It’s got to be tough for late-night show writing staffs to continue to come up with new jokes about people in the White House being fired or quitting, but somehow they keep pulling it off. Stephen Colbert had a pretty solid one to kick off his “Late Show” monologue on Tuesday after three more people were fired, including Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.
“I’m your host, Stephen Colbert — the one person Donald Trump hasn’t fired… yet,” Colbert joked.
Colbert’s Tuesday monologue was heavy on Tillerson’s firing apparently being announced when Donald Trump revealed his replacement in a tweet Tuesday morning, after which he got in a joke about Russian collusion, which we’ll start with here.
The real reason for Tillerson’s firing remains unclear, but the common joke Tuesday night was it had something to do with Tillerson’s comment on Monday about how there would need to be a “response” to a former Russian spy being poisoned with a nerve agent in the UK. Colbert had a joke of his own for this, tying it back to the GOP members of the House Intelligence Committee deciding to abandon their investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election.
“Last night, Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee announced they were ending their investigation into Russian election meddling and concluded that Russian President Vladimir Putin was not trying to help Donald Trump win the 2016 election,” Colbert said, setting up the punchline. “After a year-long investigation, they have examined all the evidence and have concluded they did not want to get sprayed with a nerve agent. That’s what they said. I think I quoted them. I think that’s a quote.”
Trump’s tweet firing Tillerson actually fired him by proxy, because what it actually did was announce that CIA director Mike Pompeo would be Trump’s new nominee for secretary of state, with Gina Haspel his pick to take over the agency. And it concluded with an enthusiastic “congratulations to all!”
“Wait, congratulations to all? Congratulations to all? ‘Congratulations, Rex. you’ve won an all-expense-paid trip to beautiful Get The F— Out Of Here. And as a parting gift, we got you this beautiful door, which we hope does not hit you on the a–,'” Colbert joked. “It’s too bad Twitter wasn’t around when Trump ended his first two marriages. Back then, he had to do it by fax. Slightly colder. And what could be worse than learning you got fired from your boss’s tweet? Oh, maybe seeing that 86,000 people ‘liked’ it.”
Then Colbert went in on one of the other Trump firings on Tuesday that followed Tillerson.
“Now, the White House says they didn’t fire him on Twitter. They say that they called Tillerson last Friday and told him this was going to happen. But today, State Department spokesman and last living Jerry Lewis character Steve Goldstein said the secretary had every intention of staying, and that the secretary did not speak to the president and is unaware of the reason for his firing,” Colbert said before getting to the good part. “So when the White House heard this from the official state department spokesman, they reviewed their process, realized the degrading way they fired Rex Tillerson, and they apologized.”
“I’m just kidding,” Colbert continued. “They fired Goldstein. ‘Some guy said I impulsively fire people without warning? Fire that guy.'”
You can watch Colbert’s Tuesday “Late Show” monologue in the video embedded at the top of this post.