The comedic newsman who helped you laugh your way through the last Republican presidency has returned to late night television for the first time since the election, and despite the state of things, he had some encouraging words. On Tuesday night, Jon Stewart visited Stephen Colbert on The Late Show and tried to convince the audience at home that it would survive the Trump presidency. But before his pep talk to America, he told some hilarious jokes in the form of upcoming executive orders.
Colbert set Stewart up, telling the audience that he read in Tuesday's USA Today that Trump had issued 20 executive orders in just 10 days in office. "He's pulled out of trade deals, approved the border wall, revived the Keystone pipeline. I've just got to imagine, though, that after 10 days and 20 orders, he's got to be done, right? There can't be any more of these executive orders. I just don't see ... "
Interrupting Colbert, Stewart yells from offstage, "He's got more, he's got more. Trust me, he's got more." Then Stewart came out dressed with a dead animal strapped to his head and a tie longer than he is tall — not necessarily as a Trump impersonation, but in an attempt to follow men's fashion, which of course is set by the president, he explains to Colbert. "I saw the inauguration. Super long tie, animal on head. Boom," Stewart said. "It's the best."
But back to the executive orders. "He has more," Stewart repeats, "and I have them." He grabs the orders from behind Colbert's desk as his dead-animal headpiece starts to fall. The audience laughs, and Stewart cuts him off. "People, this is serious. The nation is in crisis," he says before announcing the first order:
Executive order number one: by the authority invested in me by the Constitution, I, Donald J. Jonah Jameson Trump, hereby direct that to secure our border, China, China, shall immediately and without hesitation send us their wall. Done. Boom.
But Colbert has a question, how do we get Mexico to pay China for the wall? Stewart explains, "When the wall arrives, we shut off the lights and pretend we're not home. It's COD, Mexico has to sign for it. Boom. They pay for it. Done."
Stewart moves on to the next "encyclical," and Colbert interrupts. "But wait, Jon, popes issue encyclicals." Stewart, unfazed, responds, "He's getting there, he's getting there." But on to the text:
I, Donald J. Lincoln Kennedy Trump, III, do pronounce that America now, finally, has an official language. The new official language of the United States is bullsh*t. I, Donald J. Trump, have instructed my staff to speak only in bullsh*t. And by the way, none of that 'At work I'll use bullsh*t, but at home I'm going to use facts and information.' No! All the time, immersion, it's the only way to be fluent.
Then, after Colbert tried to keep Stewart in line (à la Putin) by pulling on his tie — which ended up being a clip-on — they moved on to the last order:
I, Donald Day Trump, do declare by executive order that I, Donald J. Trump, am exhausting.
Here they transitioned into some serious talk. "It has been 11 days, Stephen, 11 f*cking days," Stewart said. "The presidency is supposed to age the president, not the public." Even better than that observation was the reason why. Stewart continued, speaking somewhat as Trump, "The reason that Donald J. Trump is exhausting is that every instinct and fiber of my pathological self-regard calls me to abuse of power. I, Donald J. Trump, want — no, deserve — not just your respect but your adoration."
So how to stand up to that? Stewart explains: "It is going to take relentless stamina, vigilance and every institutional check and balance this country can muster" to keep Trump from going "full Palpatine" (the evil political leader from Star Wars). "We have never faced this before, purposeful vindictive chaos."
At this point, Stewart speaks directly to the audience, still somewhat speaking as Trump, and calls on them to resist:
No one action will be adequate. All actions will be necessary. And if we do not allow Donald Trump to exhaust our fight, and somehow come through this presidency calamity-less and constitutionally partially intact, then I, Donald J. Trump, will have demonstrated the greatness of America — just not the way I thought I was gonna.
Given the difficult days we have seen following the immigration and refugee ban, Stewart's words couldn't be more apt. That said, it's still good to laugh a little too. Then back to resisting.
Images: The Late Show with Stephen Colbert