“Despite Donald J. Trump’s loss to Joseph R. Biden in the presidential election of 2020, late-night hosts still couldn’t shake the former president in 2021.
Trump’s last day in office was cause for celebration on many shows, but the Capitol riot on Jan. 6, Trump’s subsequent impeachment and his supporters continued promotion of the lie that the election had been rigged meant that the former president remained a fixture of monologues and other late-night bits.
Also, Biden apparently is just not as easy to send up. The hosts’ impressions of him lacked the cartoonish verve of their Trump takes — Stephen Colbert in aviator shades is the only one who makes much of an effort — and while Biden’s age and occasional gaffes were frequent targets, such jokes rarely occupied more than a few minutes of the nightly monologues.
Another defining trend this year was the hosts’ return to their studios after shooting their shows from home for most of 2020 and much of 2021. Colbert, the Jimmys (Fallon and Kimmel) and others brought back audiences (with Covid-19 protocols in place), live bands and in-house guests who offered a bit of normalcy to viewers looking for an escape from the coronavirus and its variants, or at least a way to commiserate through comedy.”