For nearly two years now, I’ve spent most of my mornings looking through the previous night’s late-night talk shows for clips that Business Insider readers would enjoy and appreciate.
I spent every morning with either Samantha Bee, Stephen Colbert, Seth Meyers, Trevor Noah, or John Oliver. Occasionally less political hosts like Jimmy Kimmel, Jimmy Fallon, Conan O’Brien, and James Corden delivered some levity, but readers seemed to enjoy the political posts over the pop-culture ones — at least during an intense, emotional election year.
During the course of doing that morning task, I’ve found that I’ve never been so knowledgeable about the important topics in an election. From now-President-elect Donald Trump’s alleged relationships to Putin and Russian companies, Hillary Clinton’s email-gate, Trump’s fishy charitable dealings, and even what the third-party candidates stood for.
But as educational as it all was during the election, I, like many of you, couldn’t wait until the election ended and discussion became about other things, anything other than the election. And then it was over. And for many, Trump’s surprise win came with a lot of sadness.
For others, it came with fear. How will minority Americans be treated under Trump’s administration? Will the women’s right to choose be taken away, or eroded? Will gay people and their loved ones lose what they had only just won, the federal government’s recognition of their love? And how will four, even eight years, of ignoring climate change affect our rising temperatures and oceans? Trump’s policy vagueness doesn’t help clear up these questions.
The day after the election, I began my usual search through the late-night show clips. And while just days ago I was yearning for less talk of the election, I felt comforted by Noah’s shock on “The Daily Show” and Colbert’s call for unity. I couldn’t wait to hear what Bee, Meyers, and Chelsea Handler would say about the results once they had a chance that night. Most of all, I appreciated that they did it with humour, since many found it very hard to laugh after the election.
It was then that I realised what an important role these late-night hosts fill in today’s world. They occupy a space between reporters, who are striving to be fair, and activists, who may be too far left or right and too didactic for most people. The difference between late-night hosts and those two other groups is that they package the information in ways that are more fun to digest, while also being blunt about their commentary. And not only have they been informative throughout this election, but they have also understood when the country needed to commune and get some direction on what to do now.
They really came through in a time when the country needed them badly. And we’ll probably need them many more times again.
There are going to be challenges ahead of us, when we’ll need to arm ourselves with information, stand up and fight, but there will also be moments that are either so amazing or so debilitating that we’re going to need to come together to get through them. So, it’s somewhat comforting to have Colbert or Bee or Meyers or Noah or Handler keeping watch, standing in our corner, and saying the things that we may not be able to say ourselves.
And who knows, if Trump actually does make good on his threat to get revenge on his critics, they may need us to get their backs, too.
This is an editorial. The opinions and conclusions expressed above are those of the author.
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