These days, it’s not uncommon to see late-night TV hosts taking aim at President Trump. Their critiques range from silly (Stephen Colbert) to impassioned (Jimmy Kimmel) to profane and incredulous (John Oliver). And not to be outdone, Late Night with Seth Meyers offers a little bit of everything where Trump jokes are concerned.
Meyers actually may have predicted Trump’s entire political ascendance. In 2011, at the White House Correspondents Dinner, he joked about The Apprentice star making a run at the Oval Office. Trump didn’t appreciate being laughed at — but he did follow through on Meyers’ idea. And these days, he’s an almost-constant source for both funny moments and thoughtful criticism from the late night host.
Here are some of Meyers funniest jokes about Trump and his administration.
1. Stealing bits
Dear President Trump: Now it’s personal. pic.twitter.com/vffQo6ApJc
— Late Night with Seth Meyers (@LateNightSeth) March 24, 2017
Before Seth Meyers took over Late Night hosting duties, he was part of Saturday Night Live’s ensemble for over a decade. And his allegiance to the NBC comedy staple is what led him to go after Trump’s lack of originality.
In March 2017, reporters took Trump to task about unsubstantiated claims he’d made about former President Obama wiretapping him. He responded by telling them, “I’m president, and you’re not.” Meyers thought the phrase sounded familiar — like, straight out of the mouth of his fellow SNL alum Chevy Chase.
So he called Trump out on his plagiarism on his March 24, 2017 show. “Okay, I didn’t mind when you talked dirty with Billy Bush or told Russia to hack Hillary’s emails. But when you start stealing bits from Weekend Update anchors, it is on.”
Meyers didn’t stop there. “Also, I happen to know this isn’t the first time you’ve done this.,” he said, before playing a clip of another Weekend Update host, Norm MacDonald, talking about fake news.
The Late Show host ended the segment with one last crass callback to SNL. “You know I hate to say this, but Donald, you ignorant slut.”
2. The Watergate Express
In May 2017, it seemed as though no one could keep up with the scandals that followed Trump and his family. First, he fired Comey. Then, a special prosecutor was chosen to continue the investigation into Russia’s role in the 2016 election.
Meyers tried to make light of the breakneck speed at which Trump’s scandals seemed to be unfolding on May 18. “Yeah, this isn’t Watergate. It’s the Watergate Express,” he joked.
The clever allusion to the scandal that undid Nixon was funny enough on its own. But Meyers couldn’t let it go without a dig at one of Trump’s biggest sore spots. “In the Trump era every hour feels like a month,” he said, as an over the shoulder graphic showed an aerial photo of Trump’s inauguration crowd. “In fact, time now works for us the way crowd sizes work for Trump. A few thousand can seem like 1.5 million hours.”
3. Manafort’s rug
On Oct. 30, 2017, Special Counsel Robert Mueller announced the first charges in his ongoing investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election. Among those indicted was Trump’s former campaign manager, Paul Manafort.
That evening, Meyers used his Late Night segment, ”A Closer Look”, to delve into Manafort’s crimes. And he couldn’t help himself from taking a quick jab at Trump in the process.
“The indictment has all kinds of details about how Manafort allegedly laundered money by purchasing items from high end stores, including a home entertainment company, a men’s clothing store, a landscaper in the Hamptons, and an antique rug store,” Meyers told viewers.
Then, as the over-the-shoulder graphic changed to show a close-up photo of Trump’s hair, he went on. “Wow, he allegedly laundered $1 million through a rug store. And not only that, the rug he bought wasn’t even convincing.”
4. Soft wood
In April 2017, Trump made headlines by imposing a tariff on softwood lumber sales from Canada. The action, and ensuing tensions between the U.S. and its neighbor to the north, seemingly came out of nowhere. And it was also a huge source of amusement for Meyers.
The Late Night host detailed the sudden trade conflict for viewers on April 27, 2017, though he was barely able to keep a straight face. “I’m not going to take that as an opportunity to make a bunch of penis jokes,” he said. I’m just saying that Donald Trump doesn’t want to be slapped with soft Canadian wood, so he’s clamping down on it.”
Sure, it was juvenile. But in Meyers’ defense, this joke pretty much wrote itself.
5. To Melania, with love
Melania Trump’s relationship with her husband has perplexed many. And during the Trumps’ first visit overseas, footage of the First Lady shutting down an affectionate gesture from her husband multiple times went viral.
In one clip, Trump attempted to take Melania’s hand in his as they deplaned Air Force One. But the First Lady moved her hand away before he could make contact.
Meyers discussed the not-so-romantic moment between the two during his May 24 “A Closer Look” segment. “Former CIA Director John Brennan testified today that there was contact between President Trump’s campaign and Russian officials,” he said, before showing the viral footage. “However, still no contact between Donald and Melania,”
6. A very special Father’s Day
— Late Night with Seth Meyers (@LateNightSeth) June 18, 2017
Since he became president, Trump’s children have made headlines almost as frequently as he has. And their relationship with their father has been an endless source of fodder for late night hosts.
Meyers, in particular, was happy to poke fun at the Trump family as Father’s Day approached. In a series of tweets, Late Night offered a glimpse of what they imagined how the Trump children would honor their father on his special day.
And the fake Father’s Day greetings were predictably hilarious. One featured a “Merry Christmas” greeting from Eric. According to Late Night, Kushner and Donald Trump Jr. at least got the holiday right when they gave Trump an XXXXXL tie. And Tiffany, a.k.a. the “other daughter?” Well, she declined to participate.
7. And he would have gotten away with it, too
When Trump fired Comey in May 2017, the aftermath was almost as disorienting as the dismissal itself. Over the next few days, Trump’s rationale behind the move seemed to shift and change. And that erratic behavior led Meyers to point out Trump’s inconsistency with a relatable old-school pop culture reference.
On May 11, 2017, Meyers pointed out that Trump had managed to contradict “every argument his team had made on his behalf” when he announced that he hadn’t considered others’ recommendations in regard to Comey. And in doing so, “he just admitted that everything the White House has been saying since Tuesday is a lie.”
Meyers was incredulous as he tried to make sense of the president’s actions. And finally, he came up with the only conclusion that made sense. “Trump’s ego is so huge he can’t even let someone else have the spotlight in his alibi. He’s like a Scooby-Doo villain.”
Follow Katherine Webb on Twitter @prufrox.
Check out The Cheat Sheet on Facebook!