Late-night talk show hosts in the US have been unpacking the first presidential debate of 2020.
Broadcasting live from Ohio on Tuesday night (29 September), the debate saw Joe Biden and Donald Trump go head-to-head on the Supreme Court, coronavirus, the economy, race, and the integrity of the election. According to CBS News’s count, Trump interrupted Biden a grand total of 73 times.
During the messy debate, Trump questioned Biden’s intelligence, while Biden called the president a clown and said: “Will you shut up, man?”
Another stand-out moment was when moderator Chris Wallace asked Trump whether he would condemn white supremacists and the president replied: “Sure, I’m willing to do that... Proud Boys, stand back and stand by.” The Proud Boys have been described by the FBI as a far-right, male-exclusive group and the bureau also considers it to have ties to white nationalism, a claim that has been rejected by the organisation.
″It was a terrible debate,″ said Jimmy Kimmel. ″I’d call it a nightmare, but at least during a nightmare you get some sleep.″
Jimmy Fallon, meanwhile, compared watching the debate to “getting a COVID test in both nostrils at once.” He added: “You know it was a rough debate when the guy who told the president to shut up was seen as the classy candidate.”
“I cannot do 90 straight minutes of this s*** ever again,” said Trevor Noah. “It was brutal. There’s got to be a commercial break every five minutes, and during those commercial breaks, every ad should be for antidepressants or some drug that has side effects that makes you forget the last four years.”
He also likened Trump to a toddler for constant interruptions. “That's why Melania slaps the hand!”, he joked. “You gotta slap the hand! Can't be talking to a toddler."
Stephen Colbert said the “most upsetting moment” for him was when Trump refused to unequivocally condemn white supremacists and told the Proud Boys to “stand back and stand by”.
Talking about American viewers, he joked: “Yes, tonight saw the best minds of our generation destroyed by madness, starving, hysterical, naked, dragging themselves through the streets at dawn, looking for the mute button.”
Mark Ruffalo and Brie Larson were among the celebrities to react with horror at the debate, which is the first of three ahead of the election in November.