Late Night Hosts Celebrate Trump’s Indictment: “Historic and It’s Funny”

The news that a Manhattan grand jury voted to indict former President Donald Trump broke shortly before many of the late night shows taped their Thursday night episodes, but most of the hosts were still able to get in a few jokes at Trump’s expense.

The indictment came after a grand jury investigation into six-figure payments made to porn star Stormy Daniels and former Playboy model Karen McDougal during Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign to silence allegations of extramarital affairs, which both women claim took place. Trump denies having sexual encounters with either woman and has denied wrongdoing with respect to the payments.

Stephen Colbert announced that he’d just heard of the grand jury’s vote three minutes before he took the stage for his monologue, but that was still enough time for the Late Show team to whip up a couple of quips, and an ice cream sundae in a baseball hat, which the host feasted on, spraying some whipped cream in his mouth, as he celebrated baseball’s opening day and the news of Trump’s indictment.

“[Trump] was right. We’re finally saying Merry Christmas again,” Colbert said. “And you know what? I didn’t know this would be coming, I thought this might never come. I thought, ‘What does it matter if it came?’ I didn’t know it would feel this good.”

Later Colbert joked, “He should see whether that grand jury will cut him a check for $130,000 because he is so screwed.”

That was the same punchline Colbert’s NBC rival Jimmy Fallon ended with as The Tonight Show mashed up Trump’s speeches and video of him dancing to an “I’m So Indicted” take on The Pointer Sisters’ “I’m So Excited.” The clips ended with Trump appearing to say “I am so screwed.”

Over on Comedy Central’s The Daily Show, guest host John Leguizamo, who earlier in the week said he was hoping news of Trump’s arrest would break as he was in the host’s chair, got his wish.

Leguizamo introduced the development, coming after a heavy news week, as “some lighthearted news that’s really going to put a smile on your face.” After a news clip announcing Trump’s indictment aired, Leguizamo and the audience cheered, with the host jumping out of his seat so fast he lost his chair.

“That’s right. Lady Justice grabbed Trump by the pussy,” he said.

He continued, “You know I take a firm stance against mass incarceration, but for this I’m willing to make an exception. I just hope they take it easy on him and put him at least in a cell with his lawyer. … But let this be a lesson to all you kids out there. If you commit fraud to cover up an affair with a porn star, the law will catch up to you, after like seven years and a full term as president.”

Over in Los Angeles, Jimmy Kimmel had slightly longer to prepare, announcing at the top of Thursday’s Jimmy Kimmel Live! that two hours before taping they had to trash their planned monologue about baseball’s opening day to tackle the news of Trump’s indictment.

Kimmel noted the historic nature of the news, with Trump being the first former American president to face an indictment, saying the moment was “Historic and it’s funny. It’s very, very funny.”

And like Leguizamo, the host referenced Trump’s famed Access Hollywood tape, saying, “The grand jury, they didn’t even ask permission. They moved on Trump like a witch.”

Kimmel also recapped some of the former president’s recent Truth Social posts in which Trump first praised the grand jury prior to his indictment and then criticized them. Trump also posted a statement in which he wrote “indicated” instead of “indicted.”

“Hopefully he can spend some time at the prison library learning how to spell. Now that he’s been indicted, the former president had no choice but to turn himself in for processing at a courthouse in New York, in a spectacle that seems to have been made for reality TV,” Kimmel said before cutting to a clip from the Celebrity Apprentice of Trump arriving at a courthouse.

Looking back at the former president’s TV past, Kimmel speculated that Trump could do a new show, perhaps called The Celebrity Apprehentice or Arrested Developer.

Kimmel, who opened the show with a cold open featuring Trump’s head on top of a prisoner’s body, speculated about what could come next.

“His next thing, of course, will be to try to start another riot to get people to demonstrate on his behalf,” Kimmel said. “Only Donald Trump could have supporters so crazy we have to seriously consider whether or not being charged with a crime is good for him.”

Later he quipped, bringing it back to baseball, “Best baseball opening day ever. And this is only the warm-up indictment. Lady Justice, she’s getting loose in the bullpen right now. We’ll bring her in in the ninth to close it out with insurrection and treason.”

But not all of the major late night shows talked about Trump. The news of his indictment was missing from CBS’ Late Late Show With James Corden and NBC’s Late Night With Seth Meyers, with the latter show posting on Twitter that they finished taping before the news broke.