Late night hosts react to Trump’s defeat and Biden’s victory

President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris (Photo by Andrew Harnik-Pool/Getty Images)
President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris (Photo by Andrew Harnik-Pool/Getty Images) /

Here’s how late night television hosts reacted to the 2020 presidential election results

When the 2020 presidential election was finally called for former Vice President Joe Biden, millions of Americans had cause to celebrate. A record-setting 75 million votes were cast for the Democrat, ending President Donald Trump’s run in the White House. Late night television hosts were among those enjoying the moment on Saturday.

We knew it was unlikely that a winner would be declared on election night. Counting up mail-in ballots extended things even further into what became an “absolute year of a week” as John Oliver described it on Last Week Tonight.

For late night television hosts, this meant a delayed reaction to the results. Without confirmation, they couldn’t celebrate a Biden victory without certainty even if it seemed that way on some shows. There was also the very real chance that President Trump could win the electoral college or sow enough doubt to bring things to a halt.

In the end, Team Trump’s allegations of fraud look to be without merit. President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris made their acceptance speeches and have already begun preparing for the transition.

So on Saturday, late night hosts joined in with millions of other Americans by celebrating Joe Biden’s victory and Donald Trump’s defeat. We’ll hear more from these comedians this week but here are some highlights from over the weekend.

Late night election reaction: Stephen Colbert

Nobody in late night reflected the collective mood for so many Americans quite like Stephen Colbert. At first, the Late Show host demonstrated a sense of calmness before election day. But when President Trump delivered his speech in the early morning hours on Wednesday, Colbert’s mood shifted to one of sincere concern while calling on Republicans to finally take a stand.

It was fitting that when it was finally clear that Joe Biden would become the 46th president of the United States, Colbert’s first response was not a joke. Instead, he tweeted out a quote from Return of the King by his favorite author J.R.R. Tolkien:

Colbert did follow that up with some more lighthearted material. He tweeted out the video titled “Things That Feel as Satisfying As This Does” to mark Biden’s victory. Then came another video that made it clear the party was on for Colbert:

Late night election reaction: Jimmy Fallon

The Tonight Show‘s Jimmy Fallon was also in a good mood on Saturday. His show may not be as heavyhanded with political material as others but in 2020, Fallon has demonstrated that his jokes can be just as cutting. We’ll see how that changes going forward as President Trump departs and The Tonight Show shakes up its writing staff.

In the meantime, Fallon extended a message of congratulations to Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. He included an image from a much less controversial interview he had with a future president:

Late night election reaction: Jimmy Kimmel

On election night, Jimmy Kimmel was the most active on Twitter among late night TV hosts. He shared his thoughts in real time, riffing on how long it was taking to declare a winner and mocking President Trump for claiming a premature victory.

On Friday’s Jimmy Kimmel Live!, it was a party-like atmosphere as Kimmel celebrated what he saw as inevitable: Joe Biden was going to win the election. Once things were confirmed on Saturday, Kimmel was back on Twitter with a sincere response:

More late night election reaction

James Corden: The Late Late Show host encouraged Joe Biden to engage in a little malarky on Saturday night to celebrate his accomplishment.

Seth Meyers: When news broke that President Trump was playing golf as Joe Biden was announced as the winner, the Late Night host couldn’t resist a good pun.

Conan O’Brien: 2020 has not been an easy year to get through. However, Conan O’Brien suggested that maybe the election result was enough to call it even. He tweeted out “Sorry about the other stuff. Did you get the election I sent you? Are we good now?” crediting the quote to 2020.

Samantha Bee: It has been a long four years for a lot of Americans and Samantha Bee is among them. The Full Frontal host dusted off a video she made in 2016 to mark Joe Biden and Kamala Harris’ historic win.

The Daily Show with Trevor NoahThe Daily Show produced better videos than anyone during the election. Most of them were effective campaign ads targeting President Trump. So it was fitting that the show celebrated Trump’s defeat with another fantastic video. Fair warning, it contains some NSFW language.

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Which late night host had the best reaction in your opinion? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.