Emmys: Stephen Colbert’s 10 Best Jokes from His Opening Monologue

Host Stephen Colbert had plenty of good gags and digs throughout his Emmys opener, but the best were the ones he directed at Donald Trump

emmys stephen colbert host best jokes

“The Late Show” host Stephen Colbert brought the jokes as host of the the 69th Prime-Time Emmy Awards, opening the show with a star-studded musical number featuring Emmy nominees.

Colbert started with a song about how everything is better on TV — except for the news. But with great TV shows to escape to, at least viewers don’t have to focus too much on issues like climate change, the Donald Trump Russia investigation, or the ongoing debate about health care. He ended the number with dystopian dancers from Hulu’s “The Handmaid’s Tale.”

Colbert riffed on everything from the best shows on TV to recent news, but he reserved some of his best jokes for goofing on Donald Trump. Here are a few of the best jokes from Colbert’s turn hosting the Emmys.

Be sure to thank “GoT”

Colbert reminded everyone that “Game of Thrones” isn’t eligible this year.

“Just a reminder, remember to thank everyone who helped you get up here — mainly Game of Thrones for not being eligible this year,” Colbert said.

Trump’s TV viewing habits

“The industry is booming. There were over 450 original scripted shows. Of course, there’s no way anyone could watch that much TV — other than the president,” Colbert quipped. “He seems to have a lot of time for that sort of thing. Hello, sir, thanks for joining us. Looking forward to the tweets.”

Knock first

As Colbert was talking about the ubiquity of streaming services at the Emmys, he took the opportunity to goof on Ted Cruz’s recent Twitter gaffe.

“These days, everyone loves streaming video. Just ask Ted Cruz. But knock first — you don’t want to just walk in,” Colbert said.

HBO hack

“I’m sure HBO will take home a lot of Emmys tonight, which they’ll have to melt down to pay for next year’s hacker ransom. Too soon?” Colbert joked, making light of HBO’s recent run-ins with hackers, who leaked several of the network’s shows early, including “Game of Thrones.”

Emmys diversity

“For the third year in a row, this is the most diverse group of nominees in Emmy history. That’s impressive. I did not know you could applaud while patting yourself on the back at the same time,” Colbert said.

He went on to name several of the African-American Emmy nominees such as Uzo Aduba of “Orange Is the New Black” and Anthony Anderson of “black-ish.”

“And of course, Bill Maher,” Colbert said, riffing on Maher’s controversial moment on his show “Real Time” earlier this year. “I assume he’s black since he’s so comfortable using the n-word.”

Trump is the biggest star

Colbert saved his biggest jokes for the president.

“The biggest star of the year is Donald Trump,” Colbert quipped. “Like it or not, he’s the biggest star. And Alec Baldwin, obviously. You guys are neck and neck — and Alec, you’re up against a lot of neck.”

Trump’s Emmy

Continuing to needle the president, Colbert brought up Trump’s history with the Emmys.

“We all know the Emmys mean a lot to Donald Trump because he was nominated many times for ‘Celebrity Apprentice,’ but he never won an Emmy,” Colbert said. “Why didn’t you give him an Emmy? I bet if he won an Emmy he would never have run for president. You guys love morally compromised antiheroes. You love Walter White — he’s just Walter Whiter.”

Marbles in his mouth

Still on Trump’s Emmys history, Colbert brought up a tweet from 2014 when Trump watched and had some criticisms for then-host Seth Meyers.


The Emmys then cut to Meyers, sitting in the crowd. In response to the tweet, the NBC host spit out literal marbles.

Popular vote

Bringing up the 2016 election, Colbert explained what it takes to actually win an Emmy.

“Unlike the presidency, Emmys go to the winner of the popular vote,” he said.