Punchlines ripped from the headlines

Late-Night Hosts Use Shutdown for Laughs

By Alyana Alfaro
|  Wednesday, Oct 2, 2013  |  Updated 2:45 PM EDT
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Late-Night Hosts Use Shutdown for Laughs

Stephen Colbert joked about what the shutdown of the EPA could mean for dolphins on the Oct. 1 episode of "The Colbert Report."

For hosts of late-night TV, there is one positive aspect to the current government shutdown: the jokes. Over past couple of nights, hosts turned the situation that has left 800,000 U.S. government employees out of work into punchlines.

STEPHEN COLBERT

On Sept. 30, The "Colbert Report" host drew comparisons between "Breaking Bad" and the government shutdown. According to Colbert, the government "started out as a highly sympathetic character in the 1770s, but in just 237 seasons, it has transformed into an egotistical, self-destructive maniac."

The Colbert Report
Get More: Colbert Report Full Episodes,Video Archive

The next night Colbert focused on the shutdown's effect on American programs.

"No EPA?," Colbert asked. "Time to go dump some old house paint down the stormdrain. Sorry, dolphins. You had a good run."

The Colbert Report
Get More: Colbert Report Full Episodes,Video Archive

JON STEWART

The "Daily Show" host featured a segment called "Jon Stewart's Rockin' Shutdown Eve" on Sept. 30 where he accused Republicans of attacking the Affordable Care Act with "random patriotic buzzwordies" to make it seem unconstitutional.

Stewart showed clips of GOP members blasting the president for willing to negotiate with Iranians, but not with Republicans.

"If it turns out that President Barack Obama can make a deal with the most intransigent, hardline, unreasonable, totalitarian mullahs in the world, but not with Republicans, maybe he's not the problem," Stewart said.

On Tuesday's show, Stewart blasted Fox News political pundit Sean Hannity for his comments about how the government shutdown does not affect him.

"How bad can it be if it doesn't affect Sean Hannity?" Stewart said.

JIMMY KIMMEL

On the night of Oct. 1, after the shutdown had officially gone into effect, Jimmy Kimmel acknowledged the 800,000 employees that were furloughed by saying, "The good news is, Congress is still getting paid."

"I want the name of the idiots who elected this people," he said. "Oh wait. It was us?"

JIMMY FALLON

Fallon opened his show on Oct. 1 with a monologue talking about reports that congressmembers who debated the federal health care law were spending the night drinking.

"You see, Congress is like Most Americans, they need to get drunk before they screw people," he joked.

DAVID LETTERMAN

For David Letterman, the shutdown provided the opportunity to poke fun at the recent NSA scandal during his Oct. 1 show.

Since the NSA is one of the agencies most effected by furloughs, Letterman said that the government is "please asking citizens to spy on each other."

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