Stephen Colbert probably drew good ratings for his Tuesday show, which featured Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough, the latter making some very minor news by announcing on The Late Show that he is leaving the Republican Party to become an independent. But Colbert could not prevent the hosts of MSNBC’s Morning Joe from boring his audience silly with their smug pleasure at having been attacked via tweets by President Donald Trump.
You’ve heard about the late-June tweets by now — Trump called Mika “low-IQ crazy” and Scarborough “Psycho Joe ”— and Colbert dutifully asked, how did that feel, guys? The duo trotted out the exact same reactions they gave on their own show. Mika said the incident is “very sad for the country… he can be played very easily.” Joe said Trump was especially hard on Mika “because she’s a woman.” At one point, Joe started to level a criticism of Trump and Mika warned the man she’s gonna marry to “be very careful.” Oooh, what would he say? “He has started to change,” said Joe of Donald. “He used to be in on the joke.” So much for true analysis or condemnation of the president.
The whole thing — two full segments plus a performance of his mediocre “rock music” by Scarborough — was a display of TV-star entitlement. Everything emerged from the position of, “We are successful insiders, we’ve socialized with everyone powerful, including the president.” While Mika played lip service to the Trump presidency being “sad for the country,” and while Scarborough chided the Republican Party for not condemning Trump, there was no sting to their comments, no true outrage, no original observation. This was just two TV stars doing some self-congratulation with another TV star.
I’m a little surprised Colbert let them get away with this — that he didn’t try to puncture their complacency. Maybe he was too happy just to have booked them. After all, Joe and Mika work for NBC — if they were going to do any late-night show, you’d think their corporate bosses would have told them to go and do Jimmy Fallon’s NBC Tonight Show first. And who knows? Maybe their bosses did, and maybe Fallon — who doesn’t like to ruffle anyone or anything except hair — said, “Joe and Mika who? Politics? No thanks.” Someone needed to puncture the ever-inflating egos of the Morning Joe co-hosts. Instead, all they got were pats on the back and an opportunity to promote some lousy music.
The Late Show with Stephen Colbert airs weeknights at 11:35 p.m. on CBS.