Stephen Colbert planned to spend Monday night’s monologue making fun of Donald Trump for the bizarre trade war he initiated on Twitter over the weekend, but pivoted when former Trump campaign aide Sam Nunberg appeared all over cable news Monday evening talking trash about other Trump staffers and Trump himself, while claiming he would not comply with Robert Mueller grand jury subpoena.
“The Late Show,” like most late night shows, tapes in the early evening. Nunberg started calling into MSNBC and CNN shows close to the normal taping time, and Colbert was the only late night host on Monday to tackle that situation. For some perspective on just how close to the “Late Show” the Nunberg meltdown occurred: it was actually still going on during the taping and as a result, Colbert missed out on Nunberg’s in-person appearance with Erin Burnett on CNN, and Burnett’s comment about Nunberg’s breath smelling of alcohol.
Still, the Nunberg situation went on for so long that Colbert still had plenty of material. Colbert had to scrap his previous plans for his monologue to address it, which he did after some brief jokes about the Oscars.
“I know you all came here tonight to hear me talk about trade tariffs. We all know that ‘The Phantom Menace’ is the best ‘Star Wars,'” Colbert joked.
“Right before we taped this show, the entire news cycle jumped on the bus to crazy town,” Colbert continued. “At the wheel — former Trump campaign aide and the guy telling the stripper how much he loves his kids, Sam Nunberg.”
What followed was an array of clips of Nunberg saying crazy stuff about everything relating to Trump and how much he really didn’t want to turn over all his emails to other Trump staffers from after Nov. 1, 2015.
“What happened on Nov. 1? That is weirdly specific,” Colbert said before shifting to an impersonation of a person who is very bad at lying to the cops. “‘Officer, I’m a busy man, I don’t have time to walk you out to the third storage drain north of my barn. I definitely did not dump a body out there between the hours of 4 and 6 last night.'”
The big headline quote of the whole affair was when Nunberg made this declaration while on the phone with Jake Tapper: “I’m not cooperating. Arrest me.” And Colbert had an apt comparison for that strange dare.
“You know Mueller can arrest you, right? That’s like saying ‘eat me’ to Hannibal Lecter,” Colbert joked. “It doesn’t work out well. Doesn’t have a happy ending for you. He’s just gonna marinate you.”
You can watch Colbert’s entire “Late Show” monologue from Monday in the embedded video at the top of this post or on YouTube.