseeing his own bid for governor? She filed that under "How the f--- is that legal?"

"Republicans are getting more creative, and more shameless, about their attempts to block the vote because they know they're not popular enough to win without cheating," Bee said. (There's NSFW language.)

Popular or not, Republicans think they may have found their golden ticket. The "horrific" Brett Kavanaugh confirmation fight may have energized Democrats, "but Republicans think it may help them more," Bee said. "But is the 'red wave' real?" Full Frontal sent Allana Harkin and Mike Rubens to a Dallas Cowboys tailgate to find out, and, well, they seemed surprised at what they found. Watch below. Peter Weber

October 18, 2018

In the final stretch of the 2018 elections, Republicans have quietly dropped their plans to run on their tax cut and the economy, Samantha Bee said on Wednesday's Full Frontal. "But don't worry, because Republicans have another cool technique for getting votes without doing anything useful: The terrifying culture wars." She had a graphic ready for that, and video clips. "Republicans control all three branches of government!" she protested. "How do you play the victim when you've won everything there is to win? Well, they've found a way: Telling people that Democrats will eat them."

Bee played some ads. "I wish the left were 'crazytown,'" she said. "By the way, do you know what is actually nuts? Conflating Nancy Pelosi with a handful of masked anarchists who hate Nancy Pelosi more than any Republican." She ran through various "scary" groups, like kneeling football players, Beto O'Rourke, and especially women. "The right is really painting a picture of liberal women as deadly bitch tornado," Bee said.

The hot new attack is the incessant incantation of the word "mob" connected to "left-wing" or "Democrat." "The only time I've seen an unhinged mob of Democrats is when NPR runs out of totes," Bee joked, conceding: "Well, if anyone would know about the mob, it's Donald Trump."

"So, is this culture war bulls--t actually working? " Bee asked. "It's unclear. The typical American voter is looking around and seeing that their wages are stagnating, their health care's in danger, and their boss just bought another mega-yacht. I tend to think that's gonna matter more than a few loud pussy hats." There is NSFW language throughout. Peter Weber

October 12, 2018

In many parts of America, young voters are the Democrats' key to victory in the upcoming midterms. Unfortunately for Democrats, that "one crucial demographic is unenthusiastic a.f.," Trevor Noah said on Thursday's Daily Show. "Old people vote twice as much as young people. To me that makes no sense, because young people have to live with the effects way longer," he noted. "So the question is: Why don't young people want to go to the polls? Well, to help us get our heads around this, we're proud to announce our newest Daily Show addition, Senior Youth Correspondent Jaboukie Young-White."

Young-White started his Daily Show career by joking about how old Trevor Noah is — and Noah's 34. He complained about youth voter "suppression," and when Noah hmm-mmmed about how disenfranchisement is a big deal, Young-White told him to stop focusing on "old-people sh-t." Why do we still vote on paper, he asked. "Plus, now they want to require an ID? Where am I about to get an ID?" "Wait, you don't have a driver's license?" Noah asked. Young-White laughed, then cut deep: "Oh my god, Trevor, you are as funny as my mom said." He said voting officials should check his Uber profile and offered a few other suggestions, and you can watch below. Peter Weber

October 10, 2018

"Election 2018 is only 29 days away," Trevor Noah noted on Wednesday's Daily Show, and "one of the more interesting midterm contests is the governors race in Georgia. It's between Stacey Abrams and Brian Kemp," he explained, showing their photos, "and I'm not even going to waste time telling you which party they belong to, because come on." (Abrams is a black woman and Kemp a while male — though, to be fair, white male Democrat Ben McAdams is challenging Rep. Mia Love (R), a black woman, in Utah.) Noah brought out Roy Wood Jr. to offer his analysis of the Georgia race.

"I know many people think of Georgia as a red state, but nowadays it's a lot like old white people's feet: getting weirdly bluer and bluer," Wood said. "And that's mostly because Georgia's population is getting blacker and browner. ... And if those minority voters go her way, Stacey Abrams could become the first black woman elected governor of any state — any state! — which is ridiculous." He ran through Abrams' résumé, which includes a Yale Law degree, leadership of the Georgia legislature, and a series of "sexy-time" romantic suspense novels that Wood suggested could help her with a key demographic.

Standing between Abrams and history is Kemp, the Georgia secretary of state, Wood said, "and even Republicans look at him and go, 'goddamn, that's a Republican!'" He played an ad to prove his point. The race is on a knife's edge, and when Noah asked Wood which way he thinks it will tip, he circled back to his odd fascination with white geriatric feet. Watch below. Peter Weber

September 13, 2018

"We're 55 days from the midterm elections, and one phrase is on every pundit's lips," Samantha Bee said on Wednesday's Full Frontal: Blue wave. She wasn't buying it, explaining all the obstacles to Democrats winning control of anything. "Bottom line: Republican votes actually count more," she said. "Because of all their judicial theft, gerrymandering, and vote suppressing, Republicans have made seemingly competitive races almost impossible to win." Things are so dire, Bee said, that according to one estimate, Democrats have to turn out 15 million more voters than they did in the 2014 midterms. "Where are they going to find those kinds of numbers?" she asked. She remembered that 15 million people played "Pokémon Go" in 2016, and an app was born.

