Brow Beat

The Best Jokes From Late Night About Each of the Democratic Debaters

Seth Meyers behind the late show desk with Andrew Chang on the left.
Who needs policy when we have a stage full of jokes? NBC

If your head was spinning after Wednesday night’s Democratic debate, late-night comedians had your back. The Late Show’s Stephen Colbert, The Daily Show’s Trevor Noah, and Late Night’s Seth Meyers all broadcast live to give viewers a post-debate summary of everything that went down during the Democrats’ second big round of debates. Jimmy Kimmel, with the benefit of the time difference from the west coast, also weighed in.

While the jury may still be out on exactly who came out on top and who should drop out after the debates, we can at least figure out the best jokes late-night comedians had about each candidate. And that counts for something, right? Not all of the candidates got equal attention, but here are some of the wittiest zingers, in no particular order.

Andrew Yang

Andrew Yang used his opening statement tonight to differentiate himself from President Trump, saying ‘the opposite of Donald Trump is an Asian man who likes math,’ which is a great point, but I actually think the opposite of Trump would be a black guy who is a good president.” Seth Meyers

“Abandon all hope: YANG 2020, though of course we won’t live that long.” —Stephen Colbert on Yang’s suggestion that we’re 10 years too late on climate change and people should “move to higher ground”

Kirsten Gillibrand

“First of all, I don’t think it’s legal to use bleach on an active crime scene. Secondly, you’re definitely going to need something stronger than Clorox, I would try burning sage or holding a séance. You’re going to need a belt sander just to get the ketchup stains off the desk.” —Meyers on Gillibrand saying her first act as president would be to “Clorox the Oval Office”

“They will accept me into their midst for I come offering chardonnay and skinny-pop. My bounty is as boundless as the sea.” —Colbert on Gillibrand’s pledge to explain white privilege to women in the suburbs

Cory Booker

“Cory Booker said, ‘We need real marijuana justice,’ which I think is a new Seth Rogan movie coming out this summer.” —Jimmy Kimmel

“Does anyone really ever know the flavor of Kool-Aid? It all just tastes like red.” —Colbert on Booker telling Joe Biden he’s “dipping into the Kool-Aid and [doesn’t] even know the flavor”

“You know what’s cool about being black? You can just make up phrases and white people don’t know if it’s real.” —Trevor Noah

Joe Biden

“I’m sorry but who likes their private insurance? Nobody likes going to the ER for a sprained ankle and then getting 58 envelopes in the mail from Anthem. I keep hearing this talking point from moderates, but I’ve ever heard anyone say ‘you can take my HMO when you pry it from my cold, dead hands, which will probably be pretty soon, because it doesn’t cover my meds.’” —Meyers on Biden’s health plan promising people who like their employer insurance they can keep it

“Damn, there is no way Biden even knows what that means. I am 35 years younger than him and I don’t know what that means. Biden probably took it literally like, ‘Kool-Aid? I can’t have all that sugar!’” —Meyers on Booker’s Kool-Aid diss

“’A bunch of malarkey’ is Joe Biden’s ‘more cowbell,’ and I love it, but it does make him seem a little old. It does sound like something someone shouts from atop an old-timey bicycle: ‘FIVE CENTS FOR A NICKELODEON, THAT’S A BUNCH OF MALARKEY.’” —Meyers

“I mean, just look at the diversity on this stage. How did this happen? It’s like we were all bussed into this debate or something.” —Colbert imitating Biden observing his fellow candidates

“Joe Biden probably wished he could have been deported out of this debate.” —Noah when the other candidates brought up the Obama administration’s record on mass deportation

“Biden’s really good at using Obama when it will help his resume, but then when it comes to something Obama wasn’t really great at, Biden’s like ‘Obama… Obama… is that the Irish guy, Patty O’Bama? I think I’ve been to that pub!’” —Noah

Marianne Williamson

“It did kind of feel like when your fun aunt goes home and you’re left with your boring family again ‘awww, but Aunt Marianne lets us fingerpaint on the wall!’” —Meyers comparing debate nights one and two

“According to the final numbers, author Marianne Williamson was the most searched for candidate after last night’s debate which is silly—you don’t search for Marianne Williamson, you just leave a window open and put a thimble full of CBD oil on the sill.” —Meyers

“Marianne Williamson seems like to what happens when you stay after yoga class to ask your teacher if she has any suggestion for your lower back and you walk out with two healing crystals and tincture of eucalyptus oil.” —Kimmel

John Delaney

“The personal Wikipedia page for presidential hopeful John Delaney was vandalized last night to say that Senator Elizabeth Warren killed him during the democratic debate. It’s now been corrected to reflect that he’s in serious, but stable condition.” —Meyers

“By the end of the night he looked like the guy who comes in third of Jeopardy.” —Meyers

“Look at how excited she is to tear this guy apart, it’s like in Looney Toons when you’re starving and you see a giant turkey leg.” —Meyers on Delaney v. Elizabeth Warren

Elizabeth Warren at a debate and John Delaney as a turkey leg.