Brow Beat

Stephen Colbert Brought Back “Stephen Colbert”—and Jon Stewart—to Explain the Rise of Trump

The 2016 Republican National Convention is a scary time for many Americans—including many Republicans—and so on the Late Show on Monday night, Stephen Colbert brought back two figures from the in-retrospect quite comforting era of the mid-to-late 2000s: Stephen Colbert (the character) and Jon Stewart.

The humor, too, was at first quite nostalgic, with spit takes (masterfully executed), Borscht Belt humor (which perhaps has a new edge in an era of “Jewish cowbells” and supposedly innocuous six-pointed stars), and a new edition of Colbert’s signature segment, the Word.

But Colbert also brought the Word full circle, from its inception—when the first installment in the Colbert Report’s pilot episode managed to sum up the Bush administration with the coinage truthiness—to now, when he managed to encapsulate a new candidate with a new term, Trumpiness.

Truthiness has to feel true,” Colbert noted, “but Trumpiness doesn’t even have to do that.” “Many Trump supporters don’t believe his wildest promises, and they don’t care,” he explained, making the memorable distinction that “Truthiness was from the gut, but Trumpiness clearly comes from much further down the gastrointestinal tract.”

The whole thing—complete with a triumphal march set to a fife-and-drum “Yankee Doodle”—was a lot smarter than I can sum up here, so you should watch it all go down above. Suffice to say it was good to have these two guys back.