Late-Night TV in 2017: Trump, Russia, Weinstein and More

Trump’s Attacks on the Media

Mr. Trump stayed rather quiet on the topic of late-night shows, even as he became their idée fixe. But he couldn’t help attacking Mr. Colbert in May. Mr. Colbert, whose ratings ticked up when he started consistently taking on Mr. Trump about a year ago, welcomed the feud.

“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? ‘Oh, please, don’t make me trend on Twitter again! Don’t throw me in that #briarpatch!’” — STEPHEN COLBERT

Stephen Reacts to Trump Calling Him ‘A No-Talent Guy’ Video by The Late Show With Stephen Colbert

Mr. Trump has been less restrained about criticizing journalists, and late-night hosts often used their soapbox to push back against his jabs at the news media’s credibility.

“Senator John McCain criticized President Trump’s attack on the media yesterday and said that stifling the press is how dictators get started. Said Trump: ‘Cool, and then what do they do next?’ [holds up imaginary notepad]” — SETH MEYERS

Trump Attacks the Press, Gets Mocked by Sweden: A Closer Look Video by Late Night With Seth Meyers

“Trump said it’s disgusting that the press is allowed to write whatever it wants to write. When asked about the First Amendment, he said, ‘Is that the one that says not to talk about ‘Fight Club’?” — JIMMY FALLON

“During Trump’s rant about the media, he said, ‘What could be more fake than CBS and NBC and ABC and CNN?’ I mean, yeah, what could be more fake? I mean, just off the top of my head, Donald Trump’s approval rating, his inauguration size, his concern for Puerto Rico, his concern for immigrants, his concern for hurricane victims, his golf handicap, his high I.Q., his tan, his hair, his saying that no one respects women more than him, and Fox News.” — JAMES CORDEN

Donald Trump Started the Whole Fake News Thing Video by The Late Late Show With James Corden

On “The Daily Show,” Trevor Noah expressed dismay that Mr. Trump’s incendiary words still prove influential.

“There’s a large part of the population — you may know them as Republicans — who believe that Donald Trump is far more credible than most news outlets. So if Trump says millions of illegals voted in the election, they believe it. If Trump says Obama wiretapped him, they believe that, too. If Trump says ‘covfefe,’ look, they don’t know what it means, but [expletive], they believe it.” — TREVOR NOAH

Samantha Bee on Pruitt, Weinstein and More

Samantha Bee’s “Full Frontal” airs once a week, on Wednesdays, giving her time to prepare more in-depth pieces. In October, she presented an examination of Scott Pruitt, the E.P.A.’s administrator and a longtime foe of environmental regulation.

Scott Pruitt vs. The World | October 25, 2017 Act 2 | Full Frontal on TBS Video by Full Frontal With Samantha Bee

“Putting Pruitt in charge of the E.P.A. was like putting the fox in the henhouse. I’m sorry — for future viewers, foxes and hens were two animals that lived on earth before climate change rendered them extinct.” — SAMANTHA BEE

Ms. Bee also kept up a line of attack against accused sexual harassers and abusers. Many male late-night hosts seemed a bit flat-footed as the #metoo movement gathered steam, but Ms. Bee took on Harvey Weinstein ferociously, and never let up.

Listen Up, Creeps: Weinstein Edition | October 11, 2017 Act 1 | Full Frontal on TBS Video by Full Frontal With Samantha Bee

“When the scandal broke, Weinstein made an apology-like statement in The New York Post, saying, ‘I have got to change, I’ve got to grow.’ ‘I know a lot of people would like me to go into a facility.’ Oh my God, I’m so behind in the slang. Is a facility what people call hell?” — SAMANTHA BEE

By late November, when Charlie Rose was fired by CBS, Ms. Bee’s counterparts were reacting more swiftly.

“What is it with the robes? First Cosby, then Weinstein, now Charlie Rose. Who’s next, Yoda? ‘Hmm, tense you seem. Shoulders I will rub. Reported to H.R. I am.’” — STEPHEN COLBERT

Kimmel’s Activism

No host is more emblematic of late-night TV’s evolution over the past year than Mr. Kimmel. A former host of “The Man Show” and an exponent of tawdry humor, he once seemed unlikely to become a liberal darling. But since May — when he revealed that his newborn son suffered from a heart condition and urged Congress to protect the Affordable Care Act — his diatribes on topics from health care bills to gun control have provided some of late night’s most-discussed moments.

Jimmy Kimmel Reveals Details of His Son’s Birth & Heart Disease Video by Jimmy Kimmel Live

A ‘United’ Opposition to the Airline Industry

There have been plenty of nonpolitical heels for hosts to snipe at this year, too. The airline industry came in for a drubbing, especially after passengers were involuntarily removed from United and Delta flights in the spring.

Julio Torres Offers Jimmy Halloween Costume Ideas – Monologue Video by The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon

“A restaurant opened in London today specializing in airline-style food. And if you like your steak a little bloody, order it ‘United.’” — SETH MEYERS

“There are some new airport security measures starting this week, and airlines can conduct short interviews with passengers. Most airlines will ask the purpose of your trip, while Spirit Airlines will ask if you know how to land a plane.” — JIMMY FALLON

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