Immediately following Monday night’s “big league” presidential debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, late-night hosts like Trevor Noah and Seth Meyers broadcast their shows live so they could give viewers instant comedic analysis of the campaign’s biggest night to date.
While this approach brought those shows some much-needed urgency and relevance, it did not produce the most incisive commentary. After all, in Noah’s case, only 20 minutes elapsed between the end of the debate and the start of The Daily Show.
Tonight, Full Frontal with Samantha Bee took a problem and turned it into an advantage. That show typically airs Monday nights at 10:30 p.m. on TBS, which this week would have meant starting just around the moment Clinton looked into the camera and said, “Words matter when you run for president, and they really matter when you are president.” So viewers had to wait until Wednesday night to hear Bee’s consistently essential take on the first debate.
She did not disappoint.
Forcing American democracy to “play Russian roulette” worked out pretty well for Trump at first, Bee conceded, adding “Kellyanne Conway’s control collar worked for about 20 minutes.”
But then things quickly went off the rails.
Bee laid into Trump for his consistent interruptions of Clinton—“Shush, the lady has the talking stick. Don’t insult her until you’re asked to insult her!” When Trump said Clinton doesn’t have the “stamina” to be president, she shot back, “Just say penis, Don. Three-syllable words don't suit you.”
Weighing in on the “very occasional presence” of moderator Lester Holt, Bee admitted that he had a “nearly impossible job even when one of the candidates isn't projectile-lying in your face all night.” But, she said Trump’s big failure was his refusal to prepare for the biggest political night of his life when Clinton “spent months building an elaborate trap for Trump and he lumbered right into it.” She added, “All she had to do was step out of the way while he called a woman fat.”
“Those wily Clinton bastards knew there are three things Trump can’t resist,” Bee said. “Calling women names, doubling down, and making dumb mistakes on Fox & Friends.” It was on that program Tuesday morning that Trump said former Miss Universe winner Alicia Machado “gained a massive amount of weight and it was a real problem.”
“No, you had a stunningly beautiful Miss Universe winner and you treated her like garbage,” Bee responded to Trump. “Now you have a real problem—not only with her but with every woman who's ever been called fat. Which is all of us!”
Looking ahead to the next debate, Bee ended by daring Trump to say the “rough” comments about Hillary’s family that he managed to keep to himself. “Oh, say it. Please say it,” she told him.