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Late-Night Uses Live Shows to Tackle Democratic Debates

THE TONIGHT SHOW STARRING JIMMY FALLON
Andrew Lipovsky/NBC

The jokes were as fresh as Bill de Blasio’s interruptions.

Jimmy Fallon, Seth Meyers, Stephen Colbert and Trevor Noah all broadcast their late-night programs live Wednesday night, part of an effort that has quickly become de rigueur to capture audiences tuning in to a big event tied to U.S. elections. While CBS’ “Late Show,” Comedy Central’s “Daily Show” and NBC’s “Late Night” have all adopted the technique multiple time since the 2016 election, going live after such political events as the Democratic and Republican National Conventions, NBC’s “Tonight” made its first foray into the method.

“Tonight” host Fallon seized on the opportunity to make a few jokes about NBC’s broadcast of the debates, rattling off a joke suggesting Russian leader Vladimir Putin might have been responsible for a NBC News production gaffe that left open microphones from moderators who had left the stage. And he also showed off some of his signature moves, including a musical sketch warning the candidates not to become memes and a surprising piece that edited various remarks from candidates into a musical piece, a segment that must have required several production staffers to spend weeks monitoring news reports for just the right words.

Stephen Colbert kicked off his “Late Show” on CBS with a parody ad likening the sheer number of Democratic candidates to a round of Pokemon.

Seth Meyers trotted out one of his signature “Closer Look” segments as well as a round of “Jokes Seth Can’t Tell” with writers Jenny Hagel and Amber Ruffin.

And Trevor Noah, who goes on at 11 p.m., was the first to dissect all the action, poking fun at de Blasio, Elizabeth Warren, Beto O’Rourke and the sheer number of entrants in the race: