Stephen Colbert and Trevor Noah Brave Election Night Anxiety on Live Specials

Stephen Colbert and Trevor Noah tried to counter consternation with comedy on their respective election night specials Tuesday, November 3rd.

Colbert’s aired on Showtime (a sister network of CBS, where The Late Show airs) and it featured interviews with Charlamagne Tha God and the hosts of Showtime’s political series The Circus, plus a performance from Arcade Fire, who debuted a new song, “Generation A.” While the rest of the special wasn’t uploaded to YouTube, Colbert’s closing message was, in which he urged patience and calm as it became clear that a winner wouldn’t be announced for a few more days.

Colbert started by acknowledging how tense the past four years have been for many, joking: “My blood pressure is within normal range — for a truck tire. You could roll my aorta over a gravel road, I wouldn’t feel a bump.” And much as he was hoping for a clear and obvious result on election night, Colbert offered a controversial opinion: that it was actually better that we still didn’t know the winner, which was a result of likely record-breaking turnout in a particularly chaotic year.

“I know we’ve all got what it takes to wait just a little bit longer,” Colbert said. “But still we all deserve some small taste of that satisfaction we crave, so in closing tonight, please enjoy this brief montage of things that feel as satisfying as you want this to.” Colbert then ran a delightful series of clips that included a puppy getting its belly rubbed, a paper towel roll fitting perfectly into a drawer, a woman taking her bra off without removing her shirt, the cathartic end of The Shawshank Redemption, and more.

Meanwhile, The Daily Show has made their hour-long Votegasm 2020: What Could Go Wrong? (Again) special available to watch in full on YouTube. The special found host Trevor Noah and correspondent Roy Wood, Jr. hunkered in a bunker with plenty of supplies (including, for Wood, a bottle of tequila, and a separate bottle to store his urine, which had a disconcertingly similar hue as the liquor).

Noah read off results and offered commentary throughout the night, while the special also featured “in-the-field” reports from Desi Lydic, Jordan Klepper, Dulcé Sloan, and Jaboukie Young-white, who was in the process of trying to put himself into a medically induced coma until all the votes were counted. Ronny Chieng even ventured to Australia, quarantined for two weeks, and reported back on what he learned about the benefits of mandatory voting rules and its potential as a democracy reform.

Votegasm 202” ended with Noah excitedly announcing that Fox News had called Arizona for Joe Biden (many other outlets still haven’t officially called it, although it continues to lean toward the Democrat). The news so excited Wood that he didn’t even seem to mind when he mixed up his tequila and urine. Noah then closed the night by cracking, “This shit’s gonna go for a while, people, brace yourselves!”

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