With Speaker Paul Ryan announcing that he’s leaving office after his term ends, late night had a slightly more upbeat tone on Wednesday. Like Seth Meyers, Stephen Colbert was excited to have a new reason to rip Ryan.
“There was a bomb dropped on Capitol Hill by Speaker of the House and ‘Crossfit Dracula’ Paul Ryan. Ryan will not be running for re-election in 2018,” Colbert said, to raucous cheers from the audience. “He’s out. He said today he wants to spend more time with his wife and kids — which, of course, is what he calls his biceps.”
But Colbert was a bit skeptical of Ryan’s given reason for bowing out at only 48 years old, considering how far he’s risen already.
“No one with this kind of power just walks away. It’s just not done. The man is third in line for the presidency. Though, maybe he’s leaving because he just figured that out. ‘Wait, the FBI just raided Michael Cohen’s office? Not it! Not it!'” Colbert joked.
“The Late Show” then played a clip from Ryan’s announcement to Congress that he’s done, in which Ryan claimed that he “really actually didn’t” want the Speaker gig back when he got it in 2015.
“We believe you. We didn’t want you to have this job either,” Colbert quipped. “Of course, there’s a lot of speculation that Ryan is jumping ship before a big Democratic wave sweeps the midterms. But according to Ryan’s friends, there’s another reason Ryan is leaving.”
Colbert then read from an Axios report which said that “after Ryan passed tax reform, his longtime dream, he was ready to step out of a job that has become endlessly frustrating, in part because of President Trump.”
“What? Working with President Trump is frustrating? That’s not what the last 30 people who quit said,” Colbert said wryly. “But I get it. I get it. Ryan’s ‘longtime dream’ has been reforming the tax code. I mean, ever since he was a kid, playing with his Ayn Rand action figure. There’s no doll inside because the kid has to build it himself.”
As Colbert was speaking an image of an empty Dagny Taggart action figure box appeared on screen:
Colbert couldn’t complete this joke thread without taking a shot at Trump himself and the rest of the Republicans in Congress.
“And the president wasted no time releasing his own statement, tweeting, ‘Speaker Paul Ryan is a truly good man, and while he will not be seeking re-election, he will leave a legacy of achievement that nobody can question. We are with you Paul!’ Yes, Republicans are with you, Paul. And by ‘with you,’ they mean ‘leaving office in November,'” Colbert said to more cheers. “So fare-thee-well! Fare-thee-well, Paul Ryan. We’ll all miss your famous catchphrase: ‘No, I hadn’t heard what the president said but, if true, that is troubling.'”
You can watch Colbert’s monologue from Wednesday’s episode of “The Late Show” in the video embedded at the top of this post.