The U.S. is hurtling toward a government shutdown, 9 million children are on the verge of losing health care, and North Korea has the bomb, but on Wednesday night President Trump "stayed laser-focused — by announcing the winners of his 'Fake News Awards,' the Fakeys," Stephen Colbert said on Thursday, "and I'm sad to say, The Late Show was snubbed." It wasn't for lack of effort. "Like everything from Donald Trump, this award ceremony was overhyped and underwhelming," Colbert said. Trump had "pumped this as a big event," but all he did was tweet out a broken link to the Republican National Committee website. "404 Error — yes, presidency not found."
Eventually, they got the link to work, and the winners were ... just a poorly formatted listicle. "There isn't even a trophy," Colbert groused. "You can't just make a list and and call it awards." The RNC justified hosting Trump's listicle because the media has "spent 90 percent of the time focused on negative coverage," a claim Colbert found reasonable. "Well, yeah — Trump is bad at being president 90 percent of the time," he said. "Just this week, we are preparing for a government shutdown, found out that Trump had an affair with a porn star, and almost lost Hawaii. It's only Thursday!"
Jimmy Kimmel was also underwhelmed with Trump's presentation. "But I have to say, it was very thoughtful of the president to hand out awards to the media — the Dishonest and Corrupt Media Awards, but still, they're awards," he said on Thursday's Kimmel Live. "And since he did that for us, on behalf of the media, I think it's only fair that we extend the same honor to him." The categories for Kimmel's "Dishonest and Corrupt President Awards" include "Least Convincing Display of Love," "Best Fabricated Numbers," and "Outstanding Achievement in Obama Fan Fiction."
At least Jordan Klepper at The Opposition found the awards a success. Watch below. Peter Weber
If you were, for whatever reason, excited about the "Most Dishonest & Corrupt Media Awards Of The Year" that President Trump promised for Jan. 8, then postponed until Wednesday, well, don't get your hopes too high. There's nothing about the "Fake News Awards" on Trump's schedule for Wednesday, and White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Tuesday that Trump's awards were merely "a potential event."
Arizona's two Republican U.S. senators, John McCain and Jeff Flake, are using Trump's promised/threatened awards to criticize the president's frequent attacks on the free press, with Flake making comparisons to Joseph Stalin. But late-night TV appears to believe that laughter is the best disinfectant. On Tuesday's Tonight Show, Jimmy Fallon's President Trump presented "Fakeys" to CNN, The New York Times, and himself, aided by Melania Trump (Gina Gershon) and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos (Rachel Dratch).
Still, nobody will be more disappointed if Trump bails than Late Show host Stephen Colbert, The Daily Show's Trevor Noah, and Samantha Bee at Full Frontal, all of whom are in full-on campaign mode for "Fakeys" of their own. "Personally, I'm excited for the Most Dishonest and Corrupt Media Awards of the Year, or as we call them in the biz, the Fakeys, because nothing gives you more credibility than Donald Trump calling you a liar," Colbert said, kicking off the late-night jockeying. "And I, of course, don't want to be snubbed." He took out a For Your Consideration ad in "Failing New York Times Square."
The Daily Show shot back, claiming that Colbert's Late Show and Bee's Full Frontal were too fact-based.
Not to be outdone, Bee's decidedly NSFW retort leaned heavily on the F-bombs. If that doesn't bother you, watch below. Peter Weber
Wednesday kicked off with yet another big NBC News scoop, this one about President Trump asking for a "nearly tenfold" increase in the U.S. nuclear arsenal. "A tenfold increase?" Stephen Colbert gasped on The Late Show. "Excuse me while I onefold into the fetal position. He knows that we can already end all life on Earth, right? The cockroaches will survive — which is good news for Steve Bannon." Trump denied on Twitter that he said any of that and lashed out at NBC News — then at the free press.
Trump told reporters that "it's frankly disgusting how the press is able to write whatever they want to write, and people should look into it," and Colbert had an answer: "For the record, people did look into it. In fact, 'We the People' looked into it and thought, yeah, they should write whatever they want." Sadly, "him the people" apparently disagrees with the First Amendment, suggesting that NBC lose its "license" for reporting "fake news" that demeans him, Colbert sighed. He had two follow-up questions — neither one of which addressed whether the president can pull a network's broadcast license. (Spoiler: He can't.)
Jimmy Kimmel also looked at Trump's tweet asking when it's "appropriate" to "challenge [NBC's] License," and he had an answer: "Never? I don't know, because that's what dictators do?" This is like the "Comic Book of Revelations," he said. "Everything Trump says is fake is true, everything he says is honest is dishonest." Kimmel showcased his "fun idea" of correcting Trump's tweets accordingly, and you can watch how that worked below. Peter Weber