Late Night in 2019: Trump, Trump and More Trump

“I don’t want to talk about Donald Trump every night. None of us do. But he gives us no choice.”

That was Jimmy Kimmel. In March. It’s safe to say he talked about President Trump nearly every night since.

Kimmel’s lament was emblematic of the fact that, in late-night comedy, 2019 was yet another year dominated by Trump’s tweets, gaffes, comments, decisions, hirings, firings and foibles. The Trump Administration so totally dominated late-night monologues and bits, it’s more useful to break up the year into mini-eras of Trump: The Mueller Report era, the whistle-blower era, the ongoing impeachment era.

And even when Trump wasn’t Topic A, politics still was, as more than 20 Democratic hopefuls entered the race to run against him in 2020.

Kimmel’s March complaint was actually prompted by a tweet from Trump agreeing with a former host, Jay Leno, who said in an interview that he found current late-night shows to be “one-sided.

If Trump “sat in the White House all day quietly working on things, I would almost never mention him, because it’s not interesting,” Kimmel countered in his monologue. “But today — not even today, before 10 a.m. today, before 10 o’clock this morning, his former campaign chairman was sentenced to prison for the second time in a week, he called himself the most successful president in history and he tweeted to let people know his wife hasn’t been replaced with a body double.

“I’m not supposed to mention that?”

While interest in the Mueller Report quickly faded, it was soon followed by a whistle-blower complaint with allegations that Trump required a quid pro quo from the president of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky.

In New York, the transgender comic Patti Harrison went to the Stonewall Inn for “Full Frontal,” exploring the history of gay liberation and Pride celebrations, which she joked was started by United Airlines, Citigroup, Postmates, Tesla, YouTube, Android and the Trump campaign.

“Bill, please hear me when I say this,” Corden said in conclusion. “While you’re encouraging people to think about what goes into their mouths, just think a little harder about what comes out of yours.”

Some of the most memorable sketches of 2019 had nothing to do with Trump, particularly a few built around celebrity stunts. Exhibit A: the enviable “Day Drinking with Rihanna” on “Late Night with Seth Meyers.”

Brad Pitt and Fallon just couldn’t stop showing each other their gratitude in “Courtesy of the Gentleman at the Bar.”

Finally, a fictional political era — one that seemed comparatively less outlandish by the week — came to an end this year when HBO’s “Veep” wrapped up its seven-season run in May. Colbert offered a fitting send-off, hosting a very special crossover episode on “The Late Show.”

The bit featured some of beloved stars of “Veep,” including, of course President Selina Meyer, who laughed off Colbert’s suggestion that their actions had real-world consequences.

“Foul-mouthed president who tweets like a child. Blaming everything on the Chinese. Election interference. A completely moronic press secretary,” Colbert says. “Anti-daylight savings time laws, 700 measles cases and rising. You are killing my world!”

Meyer’s rather Trump-like response hit below the belt: “Another 85 pounds of generic white male mediocrity that shops at the lesbian warehouse.”

“Seriously,” she added, “you look like Letterman took the least funny dump of his life into a child suit.”

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