"Gamification is the idea that you can incentivize people to do something that they wouldn't necessarily always want to do, with a reward or a prize," Bee explained. "Civic engagement is important, midterms are important, and I think it would be very helpful if a little balance was restored to our current government." She flew to San Francisco to meet with a group of civic tech experts about creating an app to encourage people to vote. When those experts brainstormed a cat-centric reward scheme, she flew back to New York to meet the CEO of Brigade, who convinced her that the app had to be nonpartisan and, probably, involve trivia.

Things didn't go smoothy, Bee documented, but after lots of trial and error and audience feedback, she and collaborator Adam Werbach came up with a political comedy trivia game, "This Is Not a Game," that offers cash prizes. "If you like it, tell your friends, no matter who they vote for," Bee said, with one exception: "Don't tell Ted Cruz, I don't want to have to give him money." You can watch the journey from concept to product, and learn how to download the game, in the video below. Peter Weber

September 5, 2018

"A lot of crazy stuff happened while we were away," Jimmy Kimmel said on Tuesday's Kimmel Live, "so to get us all up to speed, here's a quick refresher of the most important events of the past two weeks." His definition of "important" is a little subjective, but President Trump and his lawyer Rudy Giuliani both made appearances at the end. "You go away two weeks, truth isn't truth anymore!" he protested.

"While we were away for our break, I tried to avoid the news, for my health," Stephen Colbert said on The Late Show. "But one little tidbit that made it's way through is that former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen pleaded guilty on eight counts," one of them implicating Trump as "an unindicted co-conspirator," followed two minutes later by Trump's former campaign chairman Paul Manafort being found guilty of several financial crimes. That may be why "Trump is not a huge fan of the 'justice system' right now," he added, reading Trump's Monday tweet-attack against Attorney General Jeff Sessions for not being partisan enough in his prosecution choices.

"So the president — who, again, is an unidicted co-conspirator in a federal felony — is openly saying the Justice Department should not prosecute criminals if they are Republicans," Colbert said. "He might as well have tweeted: 'Saw "The Purge." Great movie. Jeff Sessions won't let me do it for real because "laws." SAD! #PurgeJeff.'"

In his Tonight Show return, Jimmy Fallon caught up on some newer news. You can watch his monologue below. Peter Weber

August 1, 2018

The U.S. House race in Virginia's 5th congressional district has gone national because, well, who can resist a story about Bigfoot erotica? On Twitter over the weekend, Democrat Leslie Cockburn accused her opponent, Republican Denver Riggleman, of being "a devotee of Bigfoot erotica," posting (safe for work) images from Riggleman's Instagram feed. In the captions, Riggleman alludes to a book he's writing, The Mating Habits of Bigfoot and Why Woman Want Him.

"Now, Riggleman says the images were a joke, he insists he's not into sexy Bigfoots, he says the book he's working on — the one he posted the cover art for — is a legitimate study of people who believe in Bigfoot, and he didn't know there was such a thing as Bigfoot erotica," Jimmy Kimmel said on Tuesday's Kimmel Live. "I didn't know that, either. But I looked it up — turns out, there is."

"Yes, Bigfoot porn," Stephen Colbert said on The Late Show. "Now we know why all the photos of Bigfoot are blurred. But Riggleman says there's a perfectly good explanation for him openly posting his homemade Bigfoot erotica: He said the posts were a joke from his military buddies. Wait — you think that makes it sound better? 'We're just doing what all military buddies do, we're posting cryptozoological erotica in the middle of a congressional race. Hoo-rah!'" Still, Riggleman's clearly feeling the heat, because he just deleted a Facebook author page promoting his self-published book on Bigfoot sex.

"Look, I don't want people to think that just because we're laughing, we're kink-shaming people who are into this," Colbert deadpanned. "I believe love is love — and I love how hilarious this is." He moved on to Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek threatening to retire in 2020 — just in time for a presidential run. "If Trebek runs, I can't wait for the lawn signs," Colbert said: "Trebek 2020 — Make America in the Form of a Question Again." Peter Weber

May 7, 2018

West Virginia Republican Senate candidate Don Blankenship is the former CEO of Massey Energy, a role that landed him in jail for a year when he was convicted of conspiring to violate federal mine safety laws leading up to the deadly 2010 explosion at the Upper Big Branch Mine, John Oliver recapped on Sunday's Last Week Tonight. "And if you think he would want to steer away from any talk of what I just said in his ads, think again." In fact, he added, "if Blankenship wants to distance himself from that mine explosion, it frankly doesn't help that he talks about it all the time," blaming his incarceration on an "Obama judge" and "Obama prosecutors," and vowing to run against not just Democrats but the GOP Senate majority leader.

"He called Mitch McConnell 'Cocaine Mitch,' which is a far more badass name than this man deserves," Oliver said, and referred to McConnell's father-in-law as "a 'wealthy Chinaperson,' which on one hand is pretty racist, but on the other hand, it's also impressively gender-neutral. So maybe that should be his campaign platform: 'Don Blankenship — Bringing racism into the 21st century.'"

"Look, I know that it's tempting to write Blankenship off as a wacky outlier, but the truth is, when a party moves as far to the right as Republicans have, the fringe guys are no longer fringe," Oliver said. "They pop up all the time, and sometimes they win. And Blankenship is not only surging in the polls right now, but he recently put out an ad doubling down on everything you've seen so far." He played that ad, and offered some unsolicited advice to the man who might well become the GOP Senate nominee on Tuesday. Watch below. (There is some NSFW language). Peter Weber

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