Sometimes it feels as though Donald Trump has taken Stephen Colbert hostage. Having gone all-in on seeing the Trump presidency through to its logical — or illogical — conclusion, Colbert is at once obliged and eager to get to the daily Trump news each night on The Late Show. As viewers, we have the option to look away — from Colbert, if not the president. Colbert, on the other hand, does not. For him, it’s all Trump all the time.
And so it was on Monday, when Colbert unveiled his Anthony Scaramucci impression. The new White House communications director, it turns out, is awfully easy to impersonate: Just do your favorite Jersey/Queens/New Yawk imitation. Colbert picked up on the habit of pro-Trump commentators who refer to the new man as “Mooch” and wedded that to Scaramucci’s new habit of praising the president extravagantly and excessively. Colbert called it, “The Mooch is ready to smooch!”
Trump butt-kissing became a subtle theme on Monday’s show. It was imitated just a little when musical guest Tyler the Creator grabbed Colbert’s butt as he came onstage. And then guest star Laura Benanti did her imitation-is-the-sincerest-form-of-flattery thing by discussing the evolution of her Melania Trump impression. Colbert pointed out that it was the one-year anniversary of Benanti introducing her Melania on The Late Show. “We are all reluctantly married to Donald Trump,” said Benanti in the night’s best metaphor.
“We are all Melania,” she emphasized, in solidarity with the first lady. Asked if she truly felt Melania was a captive Trump, Benanti said, “Well, I do have empathy for her. But on the other hand, I’m ‘Well, you chose that, so…’” She shrugged. Empathy only goes so far.
The Late Show with Stephen Colbert airs weeknights at 11:35 p.m. on CBS.