this week in late night

Amber Ruffin Claiming She Is ‘a Melania Trump’ Won Late Night This Week

It’s-a-me, Melania! Photo: YouTube

Boo! Did I scare you? Or were you already so consumed by the confluence of a (potentially) contested election and the end of daylight saving time (which is fake, by the way) pushing us deeper into the darkness that my “Boo!” didn’t really scare you? As we reach the final stretch of America Election 2020, our late-night hosts have one last chance to convince their audiences to get out and rock the vote. With so much at stake and so little time before Tuesday, November 3, late-night television went all in on politics, doing its best to try and save democracy from a white supremacist, fascist regime, while also telling jokes and having fun. It’s a tall order, but at this point, we’re more than used to it. Sit back, relax (haha, as if), and check out the best moments from this, the last week before the most important election of our lives. Spooky, right?

5. Stephen Colbert Talks South Carolina With Senate Candidate Jaime Harrison

It’s not just the presidency that’s at stake, however. We’ve got the House and Senate to think about as well, and everyone knows that’s where the real magic happens (and by “magic,” I do mean policy, bills, and legislation). As such, Stephen Colbert invited Democratic Senate candidate Jaime Harrison to The Late Show to discuss his extremely tight race with Republican incumbent candidate Lindsey Graham in Colbert’s home state of South Carolina. There wasn’t much time for Colbert and Harrison to wax poetic about their childhoods in the Palmetto State, as Harrison used the platform to communicate why he’d be a better senator for the state of South Carolina than Graham. According to Harrison, Graham, who’s held public office for a quarter of a century, is a “relic of the Old South,” while Harrison is the face of a brighter tomorrow. “I believe a New South is bold, it’s inclusive, it’s diverse,” said Harrison. “It’s a place where all of our folks should have their voices appreciated, valued, and heard.” Word. At one point, Colbert quoted South Carolina’s state motto from memory, “Dum spiro spero,” which in Latin means “While I breathe, I hope.” Anyway, dum spiro spero that Jaime Harrison beats Lindsey Graham on November 3.

4. Chelsea Handler Plays the British Version of “Marry, Fuck, Kill” on The Late Late Show

While we’re on the subject of Lindsey Graham, would you marry, fuck, or kill him when stacked up against Ted Cruz and Mitch McConnell? If, like me, you thought this was an absolutely impossible question to answer, then you should take a look at Chelsea Handler’s appearance on The Late Late Show With James Corden. During the interview, Handler played Corden’s British-tinged “Marry, Shag, Banish to an Island” with the truly demonic trio of Republican politicians, and she found a way to come to a cogent answer at the end, but not without asking some important questions first: “Is this face-forward sex or can I be facing a different direction?” Well played. Ultimately, Handler chose to banish Cruz, shag McConnell, and marry Lindsay Graham. Her reasoning? Cruz is a “scumbag,” McConnell she could beat up during rough sex, and Lindsey Graham is “so easy to manipulate mentally I could turn him into a Democrat.” That definitely scans. While I understand Handler’s logic, I must say the image of McConnell and his purple hands having rough sex will haunt me for the rest of my days.

3. Trevor Noah and Roy Wood Jr. Talk About Black Trump Supporters

Besides saying she’d beat Mitch McConnell up during rough sex, another great thing Chelsea Handler did recently was publicly shame her ex, 50 Cent, for supporting Trump — so much so that he seemingly retracted his endorsement. 50 Cent was briefly a member of a small but annoyingly loud group of rappers that were most popular in the early 2000s who have met with and either tacitly or explicitly thrown their support behind the Trump administration. As a Black man who was once a Black boy that loved grinding to the clean version of “Lollipop” at bar mitzvahs, I’m not going to lie: It was a little disconcerting to find out that Lil Wayne endorsed Trump for president. The Daily Show tackled this issue in a segment on the importance of the Black vote in the 2020 election and why some Black men seem to like Trump. Roy Wood Jr. hilariously pointed out that it’s a very small subset of Black men who support Trump: “90 percent of Black men aren’t voting for Trump,” said Wood. He went on to say that blaming Black men for Trump winning the election (God forbid) would be ludicrous. “That would be like saying for all the crazy stuff that’s happened in the Trump administration, you just blame it all on Ben Carson. Is he there? Technically, yes. But is that really where all the problems are coming from?” Fair point.

2. Borat Talks Flexing With Desus and Mero

Even though Election Day is approaching faster than you can say “I’d like a one-way ticket to Canada, please,” that doesn’t mean we can’t laugh. That we can’t blow off some steam. That we can’t wawaweewa. And, you know what? Wawaweewa we did when Borat stopped by Desus & Mero on Monday, October 25. Desus and Mero, or as Borat called them, “Jesus and Mary,” have made the list the last two weeks running, and their interview with Borat Sagdiyev, the Kazakhstani television personality and star of the recently released movie Borat Subsequent MovieFilm, continues their hot streak. “You’re in a manufacturing plant for shoes?” Borat asked Desus, referencing the impressive wall of sneakers behind Desus. Somehow this parlayed into a conversation about what it means to “flex,” and we learn that a lunch break at journalism school in Kazakhstan is very different than your average American lunch break. Borat learned a lot from Desus and Mero too, specifically about the meat at Five Guys and that sometimes strip clubs have the best food. It was a glorious nine-minute semi-educational departure from the existential and imminent threat of the coming week, but not without political insight. When asked how elections work in Kazakhstan, Borat explained, “We have not had election for 11 years.” Depending on how this next election goes, we might not either.

1. Amber Ruffin Breaks Out Her Melania Impersonation on Late Night

But on the other hand, depending on how Tuesday goes, we may no longer have to call Melania Trump and her many, many body doubles “First Lady” any longer. The totally real, definitely not fake, 100 percent authentic Melania Trump stopped by Late Night With Seth Meyers to confront yet another false claim that a body double stood in for her at a Trump rally recently. After a brief intro from Seth Meyers, in walked the totally real, definitely not fake, 100 percent authentic Amber Ruffin in a gorgeous wig, big black sunglasses, and a crisp white pantsuit, ready to convince the world that if she wasn’t the one true Melania Trump, she was at least “a Melania Trump,” which cannot be denied. Ruffin broke out the classic Melania pout and even had a helpful cheat sheet from Wikipedia to help her remember little details about Melania’s life, like what her son’s name is (Barron, or as Trump calls him, “his tall son”) and what Trump’s campaign slogan is (still “Make America Great Again” after all these years, which also implies that he did not fulfill his promise during his first term). Ruffin’s Melania did not need her notes to know that no one likes Ivanka because everyone already knows that no one likes Ivanka. Duh.

Watching Ruffin in full Melania drag commit to an Eastern European accent and maintain that she was, in fact, the First Lady of the United States was delightfully absurd. Ruffin’s natural charm, charisma, warmth, and openness during the bit served as a reminder that we really don’t know much about the First Lady except the fact that she hates her husband so much she’d rather hire a body double than stand next to him for long periods of time. I don’t know, along with quite literally every other atrocity he has committed since making it to White House, I think that should be worth something. Reason No. 1,823,938 why, directly after publishing this, I will be filling out my ballot for Biden-Harris, voting blue down the line, and physically dropping it off at a ballot box. I encourage you to do the same. Happy voting, and see you and Melania’s new body double on the other side.

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Amber Ruffin As ‘a Melania Trump’ Won Late Night This Week