When it was announced who was hosting the Emmys this year, it was immediately apparent that the monologue would include a ton of political jokes. And these videos of Stephen Colbert's Emmys opening monologue show that that was definitely the case. While the Emmys are all about honoring the best in television, The Late Show host worked in plenty of comments on the current state of politics in America, particularly and unsurprisingly, including jokes about Donald Trump.
Before getting into his on-stage monologue, Colbert opened with a long song and dance number after sharing a few jokes "backstage" with Anthony Anderson and Allison Janney. The song was all about how Americans are relying on television for either relief or an emotional release, this year in particular. While the state of the world is troubling right now with wars, police violence, racism, a divided America, and more, viewers are turning to TV to for either catharsis (crying during a show like This Is Us), distraction (laughing during a show likeUnbreakable Kimmy Schmidt or being scared during one like Stranger Things), or giving into the fears they have about the world (by watching a show like The Handmaid's Tale).
Lyrics of the song included, "Troubles aren't so troubling when you see them in HD/The world’s a little better on TV", "Calm yourself by watching this dystopia" (in reference to The Handmiad's Tale), and "til you can’t tell the difference between fact and fallacy.”
While Trump was mentioned in the song, Colbert's actual spoken monologue went even harder on the president, including multiple jokes about how much TV Trump watched and how upset he has been about never receiving an Emmy for The Apprentice. "Hello, sir. Thank you for joining us," Colbert said directly to the president at one point, "Looking forward to the tweets."
The host also said, "We know the biggest TV star of the past year is Donald Trump” and "If he had won an Emmy, I bet he wouldn't have run for president,” during a series of jokes in which he blamed the Emmys for Trump being president in the first place.
In the most shocking moment of the monologue, Colbert brought out Sean Spicer (yes, the real one; not Melissa McCarthy), who announced that this Emmys audience was the biggest of all time.
But the monologue was not just about politics — it was just mostly about politics. Colbert also had jokes about many of the nominees in the audience, including a joke about 13-year-old Stranger Things star Millie Bobby Brown that was also a jab at the casting of women in Hollywood. Colbert joked that her nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series proved that "there are roles in Hollywood for women over 12."
2017 marked Colbert's first time hosting the Emmys, but he did have previous award show hosting experience from hosting the Kennedy Center Honors for three years in a row in 2014, 2015, and 2016. And he definitely had experience with the Emmys in particular from a different perspective. Between his shows — including The Late Show and The Colbert Report — and other specials, Colbert has been nominated for 31 Emmys during his career and won nine. At this year's show, he is nominated for Outstanding Variety Talk Series and Outstanding Writing for a Variety Series for The Late Show, and Outstanding Variety Special and Outstanding Writing for a Variety Special for his election night special, Stephen Colbert's Live Election Night Democracy's Series Finale: Who's Going To Clean Up This Sh*t?