If Donald Trump wasn’t already watching the Emmys live, Stephen Colbert used his monologue to ensure that the president would definitely watch it before Fox & Friends the morning after. It’s not just the surprise cameo by former White House press secretary Sean Spicer, who resigned from his position in July, that would compel Trump to clear his viewing schedule: Colbert also used the last portion of his opening stage time at the 69th Primetime Emmy Awards to build the president up as the world’s biggest television star before tearing him down again. “The biggest TV star of the last year is Donald Trump,” Colbert began. “You can’t deny that every show was influenced by Donald Trump in some way.”
But, as he then pointed out, a number of people in the theater would go home with something that Trump will never have: an Emmy. And it’s not for lack of trying on the president’s part: The Apprentice was nominated for Outstanding Reality-Competition Program twice, and lost each time to The Amazing Race. “We all know the Emmys mean a lot to Donald Trump,” Colbert said, adding that maybe a win one of those years might have changed the course of history. “Why didn’t you give him an Emmy? I tell you this, if he had won an Emmy, I bet he wouldn’t have run for president. So, in a way, this is all your fault! I thought you people loved morally compromised antiheroes. You like Water White; he’s just Walter Much-Whiter!”
It’s worth noting that Colbert’s monologue wasn’t all Trump, all the time. Here are the four best jokes that had nothing to do with the commander in chief.
After basically winning all the awards in sight for the past two years, HBO’s Game of Thrones took itself out of the running by premiering after the Emmy-nomination deadline. And Colbert reminded everyone in the audience that they should feel a dragon-sized sense of gratitude for that. “If you do win, don’t forget to thank everyone who helped you get up here. Namely Game of Thrones for not being eligible this year.”
Billy on the phone
After taking a moment to salute the first responders tackling the humanitarian crises in Texas and Florida, Colbert mentioned that viewers at home can still send donations to the Hand in Hand hurricane relief benefit fund, which had a star-packed telethon on Sept. 12. And one of those stars even stood by to take your call: “I believe Billy Eichner is still standing by to take your call,” Colbert said, tossing to the Billy on the Street star in the audience, who responded, “Stephen, I’m on the phone. Please, don’t embarrass me in front of Louie Anderson!”
Fun with Milo
Everyone wants to know the exact circumstances of how Jack Pearson dies on This Is Us, even Colbert. And Milo Ventimiglia probably knows … but he’s not telling. The former Gilmore Girls star stood up to the host’s relentless guessing as to the cause of his alter ego’s death, including slipping in a bathtub and bad clams. The theory that did prompt an almost-confirmation? Mauled by a circus lion in a convenience store. That’s something to look forward to in Season 2.
While praising the diversity of this year’s nominees, and rattling off the long list of African-American actors and writers who are up for Emmys, Colbert cheekily slipped Bill Maher into their company. “I assume he’s black because he’s so comfortable using the N word,” the host said to a vocally shocked crowd. That’s some real talk for the Real Time host.
Read more from Yahoo Entertainment:
• Emmys 2017: Sean Spicer drives podium onstage
• Emmys 2017: The Complete Winners List
• Emmys 2017: All the red carpet arrivals
• Emmys 2017: Stephen Colbert sings about treason, tears, and ‘This Is Us’ in opening number
• Emmys 2017 review: ‘Veep,’ ‘Handmaid’s Tale,’ and Trump were Emmys’ big winners